Whether it be three seasons ago in the midst of South Carolina’s tournament run acting as their second option to Sindarius Thornwell or the last two years carrying the load on his shoulders, the Gamecocks' success always seemed to rest on the play of one man: Chris Silva.
The value of the soon-to-be graduating forward to the Gamecock men's basketball team is undeniable.
Finishing the 2018-2019 season with 1.9 blocks and 15.2 points per game, with a 50.8 field goal percentage, Silva was an important asset on both sides of the floor. Having Silva down low made many opposing players think twice about going in his paint.
Because he will be gone from the program next year, other Gamecocks are going to have to cover for what he’s done since his breakout sophomore season, and it’s unknown whether they will be up to the task.
With another key senior, Hassani Gravett, moving on as well, South Carolina simply doesn’t have the star power on their roster to replace someone of that caliber, and it would be unfair to hold any freshman up to those kinds of standards.
Without a feared force on the team next year, South Carolina's post-game will most likely suffer. Silva also drew a good amount of double-teams, often resulting in finding someone open from 3-point range.
“We probably won’t play solely through the low post next year,” head coach Frank Martin said in his season recap press conference. “We probably need to play a little differently.”
Martin is also aware there will not be another Silva next season and they will need to look for other alternatives.
“We build next year’s team based on the strength of the personnel going into next year’s team,” Martin said.
Knowing there will not be a player on the roster who will be able to give similar types of production as the 2017-2018 All-SEC First Team member, Martin needs to reach into his bag of tricks and hopefully find a game plan suited to the players he has on the roster.
The Gamecocks will undoubtedly miss Chris Silva and all he brought to the table every time he stepped on the hardwood. South Carolina will look to improve from last season's 16-16 record next year in the post-Silva era.