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South Carolina men's basketball 2015-16 preview: Reserves and Freshman

The 2015-16 South Carolina men's basketball season begins tomorrow night. As the season creeps closer, we preview what makes fans excited about this team - their depth and the freshman.

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#1 Marcus Stroman, sophomore, guard

Stroman is the purest point guard the Gamecocks have entering the year. The former Keenan High School star ranked fourth among SEC freshman in assists per game his first season. He missed five games late in the year due to a bizarre throat infection. Stroman is one of my favorite players on this roster and I'm curious to see how much he improves from year one to year two.

#2 Raymond Doby, freshman, forward

Doby was a consensus three-star prospect from Montrose Christian School, the same program that produced Kevin Durant and Michael Carrera. He's already there physically so he won't have to adjust to that element of the college game but his overall skill needs to catch up to his size.

#4 Jamall Gregory, freshman, guard

Gregory wasn't too highly rated but he's one of the more exciting players to enter this program in awhile. The high-flying freshman is already one of the more athletic players on the roster. He has some work to do on his jumper and his offensive skill set but he has the potential to guard any kind of perimeter player down the road with his athleticism.

#5 TeMarcus Blanton, redshirt freshman, guard

Blanton redshirted last season after suffering a bizarre hip injury before the year began. The injury is very rare in basketball and similar to the injury that ended Bo Jackson's career. The chips were stacked against Blanton before he even got a chance to touch the floor  in a meaningful game but Frank Martin believes he's overcome his issues and is ready to contribute this season. He's a slasher with an improving mid-range game, but can expand his effectiveness by developing a consistent three-point shot.

#15 P.J. Dozier, freshman, guard

The 2015 McDonald's All-American is Frank Martin's premier recruit so far in Columbia. Martin still does not know who will start Saturday's opener but there is a good chance Dozier starts from day one. The coaching staff has already mentioned that Dozier is the best passer on the team, and to some people's surprise, he's spent most of his time at point guard this preseason. His length and athleticism should make him a plus defender and a good rebounder for his position. He's already shown his cerebral reputation in preseason practice and will enter the year with large expectations.

#20 Justin McKie, junior, guard

We started to see flashes of McKie's ability last year but then a concussion sidelined him for five games midway through the season. He had a pair of eight-point games and then followed it up with a career-high 12 points against Marshall before going out. McKie and the staff were slow in bringing back the 2013 South Carolina Mr. Basketball after his scary collision in practice. He has solid 3-and-D potential for the Gamecocks.

#21 John Ragin, freshman, guard

Ragin joins the team as a freshman walk-on after staring for nearby Cardinal Newman and former Gamecock Branden Conrad. He was named first-team all-conference, all-region and all-state during his senior season.

#23 Eric Cobb, freshman, forward

I'm not sure how much Cobb will play in his first season but I'm fairly certain he will have his moments. At 6-foot-9, 296 lbs., (yes, you read that correctly) Cobb is a very large human being. His rebounding and presence in the paint will delight Martin and may persuade him to throw the freshman in the fire from time to time.

#30 Chris Silva, freshman, forward

Outside of Dozier, Chris Silva will be the first-year player expected to contribute the most. With Mindaugas Kacinas out of South Carolina's exhibition with back pain, Silva got the start and played fairly well. He wasn't the rim protector he was billed to be against Allen but he sure cleaned the glass in last weekend's warm-up. His superior athleticism helped him become a consensus 4-star, top-100 player out of high school.

#31 Jarrell Holiman, redshirt sophomore, forward

South Carolina represents Holiman's second college as he joined the Gamecocks after transferring from Elmhurst College after one year playing there. The Atlanta-product is a music major at USC.