The Gamecocks are losing a trio of guards who are playing their final home games tomorrow, one of which has done very well for himself in Columbia. While highly-touted Delaware transfer Kory Holden should help in the scoring department in 2017-18, fans will be looking for guys like PJ Dozier and Chris Silva to take the leap and become primary role players as Sindarius Thornwell (and, to some extent, Duane Notice) depart.
But it wouldn’t hurt to add a little more scoring punch. That’s where Columbia product and Texas guard Tevin Mack comes in. Mack initially signed with VCU in November 2014, but after Shaka Smart was hired as Rick Barnes’ replacement, he was granted his release and followed Smart to Austin. After a slow start to his career (5.3 ppg in 33 games in 2015-16), he broke through this season - but he just couldn’t stay on the right side of the rulebook. Smart and the program finally ended up granting him a release after having lost patience with him. (We’ll have to double-check what his status will be next season and if he will be eligible right away)
During Mack’s sophomore season, he took a big leap offensively and defensively, drawing the assignment of the best perimeter player and leading the team in scoring at the time of his suspensions at 14.8 points per game.
His three-point shooting and unshakeable confidence were both major assets for a team struggling in both of those areas.
However, his suspension in January was the second this season — Mack missed the start of the season due to a violation of team rules — and his relationship with Smart clearly frayed.
Mack’s a good player. He’ll make any team he goes to better. The fit is there if he wants to come to South Carolina: the program recruited him heavily a couple of years ago before ultimately losing out to VCU. He also played his high school ball in Columbia, recording nearly 30 points a game as a senior. 247’s 2014 rankings had him as a borderline four-star recruit and the #2 player in the state behind - guess who? - PJ Dozier.
We also know Frank Martin’s non-discriminatory lack of tolerance for those that break the rules, which is the same for bench contributors/reserves (Eric Cobb, Jamall Gregory, Marcus Stroman) and big minute stars (Sindarius Thornwell) alike. Mack will be on a very short leash at his next destination and certainly at South Carolina. Keep in mind that he’s been suspended not once, but twice, and any plans to play in his hometown will be proceeded by a nice, long conversation with Martin about keeping himself out of trouble. That’s unless he wants the same fate that befell him at Texas to play out once more here.
Regardless, Tevin Mack’s going to get a second chance somewhere. Whether that second chance lands him back home remains to be seen.
Our Twitter poll thus far is leaning heavily toward giving him another chance. What do you think? Vote in our poll below and leave a comment.