Jaylen Shaw plans to transfer from South Carolina to continue his college basketball career elsewhere. Reports indicate a mutual decision between Shaw and head coach Frank Martin.
Shaw played 28 games his freshman (and only) season at South Carolina. Pressed into duty as the sole true back-up point guard due to Bruce Ellington's departure from the program and Tyrone Johnson's injury against Texas A&M, he backed up fellow freshman Duane Notice at the 1, though as the season wore on some of his minutes went to Sindarius Thornwell, who moved over from his spot at the 3.
Shaw thrived at times, scoring 16 points in 26 minutes in the win over FIU and adding 13 points in 20 minutes in a losing effort in Stillwater. Yet he struggled to find consistent minutes, particularly as the season wore on. He only played over 10 minutes in one game once the calendar turned to February, a 17-minute effort in a 67-66 win over Alabama at home. Otherwise, Frank Martin opted against playing him, instead relying heavily on Brenton Williams, Thornwell, and Notice at the guard spots for most of that period.
Still, Shaw showed flashes of becoming a very strong offensive player during his limited time on the court. He shot the ball very well, shooting 87% on free throws, 44% on 2s, and 40% on 3s. In some ways, he played an odd game. At times, he looked a point guard - he assisted on 23.5% of his teammates' field goals when on the court, and also struggled with turnovers (ending 26% of his own possessions with them, a not-uncommon number for a freshman point guard). Those numbers looked very similar to those accrued by Notice, who posted a 25% assist rate and a 27% turnover rate himself.
But unlike Notice, who took 76% of his field goals from 2 and spent significant amounts of time at the free throw line (with a 48.9 free throw rate, good for 381st nationwide), Shaw hoisted over 60% of his field goals from beyond the arc, a shot that Martin doesn't favor, particularly from his point guards. His inability to create shots particularly hurt his chances on this particular Gamecock team, which needed creators outside to accommodate their lack of them on the inside, with the possible exception of Laimonas Chatkevicius.
Given the make-up of next season's roster, Shaw may have struggled to find playing time at the point, and perhaps Martin didn't think he could handle the two-guard position on this team, particularly defensively, given Shaw's relatively small stature (6'0"). While Martin learned to accept the trade-offs associated with getting a smaller 2 on the floor with Brenton Williams, it's not his preferred style of play. The fact that Shaw did not come to Carolina as a 2 guard, perhaps combined with uncertainty he could develop at that position (or back at the point, if he and the staff preferred him at that spot), likely led to his departure.
The transfer opens up room in the depth chart for incoming freshman Marcus Stroman to take the reins as the primary back-up to Tyrone Johnson this season, with Duane Notice likely serving as the starting shooting guard.
It also opens up an additional scholarship for the Gamecocks. At this time, with the fact that Carlton Geathers is unlikely to count against the NCAA scholarship limit for South Carolina next year, the Gamecocks can account for 12 scholarships for the 2014-15 team.
That leaves one remaining spot for someone to claim. Carolina hopes that Danuel House, a former five-star transfer from the Houston Cougars, decides to claim that last scholarship. He visited the Gamecocks recently and has them in his final group, along with UNLV and UCLA. He plans to announce in the coming weeks his intentions for next season and hopes to receive a waiver to play immediately due to the coaching change in Houston.