South Carolina is 8-7, 0-2 in the Southeastern Conference after dropping games to Florida and at Tennessee. Just before SEC play began, the Gamecocks dropped a shocker at home to Stetson after back-to-back impressive road wins at Clemson and Virginia. Coach Frank Martin’s squad is getting the job done on the defensive end by holding opponents to 65.3 points per game while forcing nearly 16 turnovers with their aggressive style. However, offensively, South Carolina has struggled to score the ball in the large part due to extremely poor shooting across the board. The Gamecocks are are 12th in the SEC in Field Goal Percentage (42.6%), 13th in 3-point Percentage (27.9%), and dead last in Free Throw Percentage (61.4%). They will rely on forcing some turnovers by getting out in the passing lanes defensively to get some easy points. Let’s dive in and learn a little bit more about the Gamecocks.
#00 A.J. Lawson: 6’6″ 178 lbs, Sophomore Guard
14.5 ppg, 3.1 rpg, 2.4 apg
Best player. Long & athletic. Play him straight up. Capable shooter. 26/78 from 3. No catch-and-shoot 3’s. Once you take away the obvious catch-and-shoot 3 he is going to want to drive it right. No right hand drives. No layups. Really wants to get to the rim and finish with his right hand. Stay between him and the basket. He will look to push it hard in transition some. Get all the way back and get the ball stopped. Not really thinking about passing when he drives it. Come help off non-shooters when he drives and make him give it up. Contest everything. Should be able to guard everyone else well enough that we don’t need to help off of him. Focus on taking him away when you are guarding him. Better free throw shooter than finisher so don’t bail him out as he drives. Don’t help off of him. Get over the ballscreens, switch if we need to. Chase him off down screens. More shots than points for him.
#52 Jair Bolden: 6’3″ 215 lbs, Redshirt Junior Guard
9.1 ppg, 3.1 rpg
Shooter! No 3’s! Just wants to shoot jump-shots. Take away the catch-and-shoot 3’s. Really likes to pump fake to get to a pull-up jumper. Stay down on the fakes. Be ready to contest all the jumpers. Make him drive it. If he isn’t dribbling it you aren’t close enough. Don’t help off of him when he doesn’t have it. Find him in transition. Get over the ballscreens. Chase him off downscreens and get over flares. Contest everything.
#24 Keyshawn Bryant: 6’5″ 197 lbs, Sophomore Forward
8.6 ppg, 2.7 rpg
Lefty. Very athletic. Non-shooter. No left hand drives! Closeout short and guard against the drive. Really wants to finish with his left hand. Stay between him and the basket. They will throw it ahead to him in transition for him to drive it. Get back and get the basket. Help off of him when he doesn’t have it. Help clog up the driving lanes or dig the ball out of the post. Be doing something. Make him score with you between him and the basket. No layups! Good offensive rebounder. Box out!
#10 Justin Minaya: 6’6” 215 lbs, Redshirt Sophomore Forward
6.5 ppg, 5.8 rpg
Lefty. Willing shooter. 41 of 92 shots have been 3’s but he has only made 8. Closeout short. We will adjust if he makes a couple. No left hand drives. Just throw a hand up if he shoots it. Much better from 2 than from 3 so just stay between him and the basket and make him score over you. Plays a pretty physical game and is a solid athlete. Very good offensive rebounder. Averaging almost 2 offensive rebounds per game. BOX OUT!!!
#21 Malik Kotsar: 6’11” 270 lbs, Senior Center
10.7 ppg, 6.3 rpg
Skilled 5-man. Lefty. Good driver. No left hand drives!!! Can drive it either way, but better going left. Closeout short to stay between him and the basket. Hasn’t attempted a 3. Good mid-range shooter though so closeout to those and give them a hard contest. Posts up hard, looking to duck you in. Left hand, right shoulder in the post. Be physical with him and get him off the block. His percentages go down the further off the block he has to make his post moves. Plays very hard. Don’t let him beat you down the court on the rim run. Have to be physical when the shot goes up too. Good at rebounding his own misses. Averaging over two offensive rebounds per game. BOX OUT!!!
#5 Jermaine Couisnard: 6’4″ 211 lbs, Redshirt Freshman Guard
9.0 ppg, 3.0 rpg
Very aggressive offensive player. Capable 3-point shooter. No catch-and-shoot 3’s. Just be there to give a hard contest to the catch-and-shoot 3’s. To start the game at least, no help off of him when he does’t have it. Bigger, strong guard. When he drives it he will seek out contact and try to finish at the rim. No right hand drives. Really wants to finish with his right hand. Be ready to contest the pull-up jumpers as he drives it too. Will push it hard in transition some when he gets it. Not a great finisher so just keep him between you and the basket and make him finish over you. Contest everything. More shots than points for him.
#20 Alanzo Frink: 6’7″ 260 lbs, Sophomore Forward
5.7 ppg, 4.1 rpg
Undersized, strong backup forward. Non-shooter. Closeout short to him when he catches it away from the basket. No right hand drives. Right hand, left shoulder in the post. Just make him score with you between him and the basket. Stay down on fakes. Bad free throw shooter. Foul if you are beat. No And-1s.
