South Carolina Basketball: Gamecock legend now to be honored as SEC legend

South Carolina basketball legend Joe Rhett has been selected as the Gamecock representative in the 2024 SEC Legends class.

South Carolina basketball
South Carolina basketball / Jacob Kupferman/GettyImages

South Carolina basketball has a long history. Some parts of that history include a very good Gamecock team and great individual players.

After things ended poorly for Bill Foster, new coach George Felton reinvigorated the South Carolina basketball program with a 19-win season in his second year with the program. The new life in Columbia inspired Columbia natives Jo Jo English and Joe Rhett to stay home and play for the Gamecocks.

The decision paid off for both players, but it was announced on Wednesday, that Joe Rhett would be the Gamecock representative in the 2024 class of the Men's Basketball SEC Legends.

Rhett, an Eau Claire High School graduate, came to Carolina prior to the 1988-1989 season. He spent (almost) 4 years playing for the Gamecocks. He made the Metro Conference All-Freshman team in '88-'89, led the Gamecocks to their first NCAA Tournament since the Frank McGuire era as a sophomore in '89-'90, made the All-Metro Conference in '90-'91 as a junior, and had his best season as a senior in '91-'92 as an elite player in South Carolina basketball's first year in the SEC.

Unfortunately, that senior season was cut short. After just a handful of games into the SEC season, Rhett's final year of college and, ultimately, his basketball career ended abruptly.

Rhett knew that he had a heart condition and had played with a pacemaker for part of his college career. However, he collapsed during a game against Mississippi State, and another condition known as atrial fibrillation was discovered. With Hank Gathers having died on the court due to a different (but related) heart condition, Rhett made the difficult decision to leave basketball behind.

Even though he did not have a chance to finish his career, and even though his NBA dreams were taken away from him, Joe Rhett is one of the best players ever to play for the South Carolina basketball program and will be honored during the SEC Tournament in Nashville next month.

The entire 2024 Men's Basketball SEC Legends class can be seen below:

Alabama Crimson Tide: Richard Hendrix
Arkansas Razorbacks: Derek Hood
Auburn Tigers: Cliff Ellis
Florida Gators: Taurean Green
Georgia Bulldogs: Rashad Wright
Kentucky Wildcats: Orlando "Tubby" Smith
LSU Tigers: Darrel Mitchell
Ole Miss Rebels: Dwayne Curtis
Mississippi State Bulldogs: Timmy Bowers
Missouri Tigers: Willie Smith
South Carolina Gamecocks: Joe Rhett
Tennessee Volunteers: Chris Lofton
Texas A&M Aggies: Elston Turner
Vanderbilt Commodores: Frank Seckar

Next. South Carolina Basketball: Top-15 forwards in Gamecock history. South Carolina Basketball: Top-15 forwards in Gamecock history. dark