Gamecocks 2022

SCGamecock

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Reminder of Dawn at the end of season PC, talking about players parent(s) inquiring about who can the Gamecocks get from the transfer portal and if there’s anything they can do to help.
Fairly confident Raven's folks reached out to Kamilla pretty swiftly. Plus Dawn is WELL connected in the FBC organization.. Hunt and United.
 
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Fairly confident Raven's folks reached out to Kamilla pretty swiftly. Plus Dawn is WELL connected in the FBC organization.. Hunt and United.
YeH but Sasha Dione who leads FBC United 17u Atl is a Syracuse former asst. Is it truthful speculation Raven or somebody from Westlake HS called Kamilla?
 
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Maya Nnaji is going to be gooooooood. I was always impressed with her when I watched Paige's HS games....and she was only a sophomore.
I saw the samething She had the pick and roll down as a sohp and pretty good elbow shooter as a sohp. She ran the court well.
 
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Just kind of looking at things by position - I'm just going to list option that seems plausible. Probably am leaving some off, but on the same hand there are some players listed at positions they likely won't play a minute next year.

Point Guard - Destanni Henderson, Sr.
Raven Johnson, Fr.
Zia Cooke, Jr.
Destiny Littleton, Sr.
LeLe Grissette, Sr.

I think Henderson had an excellent first season as a starter. I think she deserved All SEC honors, but she can stand to cut down on the turnovers.

South Carolina really didn't have a back up PG last season at various points going with Cooke, Littleton, and even Grissette. None of those really worked that well.

Enter Raven Johnson, who is expected to get the backup minutes immediately. I've seen some folks suggest that Raven could play some point with Henderson moving off the ball at times, but I think it might be equally likely that you see Johnson get some playing time off the ball if she proves to be a reliable shooter.

I think having a backup here is a significant upgrade over last season if Johnson is as effective as expected.

Guard: Zia Cooke, Jr.
Destiny Littleton, Sr.
Saniya Rivers,Fr.
LeLe Grissette, Sr.
Eniya Russell, So.
Raven Johnson, Fr.
Olivia Thompson, Jr.
Bree Hall? Fr.

Zia Cooke earned second team All SEC Honors and lead the team in scoring last season. A somewhat up and down effort saw her shooting about 39% on threes and twos. She has often drawn criticism for shot selection but had cleaned that up by the postseason and had a great run there including an epic performance in the Final Four.

As with point guard, there was not a lot of effective depth behind her at the position.

Freshmen Raven Johnson, Saniya Rivers, and perhaps Bree Hall could all get a crack at playing time here. I thought Eniya Russell looked like a gamer in limited minutes, but for the most part she was consigned to garbage kind. It would be interesting to see if she can work her way into the conversation here, but it is going to be difficult.

Destiny Littleton got herself some minutes here and at the point and was seemingly more effective in the second half of season (perhaps farther removed from her double ankle surgery) but it was a mild surprise to me that she elected to come back.

It feels like there are two possible options to making a big upgrade to the depth here in Johnson and Rivers. Either could force themselves into starter minutes in a three guard look.

Wing: Brea Beal, Jr.
LeLe Grissette, Sr.
Saniya Rivers, Fr.
Bree Hall, Fr.
Laeticia Amihere, Jr.
Sania Feagin, Fr.

As in 2019-2020, Brea Beal pretty much held down this position from start to finish and turned in strong defense with limited offense. I was disappointed to see her continue to look uncomfortable at the three point line -- this really does need to be her primary focus in the offseason.

LeLe Grissette was her primary backup and did LeLe things. Active defending, running the floor, a little more aggressive (and effective) offensively to the hoop, but despite the 1 three pointer not a threat out there. I probably came to favor LeLe's minutes there, but they brought something similar to the table.

While Staley is very deferential to incumbent starters this position would seem ripe for some freshmen to slip in. Rivers or I guess Hall could get breakout minutes here and Raven's minutes could effect the position.

