Many South Carolina sports teams have been busy adding to their rosters throughout the summer via the transfer portal.
New arrivals on the baseball, men’s and women’s basketball and softball teams are looking to make valuable contributions to their respective programs next season.
Following a season that saw the South Carolina baseball team miss the NCAA tournament for the third time in the last five seasons, the team will bolster its roster by welcoming 10 transfer players, who will add depth at all positions.
“We’re signing some really good guys out of that portal that are gonna really help us, and they’re filling what our needs are, they’re filling what our wants are in terms of taking it to where we want to be,” baseball head coach Mark Kingston said during a media availability on June 28.
Two incoming transfer players from Clemson — redshirt juniors catcher Jonathan French and outfielder Dylan Brewer — represent the lone additions at their respective positions. Over their careers with the Tigers, French batted .230, hit 13 home runs and drove in 43 runs in 75 games, while Brewer batted .212 and accumulated 15 home runs, 61 RBIs and 75 runs scored.
The team’s biggest personnel changes will be in its infield, where nearly half of its incoming transfers will play in the spring. Among the infield additions are key contributors from numerous mid-major programs — redshirt junior infielder Caleb Denny (Oral Roberts), junior first baseman Jacob Compton (Memphis) and senior second baseman Will McGillis (Southern Mississippi). The Gamecocks also added a first baseman from an established Power 5 program in junior Gavin Casas (Vanderbilt).
Denny, a 2021 All-Summit League first team selection as a sophomore, led the conference in hits (79), RBIs (57) and runs scored (63) in 2022. Both Compton and McGillis proved to be powerful bats at the center of their respective lineups this past season. Compton led his team in home runs, RBIs and total bases, while McGillis finished in his team’s top three in those three statistics.
Sophomore pitcher Roman Kimball (Notre Dame), junior pitcher Ricky Williams (Clemson) and graduate pitcher Nick Proctor (California) will all play roles in a revamped Gamecocks bullpen. Williams finished his Tigers tenure with a 2-0 record and 2.86 ERA over 28.1 innings pitched, and Kimball brings with him a 4-0 record and College World Series experience to Columbia.
In junior two-way player Chris Veach, South Carolina will get a valuable contributor who can affect a game in more ways than one – Veach had a .336 batting average and a 2.70 ERA in two seasons at Presbyterian.
Coming off a national championship victory, women’s basketball head coach Dawn Staley wasted no time refurbishing her roster in pursuit of a second straight crown.
Filling in the void at point guard left behind by former women’s basketball star Destanni Henderson will be graduate Kierra Fletcher, who transferred from Georgia Tech.
Fletcher missed the entire 2021-2022 season due to a foot injury but leaves the Yellow Jackets an accomplished four-year starter. In her time with Georgia Tech, Fletcher averaged 31.8 minutes, 9.6 points and 5.7 rebounds per game.
"When we saw Kierra Fletcher in the portal, I immediately called to inquire about what she was thinking, what type of situation she wants to be in," Staley said during her Carolina Calls radio show in April. "And it didn’t take her long to realize that she wanted to win a national championship.
Fletcher already had a chance to play against her new team, as Georgia Tech was drawn against the Gamecocks in the Sweet 16 of the 2021 NCAA Tournament. She registered 16 points, seven rebounds and three assists on 7-15 shooting in a game the Yellow Jackets lost 76-65.
On the men’s side, the hire of new men’s basketball head coach Lamont Paris prompted commitments from players at both in-state and out-of-state schools.
In his opening press conference, Paris said the transfer portal was a great way to supplement quality players already on the roster.
“The landscape of recruiting has changed,” Paris said. “You have to adapt to what’s out there and use the tools that are out there, and so I think the transfer portal can be a great way to supplement what you have going, particularly as you take a job over.”
The Gamecocks’ in-state additions include graduate forward Hayden Brown and redshirt senior guard Ebrima Dibba. Brown had a highly productive 2021-2022 season at The Citadel, averaging nearly a double-double (18.8 points and 9.5 rebounds) per game. Dibba averaged 33.1 minutes and 8.1 points per game while leading Coastal Carolina and the Sun Belt in assists (5.5) per game.
Dibba will have to wait until next year to make his first appearance for the Gamecocks, however, as he picked up a season-ending Achilles injury during summer workouts.
Two more incoming transfers — junior guard Meechie Johnson Jr. and redshirt junior forward Benjamin Bosmans-Verdonk — come to Columbia after having limited playing time at different Big 10 schools. Johnson Jr. made 43 appearances in his two seasons with Ohio State, averaging 13 minutes and 3.2 points per game, and Bosmans-Verdonk averaged 6.4 minutes and 1.3 points per game over three years at Illinois.
Another newcomer, redshirt freshman guard Troy Boynton, had the opportunity to make his collegiate debut with the Gamecocks this fall, but he was ruled out for the season after re-aggravating an injury that caused him to miss his entire freshman year at Evansville.
The South Carolina softball team recently announced four additions to its roster, three of whom came from programs that appeared in last year’s NCAA tournament.
In July, the Gamecocks received commitments from juniors outfielder Aniyah Black and catcher Jenn Cummings. Black hit .258 with five home runs, 22 RBIs and 17 runs scored in 39 games with Georgia last season. Cummings showed her ability to play well on both sides of the ball for Washington with a .405 on-base percentage and .997 fielding percentage in 2022.
The second pair of transfers — senior pitcher Donnie Gobourne and sophomore infielder Brooke Blankenship — had their moves to South Carolina made official in August. Gobourne pitched a 4.84 ERA over 123 innings in 33 appearances in her two-year career at Florida Atlantic and led Conference USA by holding her opponents to an .192 batting average last year. In her freshman campaign with Florida State, Blankenship hit .214, scored 14 runs and was a perfect 4-4 on stolen base attempts.