#12 Trae Hannibal: 6’2″ 217 lbs, Freshman Guard
Backup point guard. Non-shooter. No right hand drives. Closeout short to guard against the drive. Wants to drive it and finish with his right hand. No layups for him. Help off of him when he doesn’t have it. Will push it in transition if he thinks he can get to the rim. Not thinking about passing when he drives it. Stay between him and the basket.
#1 T.J. Moss: 6’4″ 195 lbs, Redshirt Freshman Guard
Will handle the ball quite a bit when he is in there. Willing shooter. 27 of 53 shots have been 3’s, but he has only made 6. Closeout short to guard against the drive. Just throw a hand up when he shoots. We will adjust if he makes a couple. Help off of him when he doesn’t have it. Stay between him and the basket. Don’t over help when he drives it. Driving to pass.
This is an offense that has struggled to find consistency on the offensive end of the floor this season due to very poor shooting percentages across the board. They generally will be in a 4-around-1 Motion alignment where they will set a lot of ballscreens and try to let their better players create in space. Coach Frank Martin will go 5-out quite a bit as well to try and open up more driving lanes too. They also have several set plays in the half court, mostly from a 1-4 High or Horns alignment, that they will go to to try and get their guys in a position to score. If you can stay in between your man and the basket they will have a hard time scoring enough to win. Here are some of their favorite actions offensively.
5-Out, Handoff to Flare: As they come down the floor the point guard will hit a guard at the left wing and immediately cut off of him and receive a handoff. Then, the trailing forward will set a flare for the guard on the wing who can either step behind the screen or curl the flare to the rim for a layup. If the guard gets the ball off the flare the forward will immediately turn and set a ballscreen. The floor is spaced very well to get the ball on the roll and #21 Kotsar is very good at catching it on the roll. In this clip, the defender guarding #10 in the far corner should have been able to come all the way to the rim to help on the roll off the non-shooter.
Horns, Handoff to Flare: They will run the same action as the clip above, but from a Horns alignment. The point guard will hit an elbow and immediately cut over top and get the ball back. Then, the other elbow will flare in and this is one they really like to try and curl to the rim. When they turn it up to the rim, they will immediately come and set a ballscreen. In this clip Couisnard ends up rejecting the ballscreen and kicks it to #1 Moss. The Tennessee defender closes out way too hard to him and ends up letting him get an uncontested floater.
Screen-the-Screener: Another one of their favorite half-court actions. They begin in a 4-around-1 set and set a flex screen for the ball side corner and pop for a catch in the corner. The guard that comes off the flex screen then sets a diagonal backscreen for the trail spot forward and then gets a downscreen from the point guard. They run this action quite a bit. We should be able to help on the back screen from the weak side corner if we need to since the ball is all the way over in this corner.
Secondary Screen Away: From their Secondary spots they will hit the trail spot and reverse the ball to the left wing. The trail spot forward will then screen away for the point guard who will read the screen and either pop behind or curl to the basket. This is a really good action for them because #21 Kotsar is very good mid-range shooter. Hard to guard because you have to help on #00 Lawson coming off the screen. We just need to be ready to have a good closeout to Kotsar and give it a hard contest. If we need to switch the screen that is okay too and then just be ready to help on Kotsar in the post.
1-4 High Downscreen to Slip Ballscreen: They run a lot of their sets from this 1-4 high alignment. They start with the wings cutting over/under just to get some movement and the elbows cross screen for each other. Then, one of the forwards sets a downscreen for a guard who has worked his way down the the right block. He will then run up like he is going to set a flat ballscreen but will “slip” the screen and pop to the wing. #52 Bolden (their best outside shooter) knocks in a wide open 3 here. We really shouldn’t need to switch this since there isn’t actually a screen, but if we can communicate the switch that is fine too. Just take away that 3!
Their defense really gets out in the passing lanes and will deny passes to the wings and really will try to deny any entry passes to the high post area. This will be a game where it will be easier to try and beat your man off the dribble 1-on-1 than move it around the perimeter with passes. One thing that they do a little differently than most teams that get out and deny though is that they will also help with two hands and two feet, meaning that when the ball is driven they will collapse and make you kick it out as opposed to getting all the way to the rim. This causes some tough closeouts for them as they are asking their defenders to cover a lot of ground. They also are going to mix in some 1-2-2 half court trap and 2-3 zone at some point during the game. The first clip below shows how they will deny our perimeter passes and the second clip shows their 1-2-2 half court trap.
Keys to the Game
- No Careless Turnovers. South Carolina forces nearly 16 turnovers a game and about half of those are steals that lead to easy baskets. With their aggressive, denial defense we need to be ready to beat our man off the dribble and finish around the basket.
- More Shots than Points for #00 Lawson & #5 Couisnard. These two are definitely their most dangerous offensive players and are very aggressive too. Both are capable 3-point shooters that we need to take away catch-and-shoot 3’s from. Need to contest everything. No right hand drives. More shots than points.
- Dominate the Glass. We have struggled at times on the glass even against teams that don’t have a ton of size, but this is one that we really need to win the battle of the boards. Outside of 6’11” Kotsar, they don’t play anyone above 6’7″. They have some athletic, strong wings that will fly in to rebound that we have to box out.
- No 3’s for #52 Bolden. Outside of Lawson & Couisnard being solid all-around offensive players, Bolden is really their only true 3-point shooting threat. He is 37.3% from 3 and since he is their primary threat from outside we need to take away his attempts. No help off of him.