Thursday, April 16, 2009

First look at 09-10 Gamecock Basketball Team & Thoughts

After reading, Five questions USC faces for 2009-10, from THE STATE and USC men’s basketball pick up two more signees ; I decided to take a stab at what the squad looks like in the upcoming season. Now this is assuming that Archie and Devan will be back.

The 09-10 Gamecock Squad ---

PG: Downey

Devan is an excellent PG, even if he struggled down the final stretch this year. I believe he was simply worn out by the end of the year. Hopefully next year we can get him more rest. I expect Downey's stats next year to be ~20 PPG, 4.5 AST, 3 STL. I expect him to come back for the 09-10 year. I also expect him to be a contender for SEC POY!

SG: Brandis Raley Ross

Congrats to Brandis for being named the SEC 6th Man of the Year, but I would say he would be a below average starter in the SEC. He's a decent ball handler, but he looks to be in slow motion when on the court. Not explosive at all and not able to create his own shot. Throughout his career he has typically played well in out-of-conference play and then disappeared in SEC play. This changed (to a degree) this season, but he still has the tendency to disappear for games at a time. His biggest attribute is his 3-point shooting; however, his form seems to fluctuate throughout the season. As a result his shooting is very inconsistent. In games this year he seemed to benefit from the occasional defensive breakdown. A 2 guard needs to be able to create his shot or be money from 3 Brandis has not been either of these so their is some work to do. Big area to improve is being a better decision maker on the court.

SF: Dominique Archie

Dominique will most likely provide more of the same: ~11.5 PPG 8 REB. Very athletic and very good defender. By the time he is done next year NBA scouts will be drooling over him. He has worked very hard on his shot all over the court, coach just needs to find a way to keep him in the offense. He is a freak athlete and a wonderful defender that is finally at his natural position. Needs to work on handling the ball. He unfortunately disappears on offense on occasion. However, when he is assertive and aggressive he is a weapon. It has always been very easy to tell how Archie will play in a game: just watch the 1st few minutes and that will tell you all you need to know. Archie is a good SEC player who I see duplicating his All-SEC 2nd Team honors next year. Doesn't need to go to NBA as one more year can help him!

PF: Mike Holmes

Mike is only a soph and I see him continuing to improve. This year he was slightly under 11 PPG and 8 REB. I see those numbers improving to about 13 PPG and 8.5 REB. Foul trouble is a weakness (his flopping does not endear him to the refs). He is a beast and wants to dominate every time out. That does let him get frustrated from time to time. Overall Mike is a very good player (I'd say 3rd team All-SEC this year) and I see him being even better than that in the future.

C: Sam Muldrow

Muldrow showed occasional glimpses of greatness (see UGA game and KY game) but otherwise was very inconsistent. I often question his awareness as far as defensive rebounding and locating defensive players. I also think he needs to be WAY more assertive when rebounding offensively. There is no reason a man of his size should not get some offensive putbacks. He can be a very good shot blocker, but he is no Varnado. Varnado is extremely disciplined and still gets his blocks, while I think Sam gambles on blocks and thus allows some easy baskets. Sam definitely needs to bulk up and just be more assertive on both ends of the court. Many have been very high on Muldrow this year but I still consider him a slightly below average SEC center/forward.


Steed: hustles and provides decent depth, but at times he has really been a deficiency on the court (ex. MSU game in SEC tourney). Needs to work this summer on his game.

Evka: an excellent 3-point shooter who does not provide much else. Not much of a creator obviously, but that is ok as we need someone to keep defenses guessing with Devan driving and dishing. Also, he has become a pretty decent rebounder here at the end of the season as it seems he has quit shying away from contact. Unfortunately, despite his nice stroke from behind the arc he cannot create his shot at all. He is strictly a spot up shooter. His lack of speed often makes him unable to get open for a shot. As a result he often provides nothing on offense. On the defensive end his effort has gotten better but he is still a liability. I look to him to improve but to be much like he was this past year next year.

Carter: I know he was a project, but in the SEC, I would get my five fouls out of him. He is 6'10 260 and I think we are crazy not to put him in for 2 minutes spurts here and there.

Lakeem Jackson: I am extremely excited about Jackson as he seems to have a very high basketball IQ. He can play the 2 or the 3 and is another great athlete which we need. He will get his dunks in this offense. I like about him the fact that he prides himself on defense. I love a good defender and that will be huge subbing out Archie for another defender. He is able to do a lot on both ends of the court and has shown very good leadership for his high school throughout this season. I think Jackson will eventually be an excellent player for USC and will provide some excitement. In his 1st season I see ~8 PPG 5 REB.

Spinella: It is hard to argue with his 35 PPG in high school. He looks to be significantly more athletic than Evka and could steal his minutes next year. Pure scorer who can shoot and take it to the rack. What I like about him is the fact he is a 6'5 SG. Zam was huge this year but Spinella's size matching up against the Tennessee's of the world will be huge.

Jefferson: Junior college forward Johndre Jefferson should give the team more frontcourt depth. I hear he is a player that knows his role. A Ben Wallace type in that he knows he is not skilled offensively and is a pure shot blocker/rebounder. That is huge for USC as rebounding has hurt us late. Can always use a sold role player to take some minutes off of the bigs as they have a tendency to get in foul trouble. Perhaps he is a Steed with more experience? Just needs to help get easy put backs and rebounds when in.

Galloway: Don't know much about him but we just need a backup who can handle the ball to give Downey a rest here and there. Will hopefully provide much needed depth for Devan. Who knows if he is the future answer at PG until he gets on campus, all I know is what I've read on the forums. Looks to be much less of a scorer than DD.

What this means:

PG: A+
SG: C+
SF: A-
C: C+

Bench: solid B....will be much improved next year when thinking about 08-09, both from a production standpoint and from a depth standpoint. Which is good news as you can tell at times we needed a deeper bench and especially during times we got in foul trouble. Seems the new guys also will bring some new energy to go well with the high risk/high reward style of Horn.

I think we can really be successful next year if Holmes/Muldrow elevate their games. I also look to the new guys to add where it counts. This team last year and this upcoming year has potential...we just need it every night. We will certainly have plenty of experience with 3 senior and 2 junior starters. Much improved depth will make us a tournament team in my view for 09-10. I hope we can defend the SEC East Co-Championship but UF/UK/UT will be better next year also....should make for a great SEC season and no more "weak SEC" talk!

USC Basketball Player to test waters of the NBA Draft

I honestly did not expect this one but I can understand why....

Archie, a redshirt junior, stresses that he still plans to return to school for his final season of eligibility. He just wants to go through the process to get feedback on what he needs to improve on....hard to argue that.

The 6-foor-7 forward will become the second Gamecock to declare for the draft, joining Devan Downey, who also does not plan to sign with an agent at this point.

Archie averaged 10.9 pts and 6.4 rbs this season, when he was named honorable mention All-SEC by the AP.

---Archie to test professional prospects
---Archie to test pro waters

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Gamecock Clippings

Here is a shot of news for ya ---



Joke of the Day

A guy orders a beer. The bartender fills the mug and slides it down the bar. It hits the blonde woman's boobs at the end of the bar and splashes all over them.

The bartender goes over, retrieves the mug and licks the beer off her boobs. Each time the guy calls for another beer this happens.

So after his third beer, he decides to help the bartender out. The next time the bartender hit her boobs, the man jumps up and starts to lick her breasts and she decks him!

He is laying on the floor moaning, 'Jeez lady... Why do you let the bartender do it but not me?''

Duh,' says the blonde, 'He has a licker license!'