IMO the roster needs more depth in the paint than anything else
IMO the roster needs more depth in the paint than anything else, but these two are solid additions to the team...
-- South Carolina has extended an offer to 6-foot-6 slashing wing player Shamiek Sheppard (Waynesboro, Va./Fishburne Prep). Originally from Brooklyn, N.Y., Sheppard has also started receiving heavy interest from Frank Martin's former school, Kansas State, and is expected to set up visits to both schools in the next few weeks. Those are the two schools showing the most interest at this point and based on what we are told those are the two schools that Sheppard is likely to choose from.
This season at Fishburne, Sheppard is averaging 14 points per game and is described as a scoring slasher with a good mid-range game. Sheppard will need to continue to improve his three point shot but he is very similar to current Kansas State player Shane Southwell from what we are told.
-- One other name to mention from Fishburne Prep is 6-foot-8, 210-pound DeOntaye Curtis who has been described to me as very similar to Gamecocks recruit and Oklahoma signee Dante Buford (Jacksonville, Fla/Arlington Country Day). Curtis took an official visit to Gardner-Webb this past weekend but he still has some work to do regarding academics.
If Curtis can get his academics together late in the year he will likely be a guy that receives several high major offers but it is going to be mid- to late-March before anyone has an idea if he can make it academically.
-- Another post player in the 2014 class the Gamecocks recently checked on is 6-foot-10, 300-pound Adonis Delarosa (Rens, N.Y./Christ the King) but at this point we do not expect the Gamecocks to do very much here. They are likely to go see him play again towards the end of February but the focus is finding another athletic body and while DelaRosa is big, he does not really fit the mold of what the Gamecocks are looking for.
There is still a very strong chance that the Gamecocks will take a post player that has elected to transfer from another school and see if he can get a waiver to become eligible immediately.
I spoke with a source on the South Carolina side of things that said as of this morning the Gamecocks have not offered 2014 6-foot-11, 300-pound Adonis Delarosa of Christ the King school in New York. The 2014 center has told various media outlets that the Gamecocks had offered but that is not the case presently. The person we spoke with believes the Gamecocks could offer down the road however at this point DelaRosa does not fit the bill of what the Gamecocks are looking for.
The Gamecocks are currently awaiting some academic papers for 2014 wing Shamiek Sheppard (Waynesboro, Va/Fishburne Military Academy) before they can bring him on campus for an official visit. That is expected during the next few weeks and based on the feedback I am receiving I think the Gamecocks have a very good shot to land him.
The biggest thing with Sheppard the Gamecocks like is his toughness and ability on the defensive end of the floor. Currently, Kansas State is the other team involved with Sheppard and It is likely he will take an official visit to Manhattan as well.
The Gamecocks have been down recently to see junior college post player Andrew Fishler (Panama City, Fla./Gulf Coast State College). Oklahoma State has already extended an offer to the seven-foot prospect and the Gamecocks have just started checking into his services.
The person whom we spoke with believes the Gamecocks are not in need of a scoring threat in the post but instead a rim protector and rebounder. Fishler fits both of these categories and could be a guy the Gamecocks elect to move on later in the month of February.
-- Last week we mentioned 2014 wing Shamiek Sheppard (Waynesboro, Va./Fishburne Academy) and how the Gamecocks had stepped forward with an offer. The Gamecocks got the necessary paperwork over the weekend and now Sheppard will take an official visit to Columbia starting this Wednesday and running through Friday.
Sheppard and his team play against Hargrave Academy on Tuesday night and the 6-foot-6 prospect will then make the trip down on Wednesday and should be on campus in time to catch the Gamecocks take on Auburn.
The Gamecocks have also extended an offer to 2014 wing/forward Josh Cunningham (Chicago, Ill./Morgan Park) along with DePaul, Bradley, Minnesota, Northwestern and Nebraska. In speaking with people over the weekend, the feeling is that DePaul is the team to beat but Cunningham has an open mind and if he visits the Gamecocks they could make a move.
The Gamecocks would be willing to take both Sheppard and Cunningham if they both wanted to commit as Cunningham is considered more of an athletic four than a true wing. Sheppard on the other hand is considered more of a three man and a slasher.
South Carolina hosted 2014 wing prsopect Shamiek Sheppard (Waynesboro, Va./Fishburne Military Academy) this week on an official visit. Following his trip, he spoke about the specifics of the trip that caught his attention.
“I loved the fans and how the coaches support the players,” Sheppard told TheBigSpur on Friday afternoon. “I loved the campus. It was just a great campus. Everything about the trip was great.”
“The Horseshoe really stood out to me,” Sheppard said. “Just everything about it. They were telling me about the history around it and how they built it. It was just a very nice area of the campus and something that I really liked when I saw it.”
“Coach Martin just told me they want the top players that are going to come and go hard,” he said. “He thinks I can fit in with how they play and how I play would be perfect for their system.”
Sheppard arrived on campus on Wednesday in time to catch the game against Auburn. Despite the 79-74 setback, the effort the team showed impressed Sheppard.
