November 11, 2002
|1996||8-8||19-12||NIT Elite Eight|
|1997||15-1 (x)||24-8||NCAA 1st Round|
|1998||11-5||23-8||NCAA 1st Round|
x won SEC title
- returning starter
The versatile Chuck Eidson can play four positions for the Gamecocks, but Dave Odom is hoping he doesn't have to use the 6-7 senior at the point, which he did at the end of last season. Eidson does a little bit of everything. He's a good passer, has excellent instincts on defense and has more confidence in his sometimes-shaky outside shot. Rolando Howell will be expected to do more interior scoring, while continuing to play steady post defense. He's athletic enough to guard post-up forwards, as well as quicker wings. Center Tony Kitchings is the X-factor, a tough rebounder when he's in shape, which he finally appears to be this fall. Besides his weight, Kitchings has to be careful of foul trouble. Carlos Powell is the team's most consistent perimeter threat, after gaining confidence with every game last year as a freshman.
Other Key Returnees
Chris Warren was expected to provide instant offense last year, but the juco transfer was overwhelmed in his first SEC season. He tends to get rattled facing tough man defense but is excellent coming off screens. Michael Boynton takes over for Aaron Lucas at the point. Boynton is not a gifted scorer and doesn't always direct the offense the way Odom likes, but he's not going to hurt the Gamecocks with turnovers. Marius Petravicius, the 6-10 Lithuanian, started 23 games last year when Kitchings was out. Petravicius is better suited to a backup role anyway, having stalled offensively over the last four years.
Kerbrell Brown was originally a LSU recruit before grades forced him to go the juco route. He's a slasher who will hit the boards and create his own shot, but his jumper needs work. Tarence Kinsey is a good shooter and a legitimate three-point threat. If Warren struggles with his shot, Kinsey could work his way into the lineup. Marcus Morrison has impressed coaches with his defensive effort. Jarod Gerald is a reliable ball-handler who will see playing time behind Boynton.
Also Worth Noting
Eyebrows were raised across the South when Odom agreed to take Kentucky reject Jason Parker, who fell out of favor in Lexington following injuries and off-the-court problems. But Parker's career at USC may be over before it begins: There are whispers that Odom already is frustrated by Parker's approach to rehabilitating his twice-injured knee in anticipation of a 2003-04 debut. Nobody was too worried about the loss of backup forward Ivan Howell, who will sit out the first six games for academic reasons. Howell is mostly a non-factor whose brother, Rolando, got the bulk of the family's athleticism. This team probably will go as its outside shooting goes. Strong in the interior and solid defensively, the Gamecocks could be a NCAA Tournament team if some perimeter shooters emerge. If not, it could be a struggle to reach .500. Assistant Barry Sanderson, the son of former Alabama coach Wimp Sanderson, is the second member of his family with USC ties. Scott Sanderson played in 114 games for Bill Foster from 1981-84.
CHART BY: THE USC INSIDER