The start of practice is still four days away, yet South Carolina is already down a player.
The school announced on Monday that sophomore guard Ramon Galloway is out 4-6 weeks after suffering a right forefoot fracture on Saturday. The details of the accident were not given, saying that coach Darrin Horn would discuss it on Thursday during his Media Day press conference, but that it was a non-basketball occurrence.
The Gamecocks are starting team practice on Friday and their first game is an exhibition hosting Kentucky Wesleyan on Nov. 4. The regular season begins with a Nov. 12 game hosting Elon, with a trip to treacherous Michigan State on Nov. 16.
Judging strictly from the calendar, from the time of the injury, Galloway could potentially return on Nov. 6 (four weeks). If he were to be out six weeks, he could return by Nov. 20, which would eliminate another game (Nov. 19 hosting Radford) but possibly be ready for a Nov. 23 home date with USC Upstate.
But it seems that Galloway will likely miss most if not all of preseason camp, although as Horn has pointed out in the past, everyone heals differently. The Gamecocks, seeking the right mix of a group featuring several new faces, will be without one of their most experienced players.
Galloway was expected to be the team's starting two-guard, after a solid freshman year where he averaged 7.8 points, 2.5 rebounds, 1.2 assists, 0.5 steals and 21.5 minutes. He came on strong at the end of last season, scoring in double figures in three of his last four games, including 21 points in a loss to Alabama during USC's final home game.
Without him, the Gamecocks are now looking for replacements at each guard spot.
Freshman Bruce Ellington seems a natural to slide into the point, possessing the speed and quickness to get the ball downcourt on the fast break, and he is backed up by another freshman, Eric Smith. With Galloway gone indefinitely, the two-guard spot could turn to a third freshman, Brian Richardson.
The only other guard on the roster is sophomore Stephen Spinella, who has the necessary shooting skill to play the spot but struggles to create his own shot and has been hesitant to drive the lane. One option might be to count on the athleticism of two tweener guard-forwards in Malik Cooke and Lakeem Jackson, who are each expected to start anyway.
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