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NBA Draft Combine primer: Thornwell and Dozier look to make a mark

Two Gamecocks will head to Chicago today to try and standout among the best of the best

NCAA Basketball: Final Four-South Carolina vs Gonzaga Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports

It’s been a while since we’ve heard from the South Carolina Gamecocks basketball team — I’m sure some fans are still riding the high from South Carolina’s magical run to the Final Four.

Two of the key cogs in that run will head to Chicago’s Quest Multisport Facility to pit their basketball chops against 65 other collegiate stars hopeful of being taken in next month’s NBA Draft. Sindarius Thornwell and PJ Dozier are set to compete in strength and agility drills along with a series of 5-on-5 scrimmages starting Thursday and running through Friday.

Most of the buzz surrounding the combine is around who won’t be attending more so than who will be. College stars like Lonzo Ball, Malik Monk and Jayson Tatum are skipping the event entirely, but this isn’t a new story line. Last year’s combine the eventual top two picks Ben Simmons and Brandon Ingram both opted out, so it would be safe to assume skipping the combine isn’t going to ding the aforementioned player’s stock.

The absence of national star power probably benefits guys like Dozier and Thornwell in the end. Specifically Thornwell, who appears to be projected as a consensus second round pick, could really benefit from a solid combine performance to boost his stock.

Dozier on the other hand is a bit of a wildcard. In some mocks he goes as high as mid-first round and as low as mid-second round, so by that measure it doesn’t seem like even the internet draft heads can agree on where he should go. But it goes without saying a strong showing at the combine to could help create a consensus among scouts.

With some of those big stars sitting out the combine entirely and even more sitting out the 5-on-5 drills, it can only open up more room for Dozier and Thornwell to showcase their skill sets. Other stars who will test but not participate in 5-on-5 include Bam Adebayo, Caleb Swanigan, Josh Hart and Ivan Rabb.

As of right now, 41 players are slated to participate in 5-on-5 action including Thornwell and Dozier. The 5-on-5 drills are scheduled to take place Thursday and Friday, and ESPN2 is scheduled to cover Friday’s portion starting at 3 p.m. As of right now there’s no way of knowing whether or not Gamecock fans will get to see Thornwell or Dozier on Friday, but rest assured it’d be worth tuning in just in case.

The NBA Draft Lottery will take place soon after the combine on May 16, but the Draft itself won’t commence until June 22. Thornwell and Dozier will look to become the first Gamecock pair to be drafted since Alex English and Mike Dunleavy were taken in the second and sixth rounds respectively.