19. South Carolina Gamecocks
Considering how vital Sindarius Thornwell was to the run that the South Carolina Gamecocks went on in March Madness, it’s hard to imagine that they’re going to be able to replicate the same type of success as he graduates. And, frankly, that’s the truth of the matter. Thornwell was their best scorer, the heart of their suffocating defense and just the overall leader in the locker room that inspired the rest of the Gamecocks to be as great as they were.
If you’re expecting another trip to the Final Four for South Carolina next season, you’re going to be in for a rude awakening. However, they’re also going to get the respect that they still deserve finally. Frank Martin has built a nice program and remains one hell of a coach. And outside of losing Thornwell, the Gamecocks have a number of key contributors that will be able to return and step into that leadership role.
Sophomores P.J. Dozier and Chris Silva were both huge behind Thornwell this pas season. They defend extremely well and are both capable of scoring. What’s more Maik Kostar showed real promise in the tournament when the freshman stepped up to help the Gamecocks go on their run. With all of these players growing together under Martin, the loss of Thornwell may not hurt quite as much as expected.