I was originally planning on writing an article solely highlighting the play of some during the Mississippi State game, a win, but recency bias got the best of me.
Although the Gamecocks secured a much-needed win for their tournament resumé last Tuesday, they completely erased that game from existence in my mind with how they played against Vanderbilt, who were 2-15 in the SEC coming into the contest.
I am guilty of writing in a victory before the game started, setting my sights on the SEC Tournament, but the team wasn’t supposed to think that way.
It was supposed to be Justin Minaya’s comeback party, a little tuneup before things start to matter again, but nope, all hope was lost, and South Carolina’s bubble popped.
Because of that mishap, the Cocks will play the winner of Vanderbilt vs. Arkansas with close to nothing on the line.
I really shouldn’t be commending anyone this week, but here we go...
Player of the Week: Maik Kotsar
As far as his standards go, this wasn’t a week for him to remember, but he still led the team in scoring against the Bulldogs and continued to be this team’s closer.
He also contributed two blocks to the cause against Vanderbilt.
That’s all the positives I have to say.
Weirdly for Kotsar, his money mid-range shot was off in both games, and it took him 22 shot to break 20 points in their first game of the week.
He also fouled out against Vanderbilt with a stat line that included three turnovers.
Considering this is what everyone is looking up to for this week, you can conclude how poor the level of play was over the last two games.
Runner-up: Keyshawn Bryant
He’s probably the guy that I would say most confidently didn’t let his team down.
No part of his game screamed “failure” to me as he continued to shoot the ball at a good percentage, have team-best rebounding numbers and protect the rim.
Because this is somehow an accomplishment for this team too, Bryant only missed one of eight shots from the charity stripe this whole week.
His inside game is really getting there, and, more importantly, he never got in foul trouble. As basketball goes, your team usually wins when you put your best players out on the court, and he has never been to blame in that department.
We will close this discussion on a high note as we watch a beautiful course of events orchestrated by Bryant, which only adds to the reasons why he’s so valuable to this team.
Honorable Mention: A.J. Lawson
It’s really been a rough season for Lawson with his name being on this list far less than it should have, but I want to just give him credit for his slight of hand.
Although, his pure defensive game isn’t the best, he makes up for it in the steal department.
Lawson stole the ball three times against Mississippi State and even had a few attempts that came close to being steals as well.
The lead did evaporate rather quickly, but he was a big reason why South Carolina had the lead in the first place.
In the Vanderbilt game, Lawson again had a steal, but he shot 2-for-8 with four turnovers and four fouls.
I’m sure he would like to forget the second game with most of his teammates likely feeling the same way...