South Carolina Basketball: 3 thumbs up, 3 thumbs down from blowout of Florida A&M

Three thumbs up and three thumbs down from South Carolina basketball's blowout win over the Florida A&M Rattlers.

South Carolina basketball coach Lamont Paris
South Carolina basketball coach Lamont Paris / Jeff Blake-USA TODAY Sports
facebooktwitterreddit
Prev
3 of 3
Next

South Carolina Basketball vs. Florida A&M
Thumbs Down 1: Inefficient Lead Guards

The Gamecocks top-3 true guards (not wings) are Meechie Johnson, Ta'Lon Cooper, and Jacobi Wright. On Saturday, all three of these players were very inefficient as scorers. Johnson shot 3-12 (1-5), Cooper went 0-4 (0-2), and Wright continued his poor shooting stretch with a 1-8 (0-5) performance.

The Gamecocks cannot get that type of production from those three players and expect to win when SEC play starts next week. Thankfully for the Gamecocks this weekend, the fourth guard Morris Ugusuk and wings Myles Stute and Zach Davis had really nice games to help pick up the slack.

Johnson, Cooper, and Wright still managed to impact despite their struggles as they combined for 12 assists and made 9-11 free throw attempts.

South Carolina Basketball vs. Florida A&M
Thumbs Down 2: What's Going on with Josh Gray?

Josh Gray didn't play against Florida A&M. At 7'0" tall, Gray is the biggest post presence that the Gamecocks have, and he is the only player on the roster who can be a dominant rebounder and shot blocker against any matchup.

However, he has really struggled this season and has seen his playing time dwindle. From being the first big off the bench early in the season, he has fallen completely out of the rotation in some games and didn't see the court on Saturday. That is going to have to change in SEC play for the Gamecocks to be the best version of themselves. Teams that get outrebounded and who can't stop anyone in the paint can't win at a high level, and a good Josh Gray is USC's biggest (literally) chance of making sure that they compete down low when the athletes get bigger, stronger, longer, and tougher.

Earlier this week, South Carolina basketball coach Lamont Paris talked about how Stephen Clark and Benjamin Bosmans-Verdonk have been better that Gray recently in games and practice, so it appears getting more playing time for Josh Gray is going to be up to #33.

South Carolina Basketball vs. Florida A&M
Thumbs Down 3: Jump Shot Close Outs

This thumbs down is a bit nitpicky (hey, they won by 32), but the Gamecocks weren't great closing out to shooters. Florida A&M, a low-volume and low-efficiency shooting team went 7-13 from behind the arc on Saturday. The Carolina defense allowed too many open looks to the Rattlers, and they did a great job of knocking down those looks.

Less-than-ideal perimeter defense will get the Gamecocks torched against teams like Alabama, Kentucky, and Auburn in SEC play, so this is something that Coach Paris and company will look to tighten up as January begins.

South Carolina Basketball: Lamont Paris in to see nation's top prospect. South Carolina Basketball: Lamont Paris in to see nation's top prospect. dark. Next