Transfer addition could fill specific hole on South Carolina basketball roster

South Carolina basketball transfer portal addition Jordan Butler will help the Gamecocks fill a very specific need on their 2024-2025 roster.
New South Carolina basketball big man Jordan Butler when he was with the Missouri Tigers last season
New South Carolina basketball big man Jordan Butler when he was with the Missouri Tigers last season / Jay Biggerstaff-USA TODAY Sports

South Carolina basketball coach Lamont Paris has shown himself to be able to handle the modern world of the transfer portal since taking the head coaching job in Columbia.

After bringing in a group of quality transfers ahead of last season, the Gamecocks tied a program record for wins and made their first NCAA Tournament appearance since they made the Final Four at the end of the 2016-2017 season.

Carolina has more impact transfers who have joined the team this summer. One of them, South Carolina native Jordan Butler, will be tasked with filling a very specific role for USC this year.

The 2023-2024 version of the Gamecocks were not an offensive juggernaut, but their success on that end of the floor stemmed from their lack of turnovers and their ability to spread the floor with shooters at various positions.

Big man BJ Mack played a large role in the shooting portion of that success as he was a willing shot-taker on the perimeter despite being a post player. Mack was second on the team in perimeter attempts and third on the team in 3-point makes. This year's team will rely on Jordan Butler to help with that same job.

Butler didn't make shots at a high clip while at Missouri last year, but he is a comfortable shooter, and he displayed nice touch from the perimeter at the high school level. At 7'0" tall, the sophomore should have plenty of room to get off his shot in most situations and could be a key piece for the team off the bench.

Starting power forward Collin Murray-Boyles is hoping to spread the floor some this year after not shooting much outside of the paint as a freshman, but Butler was the one featured in a post from the Gamecock Men's Basketball account on Twitter/X confidently knocking down a 3-pointer from the wing, adding to the fanbase's anticipation for the start of the season.

Butler isn't just a catch-and-shoot stretch big man, however. The 7-footer blocked nearly a shot per game during the 2023-2024 season for Mizzou despite playing just 11 minutes per contest. He also has shown the ability to find soft spots in the defense, allowing his guards to find him for easy buckets. In one of just two games of the season last year in which he played more than 18 minutes, Butler scored 10 points without taking an outside shot.

Transfer senior Nick Pringle is the favorite to be the team's starting center this year, and Murray-Boyles will start at the 4. However, Butler has the opportunity to earn the role of the team's third big. He will battle with veteran high-effort player Benjamin Bosmans-Verdonk and true freshman versatile forward Okku Federiko for playing time, and if he can shoot the ball like he is capable, not only will he play a lot, but the Gamecocks will be a much better team because of it.

In the modern game of basketball, the threat of shooting is almost as impactful as actually making shots. As long as opponents have to respect Butler (or another big man) on the perimeter, the Gamecocks could have three or four shooting threats around the arc at a time, opening the paint for dribble-drive opportunities, giving post players more room to operate, removing a potential rim-protector from the lane, and making rebounding efforts that much harder for the defense.

South Carolina basketball fans shouldn't expect Butler to explode into an All-SEC player in his first year as a Gamecock (though, they wouldn't be upset if it happened), but he will be an important contributor for Coach Paris' team, especially if he can fill the stretch big hole on the USC roster.

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