South Carolina guard Damien Leonard announced he would transfer from the university in late April. On Tuesday night, the former Gamecock returned home to Greenville, S.C. signing with Furman University.
“We are very excited to have Damien join our program,” Furman head coach Niko Medved said in a school statement on Tuesday. “He is a homegrown player with proven talent. We believe that having a year to redshirt will allow Damien to develop his full potential as a player and allow him to have a major impact for Furman basketball.”
Leonard along with three other South Carolina teammates — Brian Richardson and Eric Smith and RJ Slawson — asked for and were granted their releases from the university following this season. The 6-foot-4 Leonard played for two different coaches in his time in a Gamecock uniform. He started in 20 of 31 games, averaging 6.8 points and 1.4 rebounds as a freshman under head coach Darrin Horn. This past year, playing for Frank Martin, Leonard saw his points and minutes dip.
The Greenville, S.C. native now returns home to finish his collegiate career. He shined at J.L. Mann High School, scoring 22.4 points, 6.5 rebounds and 2.0 assists as a senior. Coming out of high school, Leonard had multiple high-major offers from Arizona, Kansas, Kentucky, Texas and Oklahoma State, before committed to South Carolina in September 2010, according to Rivals.com.
Furman adds Leonard to its incoming class along with William Gates Jr. — son of the star of the documentary Hoop Dreams — who signed with the Paladins on May 9.
Leonard will have to sit out next season due to NCAA transfer rules. He will have two years of eligibility remaining, beginning with the 2014-2015 season.
Furman finished 7-24 (3-15 Southern Conference) this past season.