The other option would be going big with probably Amihere playing 3 (I doubt this happens with Feagin as a freshman, but it is possible). This is worth exploring and I'm sure we will see some of it, but in the end I'm not sure I see that being crunch time.

Forward - Victaria Saxton, Sr.
Laeticia Amihere, Jr.
Aliyah Boston, Jr.
Sania Feagin, Fr.
Brea Beal, Jr.
LeLe Grissette, Sr.
Elysa Wesolek, Sr.

This was the second problem spot position for South Carolina, I thought.

Saxton is steady and dependable most nights, but did not add much of a face up game this past season, which I thought was something that could really help her. She had 0 points and 1 rebound in 30 minutes vs Stanford and could not defend Haley Jones.

Amihere is big and quick and occasionally very productive. It's easy to see why folks can see stardom for her and she did not shrink from the moment in NCAA games. I'm a skeptic. To me she looks out of synch with what is going on and isn't always making the right decisions. If it clicks for her, then she can be the dominant scoring interior player on a team with three or four WNBA players.

The addition of Cardoso makes Boston an option at forward in twin towers looks. Boston probably has a batter face up jumper than either Wilson or Coates at the same point, but I'm not sure it plays exactly to her strength. However, she's a unselfish player and willing passer and it could be a deadly feeding to Cardoso and vice versa.

I had Feagin down as likely to make a serious impact, but man it's going to be tough to break in. She's going to be a great player.

The final option here is Beal and/or Grissette to match up with small lineups. The Grissette injury impacted depth to where that was not an option in the NCAA tournament and Stanford probably beat South Carolina on Haley Jones exploring that matchup. The depth additions should permit South Carolina to get small if it wants or needs to.

Post: Aliyah Boston, Jr.
Kamilla Cardoso, So.
Laeticia Amihere, Jr.
Victaria Saxton, Sr.
Sania Feagin, Fr.

Aliyah Boston was first team All America this past season and that was largely based on her defensive presence. She added a few wrinkles to her post game inside but is not a completed project there. Her face up jumper as mentioned above has become more consistent, though some would argue perhaps she floats a little too much. Foul trouble is constantly a discussion with her though it's been relatively rare that it has actually been an issue.

Cardoso comes in as ACC Freshman of the Year and Defensive Player of the Year. I've watched several of her ACC condensed game, but I'm not going to pretend to understand exactly where she is. I will say that in the games I've watched Syracuse didn't seem to run a lot of successful post ups for her. A lot of three point bombing from that team and I think Dawn and staff are really going to do some good things for her. I don't know exactly how this is going to play out, but I suspect she starts out as a very overqualified backup. Which eliminated the issues of foul trouble and fatigue for Boston. She seems as though she was a more effective player at Syracuse than Saxton and Amihere were last season, so that seems like South Carolina is upgrading some minutes.

Amihere at center works and is an advantage more off the dribble and perhaps with the face up.

I think a lot of teams would probably start Feagin and she's well down the list here. This is the one player that might have some playing time issues that I would hate to lose after her freshman season. Because she's going to be very good.
 
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Potential weaknesses:

1. Perimeter Shooting: While Henderson and Cooke were actually very good three point shooters (41% and 39%) this past season, they were pretty much the whole ballgame. Destiny Littleton was the next most effective shooter at 30%. Raven Johnson was a good high school shooter, but Rivers and Hall were at best inconsistent and probably more accurately struggled behind the arc. Beal looks uncomfortable with her form and taking the shots a lot of the time. Honestly, she just needs to be practicing corner threes the next six months. Whoever plays on the wing is going to get a load of unguarded looks.

2. Scoring balance: The Wing and Forward spots were pretty inconsistent last season. They didn't really demand opponents to respect them, particularly on the perimeter. At times during the year, it was a team of willing passers and not so many willing creators. That lead to some possessions going wrong as the more agressive, but not necessarily best options, forced some issues. It will be interesting to see if the new additions will carry much of the scoring load and to see whether some of the holdovers spend the offseason shooting corner threes.

