It's been a long time since I posted one of these. Actually, I believe the last time I wrote an article was the end of football season. For that, I apologize. However, there are several (finally) good things to talk about when it comes to Gamecock basketball! So let's get right down to it.
Many people, casual fans and national analysts alike, said coming into this season that the Lithuanian duo of Mindaugas Kacinas and Laimonas Chatkevicius would more than likely determine how well we perform this season. So far they have not disappointed. Laimonas has increased PPG by almost 2 points a game and has clearly developed a plethora of post moves inside. However, Kacinas has been the most improved of the two. He has increased his PPG by over 5 points from 6.1 last year to 11.5 this year while also maintaining the same output he had in rebounding. Consistent performance from these two down the stretch is going to be vital to this team's continued success.
PJ Dozier is Still a Freshman
I read on several sites, including our own, that PJ Dozier would be by far our best player this year. And, to be quite honest, I chuckled inside when I read these things. PJ Dozier is going to be a very good, if not great, basketball player by the end of his career here as a Gamecock. But our best player in his true freshman year? That's a little bit of unfair expectations if you ask me. Yes, PJ Dozier was a highly sought after recruit. Yes, PJ Dozier garnered high school All-American honors. But he was never going to be a "one and done" type of player. I'm not saying Dozier has played poorly. In fact, I would argue that he has dazzled at times. But he is still a freshman in the SEC and he has yet to dazzle for several possessions in a row, much less an entire game. Give him some time. I believe he will be a special player for us down the road. But to expect that out of him this season isn't right.
The Rise of Carrera
Four years ago when Michael Carrera arrived on campus nobody knew who he was. He quickly made a name for himself as a "scrapper" type. He was an athletic, high energy guy that grabbed an absurd amount of rebounds for a Division 1, 6'5'' power forward and scored all of his points on putbacks. Fast forward to this season and Carrera has developed into a complete player. No longer forced to play out of position in the post, Carrera has moved to the wing and flourished. With a 3 point shot now in his arsenal of weapons and playing with the same tenacity he had as a freshman, Carrera has become a legitimate multi-purpose threat on the court.
Frank is Having...Fun?
I didn't know that was possible. But I have seen more than once or twice this year where Frank Martin has smiled at a press conference or on the court. I think he even has cracked a joke or two with the media. Winning is fun, and you can see it on our head coach's face.
We're 16-1, guys. Life is good right now for our basketball teams here in Columbia, SC.