gamecocks mens basketball

AJ Lawson led the Gamecocks against Florida with 22 points (UAA Communications photo by Alex de la Osa)

Football coach Shane Beamer had a successful week adding four more recruits Wednesday on National Signing Day and filling out his staff Friday with a running backs coach. Beamer added four defensive players to his recruiting class by signing previously-committed prospects DE TJ Sanders and LB Kolbe Fields, and previously-uncommitted prospects CB La’Dareyen Craig and junior college LB Tavareon Martin-Scott. The national rankings for the class is in the 70s, but those do not account for the players Beamer signed out of the NCAA Transfer Portal. Seven of the 20 new recruits played for other colleges last season. And there could be another coming from the portal. Beamer has one spot left in the class and he’s offered former Navy cornerback BJ Gibson.

As for his staff, Beamer announced the hiring of Montario Hardesty Friday as his running backs coach. Hardesty was the running backs coach at Charlotte. He played collegiately at Tennessee. Hardesty replaces Des Kitchings, who left last week for the Falcons. In all, Beamer hired 14 coaches to get to his final 10. He retained Kitchings, Mike Bobo, Tracy Rocker and Mike Peterson from the previous staff, and hired Will Friend as offensive line coach. Bobo, Rocker and Friend all left for Auburn.

On the hardwood, the Gamecocks men’s team sprang back to live with an upset win at Florida Wednesday night 72-66. That was just their second win in their last five games and it came following a dreadful performance in a loss at Vanderbilt. The Gamecocks have plenty of work to do to get back into the conversation for the NCAA Tournament, but there is time. They are 5-6 overall and 3-4 in the SEC and will play Mississippi State in Columbia Saturday afternoon.

The women are set for a huge showdown Monday night at Connecticut, and they could be the consensus number one team in the country. They moved up to #1 in the USA Today Coaches Poll earlier this week. They are #2 in the AP ranking but Louisville’s loss to #4 NC State this week opens the door for the Gamecocks to move to #1 when the new poll comes out Monday. This week the Gamecocks easily dispatched Alabama 87-63 and Auburn 77-58. They are now 15-1 overall and 10-0 in the SEC and have won 26 straight SEC regular season games.

The baseball team has gone through its first week of pre-season practice without major issues. The Gamecocks did announce they will play a three game series at Texas in mid-March. They open the regular season at home against Dayton in two weeks. And the softball team was ranked 19th in the pre-season coaches poll. The Gamecocks were 17-6 last season when play was stopped due to the pandemic.

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