South Carolina Basketball: 3 thumbs up from a great season

South Carolina basketball had one of the best seasons in all of college basketball this year, and fans should be encouraged about what Lamont Paris can build.

South Carolina basketball coach Lamont Paris
South Carolina basketball coach Lamont Paris / Gregory Fisher-USA TODAY Sports
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South Carolina Basketball's 2023-2024 Season
Thumbs Up 1: 70% is enough

South Carolina basketball coach Lamont Paris has quipped more than once that he feels as if he has enough in him as a coach that he thinks the Gamecocks can win as long as they have at least 70% of the talent as their on-court opponents.

Based on what happened this winter, Coach Paris was telling the truth.

The Gamecocks did not have one of the most talented teams in the SEC this year. Meechie Johnson likely has a pro future (potentially overseas), and Collin Murray-Boyles probably will get a shot in the association if things go well for him. Other than those two players, professional basketball is not a guarantee for anyone else on this roster.

Yet, the Gamecocks finished the season as a top-25 team (ranked 16th in the final AP poll), and they outhot all expectations placed on them from outside of the program.

If 70% talent is all Coach Paris needs to compete, fans are hopeful for what he can do if USC can start pulling in just 80% or even 90% of the talent that some of the elite programs get. If Paris can build off of a big step forward in year 2 and have more success in the transfer portal, the incoming recruits in the classes of 2024 and 2025 indicate that the talent on the roster is only going to increase.

Though the Gamecocks will miss their three senior transfers (especially Ta'Lon Cooper at point guard), reinforcements are coming. Paris also will find another point guard in the transfer portal, and if that player can impact the game in a similar way to Ta'Lon Cooper, a replication of this year is possible.

Incoming freshmen Okku Federiko, a versatile forward who can do a lot depending on what the team needs, and Trent Noah, a potentially lethal shooter on the wing, will be joining the roster, as well.

With only three known roster casualties (Ta'Lon Cooper, BJ Mack, and Stephen Clark), the two freshmen enrolling means there is only one spot the Gamecocks can use in the portal. However, fans can expect there to be at least one more open roster spot before all is said and done. Based one what he was able to accomplish this year, when Coach Paris is able to rework the roster even more, the garnet and black faithful should trust that he can build a winner.