Mississippi South Carolina Basketball

Wing TeMarcus Blanton becomes South Carolina’s second 2014 commit

Leave a comment

South Carolina head coach Frank Martin welcomes seven freshmen to the program this season as he looks to turn the Gamecocks into a formidable program in the SEC. One of the most important steps in making that happen is to not only bring in players, but to bring in players capable of making an impact upon their arrival.

On Sunday the head coach received a verbal commitment from 2014 wing TeMarcus Blanton, who made his decision after officially visiting the school this weekend. Blanton, who joins point guard Marcus Stroman as 2014 verbal commitments for the South Carolina program, was expected to visit George Mason and Auburn this fall according to Will Gunter of 247Sports.com. With his decision to verbally commit to South Carolina, it doesn’t look as if Blanton will be making those trips.

According to Blanton, he informed the head coach of his decision while they were out at dinner during his official visit.

“We were at dinner and once I told them, their faces just brightened up,” Blanton told TheBigSpur.com on Sunday night. “It was kind of wild, they were real happy. Coach Martin’s wife was there and that was the first time she saw a player commit to her husband and she was really excited.”

Blanton, who hails from Locust Grove, Ga. and attends Luella High School, averaged 14.6 points, 6.2 rebounds and 2.3 steals per game last season, helping to lead his team to its first-ever state tournament appearance. He’ll join a full rotation of wings at South Carolina, with the Gamecocks adding three freshmen in Sindarius Thornwell, Duane Notice and Justin McKie. But if any program that’s struggled is to make a move back towards respectability, there’s a need for competition amongst the players in the program.

South Carolina didn’t have that kind of depth last season and it was evident, as they finished the season 4-14 in SEC play (14-18 overall). With their many newcomers joining returnees such as forward Michael Carrera and guard Brenton Williams (Bruce Ellington will be a factor as well), there’s a good chance that Blanton will be joining an improved program in 2014.

Gonzaga’s NCAA tournament chances take a major blow in loss to No. 16 SMU

SMU guard Nic Moore (11) shoots over Gonzaga forward Kyle Wiltjer (33) during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game, Saturday, Feb. 13, 2016, in Dallas. (AP Photo/Jim Cowsert)
(AP Photo/Jim Cowsert)
1 Comment

Nic Moore scored 18 of his 25 points in the second half and added 11 assists as No. 16 SMU knocked off Gonzaga in Moody Coliseum on Saturday night, 69-60.

The Zags got 20 points and 16 boards from Domantas Sabonis, but Kyle Wiltjer scored just four points and shot 2-for-17 from the floor.

It wasn’t pretty.

And it may have been the end of Gonzaga’s NCAA tournament hopes.

Entering Saturday, the Zags had an RPI in the mid-60s, enough to keep them in the bubble conversation but not enough to make them anything more than a team that will be projected to end up on the cut-line.

The issue is a complete lack of quality wins on their résumé. Gonzaga beat UConn in the Bahamas. That’s a borderline top 50 win. They beat Washington, another borderline top 50 win. Beyond that? They swept Pepperdine, beat Tennessee and own a win over Montana. None of those are top 100 wins, and that’s why the SMU game was such a big deal. The Mustangs are a top 25 team. This was a road game. This win was the kind of thing that the Zags could pin at the top of their profile.

But Wiltjer didn’t show up, the Zags had no answer for Moore and they’ll head back to Spokane needing, in all likelihood, to win the WCC’s automatic bid if they want to dance.

POSTERIZED: Cal’s Jaylen Brown has his dunk contest entry

California's Jaylen Brown lays up a shot against Oregon State in the second half of an NCAA college basketball game Saturday, Feb. 13, 2016, in Berkeley, Calif. (AP Photo/Ben Margot)
Leave a comment

Cal picked up a big win over Oregon State in Haas Pavilion on Saturday night, and the exclamation point was this emphatic dunk from Jaylen Brown: