South Carolina Considers New Look
South Carolina coach Dave Odom might dress this season's Gamecocks in the newest basketball trend.
The three-guard system Illinois used to win 37 games and reach the national championship game might become the college game's newest fad, Odom said during the SEC basketball coaches teleconference Monday.
With three returning guards and no proven big man, USC might be a candidate to outfit itself with a new look when the Gamecocks begin the season in November at the Great Alaska Shootout.
"Basketball is like clothes or houses: It is kind of trendy," Odom said. "But its not that new. ... Big guys get you into games, and guards win them for you."
USC's returning guards include sophomore Stephen McDowell, senior Tarence Kinsey and junior Tre Kelley, who Odom said is as good a point guard as there is in the SEC.
Dominique Archie, a 6-foot-7 freshman from Augustas T.W. Josey High, also is a guard. Rocky Trice, a 6-2 forward who averaged nearly six points per game this past season, might be a candidate to move to guard if Odom changes the Gamecocks scheme.
Odom said Monday that during his tenure at Virginia, the Cavaliers used a similar three-guard offense using former USC assistant Ricky Stokes and Indiana Pacers coach Rick Carlisle to reach the 1984 Final Four.
Odom said the Gamecocks will return four starters but added that he is concerned about replacing Carlos Powell, a four-year starter and USC's leading scorer the past three seasons.
"I am concerned about that element, but Im not worried about it. Its something that we're aware of, and we're working on," Odom said. "Tarence Kinsey is the heir apparent to (Powell's role). ... Tarence might need some help there, but I think Tarence Kinsey is the first up at the plate, so to speak."
Odom added that USC's momentum from winning the NIT should not overshadow the Gamecocks' victories along the way. After finishing 7-9 in conference play and losing in the first round of the SEC Tournament, the Gamecocks won five consecutive games, including a 60-57 win against St. Joseph's in the final.
Coaches weigh in on NBA rule change
Several SEC coaches voiced their displeasure with the NBA's decision to increase the age limitation for players to be eligible for the draft.
American players will have to wait one year after their high school class graduates before they can become draft eligible. International players will have to turn 19 by the end of the calendar year in which they become draft eligible.
The SEC was among the hardest-hit conferences after six underclassmen went undrafted. Although the rule change is thought to improve high school players' chances of choosing to play college basketball instead of jumping to the NBA, some coaches are not so sure.
"I just think that it creates even more uncertainty," Georgia coach Dennis Felton said. "It presents another problem for us because if they do come to college for us, you have another set of athletes who are just one and done. ... I really think its a bit of a mess right now."
Two former Florida standouts - sophomore Anthony Roberson and junior Matt Walsh - went undrafted, but Gators coach Billy Donovan said Monday they have landed on their feet. He said Roberson is participating in the Memphis Grizzlies summer league program, and Walsh has a guaranteed contract with the Miami Heat.
Morris awaits decision
Former Kentucky center Randolph Morris, who declared for the NBA draft after his freshman season but went undrafted, likely will return to the Wildcats, associate head coach David Hobbs said Monday.
In the meantime, he will wait to hear from the NCAA if and how severely he will be penalized for leaving early. Hobbs said penalties could range from Morris missing a few games to the entire season.
"We're obviously going to have to be in a situation to move on, at least temporarily," Hobbs said.
Hobbs said the NCAA has been gathering information regarding money Morris might have received between declaring for the draft and his petition to regain some of his eligibility.
Hobbs said Wildcats coach Tubby Smith has agreed to Morris' return, assuming the NCAA grants the 6-10 center clearance.