With Anthony Gill appearing headed to the Virginia Cavaliers at this time yesterday, Gamecock fans were nonetheless able to find solace in the presumption that First Team All-SEC defender Damontre Harris would be returning for his junior and senior seasons. That presumption is no longer valid, as the 6'9'' forward from Fayetteville, NC has requested and been granted a release from his scholarship at South Carolina.
The only condition on his release is that he cannot go to NC State, who many think may have been guilty of tampering with Harris by making illegal contact with him during the coaching transition.
All of this could change after we see how (the remnants of) this team plays under Martin this fall, but at this point the question has to be asked: would you have accepted if I came to you three months ago and offered you Frank Martin in exchange for Darrin Horn, Damontre Harris, and Anthony Gill?
The Gamecocks will now be losing three of their top four leaders in minutes played from 2011-12 with the fourth (Ellington) being something of a wildcard. How comfortable do you feel that a starting lineup featuring Brenton Williams, (intermittently) Bruce Ellington, RJ Slawson, Lakeem Jackson, and Carlton Geathers is capable of improving upon the disaster that was last year's record? Will Frank Martin be able to recruit elite players to come to South Carolina after what figures to be an extremely difficult debut in 2012-13?
The only player that Frank Martin seems to have an inside track on signing for the 2012 class is Lithuanian Mindaugas Kacinas. I honestly have no idea of what he is or could be, but Kacinas would have to awfully good to be the missing ingredient that makes this squad look competitive on paper.