Throughout the summer, Gamecocks brought home gold medals, national championships and conference accolades. Here are the highlights:
Eleven Gamecocks headed to Tokyo for the 2020 Summer Olympic Games.
Most notably, head basketball coach Dawn Staley and former Gamecock legend A'ja Wilson led the U.S. women's basketball team to a gold medal, defeating the Japanese team 90-75. Wilson scored 19 points in the game and secured her first gold medal. The win marked Staley's sixth total gold medal and third as coach.
This year 3x3 basketball was added to the Olympic roster of sports, and former Gamecock Allisha Gray helped Team USA win the first gold medal for the sport. Team USA defeated the Russian Olympic Committee 18-15 in the final after going 8-1 in the entire tournament. Gray averaged 5.3 points per game.
Gray said winning the gold medal was an accomplishment "on a different level" than everything else she has accomplished.
"I hope I can be an inspiration to all the young girls and boys back home that you can follow your dreams and also make it to the big Olympic stage like I have," Gray told GamecocksOnline.
Former Gamecock sprinter Wadeline Jonathas also brought home a gold from Tokyo as a member of the women's 4-by-400 relay team. Jonathas didn't participate in the final race, but her and three other members of the team earned medals for helping the team advance through the preliminaries and into the final rounds.
Name, image and likeness policies
Gamecock student athletes can now make money off their name, image and likeness (NIL) because the NCAA suspended rules that prohibit college athletes from making money off their NIL. A South Carolina state law was also passed to allow student athletes to make money off their NIL.
The South Carolina athletic department launched a new program called Gamecock CEO, which is aimed to aid the student athletes with taking advantage of the new NIL opportunities.
Athletics director Ray Tanner told GamecocksOnline he considers it a part of the athletic department's mission to aid the student athletes in understanding how to "market themselves and be the CEO of their brand."
Tanner said he wants "to make sure that our student-athletes are able to take advantage of all the opportunities that NIL can bring."
Since the policies were put in place, several athletes have taken advantage of them. For example, women's basketball player Aliyah Boston and football player Colten Gauthier partnered with Bojangles.
Track and field
True freshman jumps Rachel Glenn made her mark on the track and field program early in her career. A 1.89m jump at the 2021 SEC Outdoor Championships, the highest for a Gamecock in the last six years, landed her an SEC individual title.
Glenn's success didn't stop there. At the NCAA Outdoor Championships in Eugene, Oregon, she topped her SEC Championship performance and set a personal record with a jump of 1.93m to secure an individual national title.
Sophomore Daniel Rodrigues nearly had a national title victory, but he fell short to Florida's Sam Riffice.
With Rodrigues making the finals, South Carolina became the first team since Baylor in 2005 to have back-to-back finalists.
Rodrigues finished No. 3 in the final national rankings and helped propel the Gamecocks to finish in the No. 13 spot, the program's highest finish since the 1988-89 team finished No. 5.
The 2021 MLB draft ended with eight Gamecock baseball players being drafted in total.
Six of the eight players were drafted on day two of the draft in the fifth through 10th rounds. Brett Kerry was the first taken off the board; the pitcher was selected in the fifth round by the Los Angeles Angels.
Eight picks later, Brady Allen was selected by the Miami Marlins and Thomas Farr was picked immediately after by the Cincinnati Reds. Brannon Jordan and Wes Clarke were drafted in the ninth and 10th rounds by the Milwaukee Brewers. Andrew Peters will join Kerry with the Angels organization after being picked in the 10th round.
Pitcher Daniel Lloyd was taken in the 14th round by the Baltimore Orioles and Julian Bosnic was taken two rounds later in the 16th round by the San Francisco Giants. Bosnic, however, announced a week after being drafted that he would return to the Gamecocks for his senior year.
After going undrafted on NBA draft night, former Gamecock guard AJ Lawson signed a free agent deal with the Miami Heat.
Since then, Lawson was added to the Atlanta Hawks summer league team and has played in three games, averaging 20.9 minutes per game and 4.5 points per game in the Las Vegas Summer League.