South Carolina Basketball: Lamont Paris named semifinalist for National Coach of the Year

South Carolina basketball coach Lamont Paris was named one of ten semifinalists for the Naismith National Coach of the Year Award.

South Carolina basketball coach Lamont Paris
South Carolina basketball coach Lamont Paris / Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports
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South Carolina basketball coach Lamont Paris has been named a semifinalist for the Naismith National Coach of the Year Award. It is a well-deserved honor for Paris, and it is one that he has a legitimate shot at winning.

Paris has turned around his Gamecocks from year 1 in charge of the program to year 2. Last season was a disaster in Columbia as the team went 11-21 (tying a program record for losses). The script couldn't have flipped any more dramatically than it did to this year, though, as South Carolina basketball has tied their all-time single-season wins record by going 26-6. With at least two more opportunities to break that record, there is confidence around the fanbase that it will fall.

The 2nd-year head coach picked up a hefty contract extension on Thursday (made official on Friday) that will keep him in place in Columbia at least until the 2029-2030 season. Paris will move from the lowest-paid coach in the conference (around $2.3 Million this season) to a contract that will more than double that pay by the time it is in its final years.

It should come as no surprise that when the Naismith National Coach of the Year semifinalists were announced on Friday that Paris made the list. Joining Coach Paris as semifinalists are Hubert Davis (North Carolina Tar Heels), Amir Abdur-Rahim (South Florida Bulls), Dan Hurley (UConn Huskies), Kelvin Sampson (Houston Cougars), Danny Sprinkle (Utah State Aggies), Kyle Smith (Washington State Cougars), Matt Painter (Purdue Boilermakers), TJ Otzelberger (Iowa State Cyclones), and Josh Schertz (Indiana State).

Paris already swept the SEC Coach of the Year Award honors (both from the league's coaches and from the AP), and many consider him the favorite to bring home the National Coach of the Year trophy, as well.

Paris and his South Carolina basketball squad are playing in the SEC Tournament quarterfinals today at 3:30 PM EST. They will take on the Auburn Tigers on ESPN.

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