“I think they play hard,” he said. “They really get after it but down the stretch they need a couple more tough plays to be good.”
“I am not sure right now on visits,” he said. “I would like to take at least one more just to have something to compare to South Carolina but I am not sure right now.”
When asked if he was willing to name South Carolina his leader following his trip, he did not hesitate.
“Yes sir,” Sheppard said. “I would consider them my leader right now and I hope to make a decision by the end of this month.”
Sheppard is a three-star prospect in the 247Sports Composite rankings with a 0.8257 rating.
IMO the roster needs more depth in the paint than anything else
-- Heading into the end of February the staff is undecided on what direction to go in terms of recruiting right now. The easy thought is to go out and get a post player that can make an impact in 2014 and improve the team's chances of making postseason play. The bottom line, however, is there are extremely few players available that can offer that ability.
The problem the staff faces is that with no real impact players, they have to find a guy they are certain can contribute next year or stay with players such as Laimonas Chatkevicius or Mindaugas Kacinas and work them to improve their ability going into their third year in the system.
-- Class of 2014 forward Josh Cunningham (Chicago, Ill./Morgan Park) is a guy that we have mentioned and certainly fits the bill as a player that would improve the front line for the Gamecocks. However it is very unlikely they are able to get him on campus for an official visit as Indiana and Michigan State seem to be the more likely options.
-- On the other hand we have mentioned guys like 2014 center Adonis Delarosa and junior college prospect Andrew Fishler (Panama City, Fla/Gulf Coast Community College) who are options but are not necessarily any more athletic than the players currently on campus. Add in the fact that both DelaRosa and Fishler would be spending their first years on campus and there is not a guarantee that they would provide the type of impact the staff needs.
That makes the question does the staff elect to take a chance on a new player or go with a commodity already on campus? The players on campus already understand the offensive and defensive system and has spent two years conditioning and training with Scott Greenawalt.
There is one more junior college player that is a no-brainer take for the Gamecocks but he does have current legal issues. Former five star forward Devonta Pollard (Scooba, Miss./East Mississippi Community College) enrolled in junior college back in October after leaving Alabama last summer due to being involved in a serious off the court crime that involved his mother. The 6-foot-8, 205-pound forward did reach a plea deal that has allowed him to enroll in the junior college and become a recruitable player once again this spring.
We mention his name because the Gamecocks have inquired into his services but we could consider this an extreme long shot as several other high profile schools have also checked into his situation. Neither Pollard nor his coaches are talking about his recruitment right now so there is no idea on what he plans to do after the season as he could decide to go ahead and declare for the NBA or try to go back to a four-year college.
-- One thing to keep an eye on is the possibility of coaching changes following the season that could open the door for guys either already committed or signed to become prospects once again. As for potential transfers, the biggest key would be getting an NCAA waiver for them to be eligible immediately for 2014, which seems unlikely but there is still always a chance.
-- There has been no real movement on the 2014 wing Shamiek Sheppard (Waynesboro, Va/Fishburne Prep) watch. We reached out to Sheppard late last week to check on when he may take an official visit to Kansas State and at that point was not sure when he would do it. Sheppard did want to have a decision by the end of the month so it is possible he could elect to go ahead and commit to the Gamecocks and not even take the visit to Kansas State.
“It was a great game and the atmosphere was crazy,” Dozier told TheBigSpur afterward. “Probably the most amount of people I have seen here in a couple years. Kentucky brought a lot of their fans but I was glad South Carolina could get the win and bounce back from their season and the record they currently have.”
One of the selling points for the Gamecocks staff to Dozier has been the success of current freshman and South Carolina native Sindarius Thornwell.
“He was great,” Dozier said. “Personally since I have been watching all season, I thought this was the best game he has had. He knew he could put the ball in the basket and he really exploited that tonight."
“They are coming along great,” he said. “The very first game I saw was a little shaky, I wasn’t sure what they would be able to do with this but as the season has gone along they have gotten better and better and you can see it clearly out there on the court.”
Asked if the team’s progress this year could help in his decision to stay home, Dozier did not hesitate to say it could.
“Oh yeah, definitely,” he said. “That is the biggest thing. If you don’t see any progress then why you consider that school but the progress they are making right now going into the tournament is great.”
“I do not plan to really narrow my list until I actually take some unofficial visits,” he said. “I have not really been anywhere except for a couple schools around that are pretty close by but when I can get out and get to a couple schools like Ohio State, Michigan, Indiana or Kansas then I can have a better idea.”
As for when the rising senior may end up making a decision, he was not sure and was not really rushing into.
“I am just being patient and going with the flow as people would say,” Dozier said. “I do know the time is winding down for me to make a decision but I am just taking my time right now. I just do see much point in hurrying up and letting everybody know. I just want to be sure with the decision that I make.”
Dozier is the No. 8 point guard in the country and No. 34 player regardless of position in the 247Sports Composite with a four-star, 0.9861 rating. He is also a four-star prospect with a 96 rating by 247Sports.