3. Turnovers: When South Carolina had rough times, they were generally turning the ball over. In transition, in making clean catches, and in driving wildly into trouble. Adding aggressive freshmen and newcomers might not necessarily help drive that number down. Still, I would think that the lineups in the big games should be a little better taking care of the ball than this past edition.

4. Chemistry: No question this much depth is going to impact playing time and touches. This many new faces into an established powerful team sometimes goes the other way. Still, with all the veterans returning there should be decent continuity.
 
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Gamecocks most recent offensive ranks per Massey : 10 (2021), 3, 13, 19, 8, 12, 11, 34, 94, 77

Gamecocks most recent defensive ranks per Massey: 5 (2021), 3, 44, 12, 3, 3, 3, 2, 4, 5

Where do you think they are likely to land in 21-22?
 
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Just kind of looking at things by position - I'm just going to list option that seems plausible. Probably am leaving some off, but on the same hand there are some players listed at positions they likely won't play a minute next year.

Point Guard - Destanni Henderson, Sr.
Raven Johnson, Fr.
Zia Cooke, Jr.
Destiny Littleton, Sr.
LeLe Grissette, Sr.

I think Henderson had an excellent first season as a starter. I think she deserved All SEC honors, but she can stand to cut down on the turnovers.

South Carolina really didn't have a back up PG last season at various points going with Cooke, Littleton, and even Grissette. None of those really worked that well.

Enter Raven Johnson, who is expected to get the backup minutes immediately. I've seen some folks suggest that Raven could play some point with Henderson moving off the ball at times, but I think it might be equally likely that you see Johnson get some playing time off the ball if she proves to be a reliable shooter.

I think having a backup here is a significant upgrade over last season if Johnson is as effective as expected.

Guard: Zia Cooke, Jr.
Destiny Littleton, Sr.
Saniya Rivers,Fr.
LeLe Grissette, Sr.
Eniya Russell, So.
Raven Johnson, Fr.
Olivia Thompson, Jr.
Bree Hall? Fr.

Zia Cooke earned second team All SEC Honors and lead the team in scoring last season. A somewhat up and down effort saw her shooting about 39% on threes and twos. She has often drawn criticism for shot selection but had cleaned that up by the postseason and had a great run there including an epic performance in the Final Four.

As with point guard, there was not a lot of effective depth behind her at the position.

Freshmen Raven Johnson, Saniya Rivers, and perhaps Bree Hall could all get a crack at playing time here. I thought Eniya Russell looked like a gamer in limited minutes, but for the most part she was consigned to garbage kind. It would be interesting to see if she can work her way into the conversation here, but it is going to be difficult.

Destiny Littleton got herself some minutes here and at the point and was seemingly more effective in the second half of season (perhaps farther removed from her double ankle surgery) but it was a mild surprise to me that she elected to come back.

It feels like there are two possible options to making a big upgrade to the depth here in Johnson and Rivers. Either could force themselves into starter minutes in a three guard look.

Wing: Brea Beal, Jr.
LeLe Grissette, Sr.
Saniya Rivers, Fr.
Bree Hall, Fr.
Laeticia Amihere, Jr.
Sania Feagin, Fr.

As in 2019-2020, Brea Beal pretty much held down this position from start to finish and turned in strong defense with limited offense. I was disappointed to see her continue to look uncomfortable at the three point line -- this really does need to be her primary focus in the offseason.

LeLe Grissette was her primary backup and did LeLe things. Active defending, running the floor, a little more aggressive (and effective) offensively to the hoop, but despite the 1 three pointer not a threat out there. I probably came to favor LeLe's minutes there, but they brought something similar to the table.

While Staley is very deferential to incumbent starters this position would seem ripe for some freshmen to slip in. Rivers or I guess Hall could get breakout minutes here and Raven's minutes could effect the position.

The other option would be going big with probably Amihere playing 3 (I doubt this happens with Feagin as a freshman, but it is possible). This is worth exploring and I'm sure we will see some of it, but in the end I'm not sure I see that being crunch time.

