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 2: A record-breaking (and tying) campaign paves the way

South Carolina has never won more games in a season than they did this year. With 26 victories, the Gamecocks tied the Final Four team in total wins, and Carolina actually set a new record for regular season wins (25).

Despite the 1st round loss in the NCAA Tournament, the 2023-2024 version of the Gamecocks was one of the best teams in school history. Only the 2016-2017 team won games in March Madness as all of the Frank McGuire teams and the two really good Eddie Fogler squads (including the 1996-1997 SEC champs) lost in the opening round of postseason play (or didn't make it).

After the loss to Oregon on Thursday, Coach Paris said he feels that this 26-win season proves that the foundation is being laid for good basketball teams moving forward.

Meechie Johnson, who could return for one more season, had 10 games with 20 or more points. Collin Murray-Boyles was the best overall player on the team once he got healthy and in shape and tied a freshman scoring record with 31 points against Vanderbilt. Zach Davis grew tremendously as a player, and 2024-2025 returning players like Myles Stute, Josh Gray, and Jacobi Wright showed they can be valuable rotation players on a good team.

The 2024 recruiting class was already set before the season, and the Gamecocks have picked up two 4-star commitments in the '25 cycle, making USC the top-ranked class in the early goings. If Paris can do what Frank Martin couldn't and build off of the momentum of a great season, the Gamecocks' trajectory will continue pointing in an upward direction.

After the Final Four run, Carolina's next three recruiting classes (2018, 2019, and 2020) contained just one 4-star player as Martin fumbled the opportunity to parlay the 2016-2017 team's success into anything meaningful.

If Lamont Paris can avoid his predecessor's mistake, new records might be set in Columbia before all is said and done.