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South Carolina men's basketball 2015-16 player preview: Duane Notice

The 2015-16 South Carolina men's basketball season begins this Saturday. As the season creeps closer, we preview last year's leading scorer: Duane Notice.

Beth Hall-USA TODAY Sports

#10 Duane Notice

Junior

6-2 / 218

Woodbridge, Canada

College Career

I don't think I've flipped on a USC hoops player like Duane Notice. During his freshman season, Notice had some dreadful moments. I didn't see a competent, major-conference college basketball player during most of his possessions two years ago. I was wrong. Like most sports fans nowadays, I was impatient, and even more troubling, I was impatient with a player that really needed time to grow.

The South Carolina coaching staff first saw Notice late in his final year of prep school. Despite his Canadian roots, he was playing his prep ball in the states. Playing more shooting guard in high school, Notice wasn't close to a seasoned point guard when he arrived in Columbia. The way USC's rosters have been constructed recently, Notice has been forced to play point guard for much of his college career.

The transition was a struggle for Notice, and he still hasn't evolved into the truest point. However, having the ball in his hands has allowed him to showcase his scoring ability. We first saw it very late in his first season. After an inconsistent regular season, Notice averaged 14 points and 3.7 assists in the Gamecocks' three SEC Tournament games that season. He even dropped 23 points against Auburn in one of USC's tourney wins.

He entered his sophomore season with a goal to be more explosive. Notice worked with trainers all summer and lost 10 pounds during offseason workouts. Notice poured in the points, becoming USC's best offensive weapon and actually having a better season than expected star Sindarius Thornwell.

Notice started every game, averaging 11.8 points on the season, tops on the team. He won SEC Player of the week on Dec. 8 after a pair of 20-point performances early in the season. In the early portion of the schedule, Notice tallied a career-high 27 points in a road win at Marshall. He strung eight consecutive games of double-figure scoring, including a number of clutch performances. He scored 14 of his 19 points against Clemson in the second-half to help secure the rivalry win. Notice's 15 points, four assists and three steals were a big reason why USC was able to upset No. 9 Iowa State in Brooklyn.

Notice extended his range during his sophomore year, ranking eighth in the SEC with 61 made 3-pointers at season's end. He finished the year with nine games where he connected from deep at least three times, which helped Notice notch a team-best three 20-point games.

He finished his sophomore season the same way he finished his first year, with a strong performance in the SEC Tournament. Despite the loss to Georgia, Notice hit four 3-pointers and finished with 20 points.

2015-16 Outlook

There are still high hopes for Thornwell and his return to a clean bill of health. Combine that with the expectations levied against P.J. Dozier and Notice may be the third option on offense to most fans.

Frank Martin doesn't think that way though. Everyone's a weapon on offense, but Notice in particular. It shouldn't shock you if Notice leads this team in scoring for the second year in a row. According to his head coach, the Canadian will focus much more on scoring than distributing this season. That can be attributed to the addition of Dozier.

During preseason practice, Notice has continued to work at point guard, along with Thornwell, Dozier and sophomore Marcus Stroman. Martin has remarked that Dozier is the best passer on the team already and Stroman is more of a traditional point guard than anyone on this roster.

While Notice, and Thornwell, will continue to hold some of the ball-handling duties, Dozier and Stroman are now in place to handle the majority of them, whether it is the starters on the floor or a bench mob.

In 2014-15, Notice increased his usage on offense and managed to keep his shooting percentages similar to his freshman season. He got to the foul line a bit less, but greatly improved his free throw percentage. He cut turnovers and made better decisions all season long.

We saw his improvement after one summer. With another one under his belt, how high could Notice's ceiling be?