Forward - Victaria Saxton, Sr.
Laeticia Amihere, Jr.
Aliyah Boston, Jr.
Sania Feagin, Fr.
Brea Beal, Jr.
LeLe Grissette, Sr.
Elysa Wesolek, Sr.

This was the second problem spot position for South Carolina, I thought.

Saxton is steady and dependable most nights, but did not add much of a face up game this past season, which I thought was something that could really help her. She had 0 points and 1 rebound in 30 minutes vs Stanford and could not defend Haley Jones.

Amihere is big and quick and occasionally very productive. It's easy to see why folks can see stardom for her and she did not shrink from the moment in NCAA games. I'm a skeptic. To me she looks out of synch with what is going on and isn't always making the right decisions. If it clicks for her, then she can be the dominant scoring interior player on a team with three or four WNBA players.

The addition of Cardoso makes Boston an option at forward in twin towers looks. Boston probably has a batter face up jumper than either Wilson or Coates at the same point, but I'm not sure it plays exactly to her strength. However, she's a unselfish player and willing passer and it could be a deadly feeding to Cardoso and vice versa.

I had Feagin down as likely to make a serious impact, but man it's going to be tough to break in. She's going to be a great player.

The final option here is Beal and/or Grissette to match up with small lineups. The Grissette injury impacted depth to where that was not an option in the NCAA tournament and Stanford probably beat South Carolina on Haley Jones exploring that matchup. The depth additions should permit South Carolina to get small if it wants or needs to.

Post: Aliyah Boston, Jr.
Kamilla Cardoso, So.
Laeticia Amihere, Jr.
Victaria Saxton, Sr.
Sania Feagin, Fr.

Aliyah Boston was first team All America this past season and that was largely based on her defensive presence. She added a few wrinkles to her post game inside but is not a completed project there. Her face up jumper as mentioned above has become more consistent, though some would argue perhaps she floats a little too much. Foul trouble is constantly a discussion with her though it's been relatively rare that it has actually been an issue.

Cardoso comes in as ACC Freshman of the Year and Defensive Player of the Year. I've watched several of her ACC condensed game, but I'm not going to pretend to understand exactly where she is. I will say that in the games I've watched Syracuse didn't seem to run a lot of successful post ups for her. A lot of three point bombing from that team and I think Dawn and staff are really going to do some good things for her. I don't know exactly how this is going to play out, but I suspect she starts out as a very overqualified backup. Which eliminated the issues of foul trouble and fatigue for Boston. She seems as though she was a more effective player at Syracuse than Saxton and Amihere were last season, so that seems like South Carolina is upgrading some minutes.

Amihere at center works and is an advantage more off the dribble and perhaps with the face up.

I think a lot of teams would probably start Feagin and she's well down the list here. This is the one player that might have some playing time issues that I would hate to lose after her freshman season. Because she's going to be very good.
Then play her
 
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Then play her

The two players whose playing time would be most threatened are Saxton and Amihere.

I have no problem with both losing minutes to play Feagin, but that's not really the trend with Amihere and its hard to see a senior captain getting relegated to mop up duty.

Dozier and Ibiam both started as seniors but dropped 7 to 10 minutes. That feels like about the limit for Saxton.
 
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Gamecocks most recent offensive ranks per Massey : 10 (2021), 3, 13, 19, 8, 12, 11, 34, 94, 77

Gamecocks most recent defensive ranks per Massey: 5 (2021), 3, 44, 12, 3, 3, 3, 2, 4, 5

Where do you think they are likely to land in 21-22?

I think closer to 3 and 3, especially on defense. The addition of Cardoso's rebounding and shot blocking to Boston's and Amihere's is going to make them a three-headed monster on defense in the paint. Amihere stepped up in the NCAAT - she averaged 10.0 ppg, 7.6 rpg, and 2.2 bpg in the 5 games, shot 21-41 (.512), and almost had a triple double (10 pts, 9 blocks, 8 rebounds) against Texas. Then add Saxton's rebounding and blocks, plus Beal's production there as well, and that's an impressive wall of defense being developed.

