Gamecock Men’s Basketball: Why Did This Team Not Meet Most Fans Expectations in 2020-2021

I remember back in October, I told all my friends, “guys, get excited about our mens basketball team, round of 32 lock”.

I look back at that statement and I keep asking myself how the team I thought would be very solid all year, turned out to be both wildly inconsistent and one of the worst teams in recent Gamecock basketball memory.

With the only real loss from the 2019-2020 team being Maik Kotsar, the expectation for guards AJ Lawson and Jermaine Couisnard to continue improving and the addition of Seventh Woods, how could I not have had those high expectations?

As a Gamecock fan I was hopeful, and now I wonder how I was so wrong.

First things first before I get into the reasons why, I need to address two major things. I will not be talking about the teams COVID-19 issues or the health of Coach Martin.

These are both obvious issues the team has had to deal with, but do not entirely excuse this team of every single loss this season.

With those 2 issues out of the way, let’s dig into the real issues this team went through this season.


If you’ve watched any game this year, what happens when Lawson, Bryant or most of the roster for that matter, doesn’t get their shots up early or at all?

The moment they touch the ball, it’s going up.

Whether it be a Couisnard non-heat check or an unnecessary Keyshawn Bryant mid-range jumpshot, if they don’t get touches, this offense will go stagnant, lack movement and whoever the Gamecocks happen to be playing, that team will likely go on a run, which usually happens at the end of the first or early second. 

Lack of Leadership

You figure a senior guard who played for a national championship winning team would provide some form of leadership. You would be wrong.

Everything Seventh Woods was expected to bring to the table this year, was not brought. On top of that, AJ Lawson still hasn’t taken that leap into becoming a leader, and no other player on the roster has a role that even remotely resembles a leader.

In college basketball, the two ways a player can be a leader are either by being vocal or from leading by example, and clearly nobody on this roster, YET, has either of those abilities.

Coach Martin’s Offense

This one is partially due to COVID. Coach Frank Martin’s offense is fairly complicated, and it stems from a fairly complicated defense.

The combination of not being able to practice most of December on top of the fact this team lacks a defensive anchor that Kotsar and Chris Silva filled the role of the previous 2 seasons, has created an offense where the key factor, a solid defense, is missing.

On top of all of this, the lack of a self creating player at any position limits the ability to both score at the end of the shot clock, as well as create any open threes in a consistent drive and kick offense.


Without a doubt, this team hasn’t lived up to expectations this year, but at least there are clear reasons why.

Hopefully, some player development can be had this offseason and accountability and leadership are created as well.

I would love nothing more than to see the Gamecocks playing in late March again soon, but it seems less than likely any time soon.

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