South Carolina Basketball: Gamecock transfer portal target announces college choice

South Carolina basketball transfer portal target Malik Dia (Belmont) announced his commitment on Monday.
South Carolina basketball transfer portal target Malik Dia
South Carolina basketball transfer portal target Malik Dia / Andrew Nelles / The Tennessean / USA

South Carolina basketball fans are anxiously awaiting their favorite team's first transfer portal commitment this offseason. The Gamecock roster has a couple of holes on it, but fans are confident that head coach Lamont Paris can some useful players in the portal just as he has done the last two offseasons.

The Gamecocks have a clear need at point guard and in the post.

The post need is a bit flexible, though, as rising sophomore Collin Murray-Boyles is believed to have more offensive versatility (namely, shooting) than he showed as a freshman. The Gamecocks need some shooting, overall offensive punch, and additional shot blocking from their bigs next season, and it would be nice if Josh Gray wasn't the only player taller than 6'8" on the roster.

Collin Murray-Boyles can score and rebound and is a pretty good rim protector. Josh Gray is a good rebounder and shot blocker. Benjamin Bosmans-Verdonk (who is unlikely to play a big role next year) can rebound. Incoming freshman forward Okku Federiko can do a little bit of all of that, but how ready he is to contribute as a first-year player remains to be seen.

One player the Gamecocks were targeting in the transfer portal that fit several of those needs was former Belmont Bruins forward Malik Dia. After starting his career at Vanderbilt, the 6'9" Dia had a big sophomore year at Belmont in which he averaged just under 17 points, 6 rebounds, and 1 block per game while shooting over 34% from the perimeter.

On Monday, though, Dia announced his transfer portal commitment, and it was not to the South Carolina basketball program. According to a report from On3's Joe Tipton, he is on his way to another SEC program as he has committed to the Ole Miss Rebels and head coach Chris Beard.

Though Carolina did not land Dia, there is no reason for fans to panic. There is still a ton of talent left in the transfer portal, and there is also the chance that a 4-man big rotation of Collin Murray-Boyles, Josh Gray, Okku Federiko, and Benjamin Bosmans-Verdonk can do enough to be a solid SEC unit. With returning wings Zach Davis (6'8") and Myles Stute (6'6") having experience playing small ball power forward, as well, USC could get by without another big, even if it is not an ideal situation.

However, it seems most likely that Lamont Paris will continue to scour the transfer portal until he finds the right fit for his Gamecocks as they seek to make back-to-back NCAA Tournaments for the first time since the late '90s.

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