Hopefully on offense, with the additional depth and options to go to, this will help reduce the wildness and poor decisions, and place more pressure on opposing defenses that will tire down opposing teams we play. I think we have a greater chance of getting to 3 on defense than we do getting to 3 on offense, but giving Boston the chance of rest alone may help her get her shooting back to .600% like it was her freshman season....
 
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I think closer to 3 and 3, especially on defense. The addition of Cardoso's rebounding and shot blocking to Boston's and Amihere's is going to make them a three-headed monster on defense in the paint. Amihere stepped up in the NCAAT - she averaged 10.0 ppg, 7.6 rpg, and 2.2 bpg in the 5 games, shot 21-41 (.512), and almost had a triple double (10 pts, 9 blocks, 8 rebounds) against Texas. Then add Saxton's rebounding and blocks, plus Beal's production there as well, and that's an impressive wall of defense being developed.

Hopefully on offense, with the additional depth and options to go to, this will help reduce the wildness and poor decisions, and place more pressure on opposing defenses that will tire down opposing teams we play. I think we have a greater chance of getting to 3 on defense than we do getting to 3 on offense, but giving Boston the chance of rest alone may help her get her shooting back to .600% like it was her freshman season....

when I think about potential pitfalls for next season turnovers and shot selection top the list because these were existing problems and you add so many young newcomers.

I need to look into Massey's offensive mechanics .... wearing down other teams and then putting great second and third units on the floor should boost scoring, but possibly not efficiency.
 
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Because we had such a short bench this year we didn't use the press hardly at all. I think that will change next year. With so much depth we can afford to be more aggressive on defense. That made a lot of difference last year when we sent in Destanni, Lele, Saxton and sometimes Amihere to press for a few minutes each quarter. It was very affective and I can see that happening again next year with some of those quick players we have coming in.
 
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Comparatively hard on Eniya Russell I thought.
Agreed. The lineup “bombed against Mercer?” Russell played all of three minutes and didn’t have much of a box score impact (including no turnovers that I can recall), so not sure what that means.

Russell likely won’t break into this rotation but it’s far more to do with the abundance of riches on the bench than it is a lack of skill or talent.
 
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Personally, I think the team needs some scoring from the newcomers.

Giving the bench some reliable scoring punch and potentially making the three and four spot more threatening is a need in my book.

It will be a disappointment if Johnson or Rivers and Hall primarily end up being defensive wings even right off the jump.

Hall is kind of a mystery, but do want to correct the article on her. It said she broke out as a shooter this year, but that's not accurate. She shot mid to high 30s from three last season, but regressed as a senior.

I have seen the Herbert-Harrigan comp on Feagin from some of you here, and I don't really understand it. They might have some overlap in things that they can do, but they are different sized and a different style of player as far as I can tell from highlights.

Having watched 4-5 of Cardoso's condensed games, I'm pretty excited about her. She is fast up and down the court and is so fluid in her movement. Catches the ball well, keeps the ball high, and isn't mechanical at all about putting it in the hoop. You don't get all the bad stuff in the condensed games, but I can sense that foul trouble might be an issue. In general, I think if you were looking for a criticism it would be in playing with consistent focus for her full minutes. I'm not sure how she does putting the ball on the floor or hitting face ups and that doesn't seem to be something she did much for Syracuse. They seemed very much outside/in. It's possible that her conversion rate in post wasn't great and wasn't featured in the video but the good was so skilled and her overall numbers so decent it seems hard to believe.
 

SCGamecock

Carolina Sandlapper
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There is a MB ready for greater use, unfortunately the traffic is not that abundant - at least not for WBB. It's gamecockfanatics.com.
I just checked it out. It’s actually a pretty solid user interface.. needs traffic. I’m creating my account right now.
 

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