South Carolina Basketball: Odds that Lamont Paris leaves Gamecocks for Ohio State

South Carolina basketball coach Lamont Paris has been named as a candidate for the newly-open Ohio State Buckeyes head coaching job.

South Carolina basketball coach Lamont Paris
South Carolina basketball coach Lamont Paris / Jeff Blake-USA TODAY Sports
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South Carolina basketball fans have become the biggest fans of Lamont Paris in the nation as the second-year head coach has guided the country's most impressive turnaround from last season.

The 2022-2023 Gamecocks went 11-21 last season (tying a program record for losses in a season), but this season, South Carolina basketball sits at 21-4 and tied for 2nd place in the SEC. A virtual shoo-in for the NCAA Tournament, USC is the most improved team in the conference and, perhaps, in the entire nation.

However, on Wednesday, the Ohio State Buckeyes fired head coach Chris Holtmann. Within minutes, Paris' name started being bandied about as a candidate for the job. But how realistic is it that the Ohio native could leave Columbia and make a return to the Midwest as the next head coach of the Buckeyes?

According to several oddsmakers, the move is a real possibility.

Most bigger betting outlets are set to release odds over the next week, but some smaller sports books have Coach Paris listed anywhere from the 10th-most likely OSU coaching hire (-2500 odds) to the favorite to take the job (+250 odds). DraftKings has not yet released their odds but listed Paris as a "major candidate" for the opening. Jeff Goodman, the national pundit who reported Holtmann's firing, listed just two candidates, Sean Miller and Lamont Paris.

Other popular names in the coaching search have been Wes Miller, Greg McDermott, John Calipari (if a divorce with Kentucky happens), Will Wade, TJ Otzelberger, Mick Cronin, Nate Oats, Eric Musselman, Anthony Grant, Pat Kelsey, and Dusty May.

Ohio State basketball associate head coach Jake Diebler is the interim coach in Holtmann's absence. He also should be considered a candidate for the job if things go well in Columbus.

At this point, it is far too early to try to predict what conversations between Coach Paris and Ohio State might look like, but the clock has officially begun ticking on Gamecock athletic director Ray Tanner to get a contract proposal to Paris' agent. He is currently the lowest-paid coach in the conference, and that cannot continue if he is to be the head coach of the South Carolina basketball program long-term.

The quickest way for Lamont Paris to end up as the next head coach of the Ohio State Buckeyes (or any other program other than the South Carolina basketball program) is for the Gamecocks to mishandle a contract negotiation.

Gamecock fans just hope that the underlying storyline won't be a distraction to their favorite team as they continue fighting for the SEC championship and deeper into March Madness.

Next. South Carolina Basketball: Gamecock forward cracks power rankings for National Player of the Year Award. South Carolina Basketball: Gamecock forward cracks power rankings for National Player of the Year Award. dark