> A New Chapter of Gamecock Men’s Basketball is underway with first-year head coach Lamont Paris this season.
> Paris, who has been a part of nine NCAA Division I Tournaments and 17 twenty-win seasons as a college head and assistant coach, was named the University of South Carolina’s 33rd head coach by Director of Athletics Ray Tanner on Thursday, March 24, 2022.
> This new-look Gamecock squad features eight new players (four transfers and four freshman) headlined by standout freshman forward Gregory “GG” Jackson II, the highest rated recruit in program history (recruit rankings started in early 2000s). He joined former Carolina standout PJ Dozier (2015-17) as the only five-star signees in program history.
> Jackson II is currently one of two freshmen in the country averaging at least 15.5 points and 6.5 rebounds per game. Alabama’s Brandon Miller (19.8 points, 8.3 rebounds) is the only other player on the list. Jackson’s 15.9 points per game average is fifth-most nationally amongst freshmen (through games played Jan. 22).
> Meechie Johnson, who had a career-high 26 points to go along with six rebounds and six assists in a 71-68 win at Rupp Arena over Kentucky (Jan. 10), became the first South Carolina player with 25 points, five rebounds and five assists in a game since Gamecock great Sindarius Thornwell (25 points, eight rebounds and six assists) on March 4, 2017 at Ole Miss.
> Florida is led by do-it-all big man, Colin Castleton. The 6-11, 250-pound, fifth-year player leads the team in points (14.8), rebounds (7.8), blocks (3.1) and steals (1.1) per game. His 3.1 blocks per game are third in the country.
> The Gators have won four of their last five games in league action and are fresh off a 61-59 win at Mississippi State (Jan. 21).
> First-year head coach Todd Golden is 4-0 so far this season against fellow first-year coaches in the SEC.
> It’s another test for South Carolina against a solid defensive team as Florida ranks 13th in the nation in defensive efficiency via KenPom.
SHOWING UP AT RUPP
> The Gamecocks shocked Big Blue Nation with a 71-68, wire-to-wire victory on Jan. 10 thanks to a career-high 26 points from Meechie Johnson (6-of-10 from 3). It was Carolina’s first win at Rupp Arena since 2009 and just its third all-time since joining the SEC in 1992. Lamont Paris joined Eddie Fogler (1997) and Darrin Horn (2009) as the only Gamecock head coaches all-time to win in the historic building. The…