Victoria Richman / The Daily Gamecock

Gamecocks pave the way in the pros

Several Gamecocks have stepped onto the court in Colonial Life Arena looking to develop their skills, secure win in SEC game and eventually bring a national championship trophy home to the University of South Carolina.

However, there is one goal that every South Carolina basketball player hopes to accomplish in their basketball career: making it to the next level.

The Gamecocks have made a name for themselves when it comes to achieving this goal. Former South Carolina basketball players Sindarius Thornwell, P.J. Dozier and the most recent Gamecock alum, A’ja Wilson, have done just that.

All of these professional athletes have left their mark on South Carolina basketball as each player accomplished something that both programs had yet to see.  

These achievements include a Final Four run by the men’s squad in 2017, two Final Four runs in 2015 and 2017 for the women’s squad, four straight SEC Women’s Basketball Tournament titles and a 2017 NCAA Women’s Basketball National Championship.

Now that these Gamecocks have completed their time at South Carolina, they are making noise in the pros.

Former SEC Men’s Player of the Year, Thornwell is now a second-year guard for the Los Angeles Clippers but has recently been moved to the Clippers’ G-League affiliate, the Agua Caliente Clippers.

In his rookie season with the Clippers, Thornwell racked up a 42.9 shooting percentage along with shooting 67 percent from the free throw line.

Thornwell also had a few notable games including scoring 20 points against the New Orleans Pelicans and a 14-point game against LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers.

Another Gamecock in the NBA is 2017 East Regional All-Tournament Team member Dozier. Dozier was originally picked up by the Oklahoma City Thunder but is currently a second-year point guard under contract with the Boston Celtics.

Although he saw minimal playing time with the Thunder, Dozier did prove his talent with the Thunder’s G-League affiliate, the Oklahoma City Blue.

In his rookie season with the Blue, Dozier accumulated an average of 13 points per game and a 46.4 shooting percentage.

Wilson, who perhaps is the most accomplished player in Gamecock women’s basketball history, has quickly dominated on the court in the WNBA as a forward with the Las Vegas Aces.

In her rookie debut with the Aces, Wilson has averaged 20.7 points per game which ranks third overall in the WNBA and 192 free throws made total which ranks first overall in the league.

Wilson earned many noteworthy performances including a 34-point game with four blocks against the Dallas Wings and a 35-point game with 13 rebounds against the Indiana Fever.

Wilson's performance on the court has earned her prestigious WNBA honors, such as being selected as a WNBA All-Star and being selected as the 2018 Rookie of the Year.

The bar has been set high for both the men's and women's basketball teams as current South Carolina players will look to Thornwell, Dozier and Wilson's collegiate legacy and current professional careers for inspiration. 

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