The Daily Gamecock

Basketball roster undergoes changes

Seven new players joining Frank Martin’s team

The South Carolina men’s basketball team will have a much different look this season.

The Gamecocks’ roster feature seven new recruits, including the No. 11 ranked shooting guard Sindarius Thornwell.

Thornwell, from Lancaster S.C., played his senior season at Virginia high school powerhouse Oak Hill Academy. The 6-foot-5-inch, 180 pound shooting guard gives USC head coach Frank Martin his first four-star recruit of his tenure at South Carolina.

“Sind’s a very talented player. He’s strong, he’s big,” Martin said at a press conference at the Colonial Life Arena on Friday. “He’s got a demeanor that’s much needed in good player. (He’s) got a good mind for the game. We’re extremely excited about coaching him, I think he’s going to be a great, great player,”

Thornwell, the No. 43 overall player in the country, is a huge benefit for South Carolina, both on the court and in recruiting other players to come join him in Columbia. He excels both when he is attacking the basket and scoring inside. Thornwell is able to create shots for his teammates with the defensive pressure his offensive abilities demand from opponents. He has an aggressive style of scoring combined with a good understanding of when to distribute the ball. His jump shot needs improvement, but his drive game, passing skills, and versatility make Thornwell a major grab for the Gamecocks.

The Gamecocks will also welcome four-start recruit Demetrius Henry. Henry, from Brandon, Fla., is the No. 17 power forward and No. 100 overall player in the nation. At 6 feet and 9 inches and 210 pounds, Henry is a big man who plays with great energy and a great sense of urgency. He has shown the ability to knock down the mid-range jumper and has proven to be a rebounding force. But at only 210 pounds, Henry will need to add strength to his game so he can bang underneath for the Gamecocks, but his length has his new head coach excited.

“Demetrius Henry is long. I think Demetrius has put on 6 pounds of muscle already, in basically two weeks. That’s a huge thing for a kid like him. He’s long and he’s skilled, he’s just got to get his body stronger, more prepared for the daily grind of a college game,” Martin said.

Henry will look to add size to his frame so he can improve his shot in traffic, but it is clear that the Florida native could have plenty of playing days ahead of him.

The Gamecocks also landed four three-star recruits, including Justin McKie from Columbia, Desmond Ringer from McDonough Ga., Jaylen Shaw from Hartsville S.C., and Duane Notice from Canada.

McKie, Ringer, and Shaw are expected to be early contributors and solid role players for future Gamecocks to learn and grow with. Two-star recruit Reggie Theus Jr. from Los Angeles will also join the Gamecocks, along with former Villanova guard Tyrone Johnson.

Johnson, from Plainfield, N.J., transferred from Villanova after playing only one season there. In his freshman year, Johnson averaged 3.3 points, two assists, and one rebound in 17.7 minutes. Johnson was the former No. 52 overall player and No. 11 point guard in the 2011 class. He struggled a bit under head coach Jay Wright’s system, but is making all the adjustments necessary to prepare for Martin’s physical demands.

“He’s changed his body since he got here…he’s working at things at a certain rate that’s allowing him to improve himself, and you can see it when he walks in,” Martin said.

Along with Thornwell, Johnson, and Henry, Notice is another player that USC fans may want to keep an eye on. The No. 35 point guard played in Canada for most of his high school career before transferring to St. Thomas More in Oakdale, Conn.

Notice is the No. 4 Canadian player in the 2013 class and reminds some of current point guard/wide receiver Bruce Ellington. Notice is an athletic and powerful guard with a great first step to the rim. He has the ability to knock down open shots, but his jumper is a slight weakness. He is a good perimeter defender, but will need to tune his game to become a consistent contributor in the SEC.


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