Henry: Gamecocks on 'edge of something great'
Micaiah Henry’s year didn’t go the way he or likely the coaches envisioned it going.
The graduate transfer didn’t get much playing time in his final year of eligibility, but what he did get was a first hand look at what the Gamecocks are building for the next few years to come.
“It’s meant a lot to have this experience. Being a part of the team and playing a role and push everyone to be better any way I can,” Henry said. “It’s something I’ve always done. This is a little different. But I see these guys are on the edge of something great and I just hope they get to experience that. Anything I can do to help them get there, I’ll do.”
Henry played in just one game this year, scoring one point and hauling in eight rebounds but, even though he didn’t play in many games, was at practice every day to see how the team operated on a daily basis.
What he saw in practice every day was a talented group of young players flying around.
He saw the likes of AJ Lawson and Keyshawn Bryant and Trae Hannibal and Jermaine Couisnard and many others make play after play in practice.
The talent was obvious—it was reflected in an 18-win season where the Gamecocks finished sixth in the SEC—but what impressed him most was how well the team operated off the court as well.
“Obviously, these guys are talented. They’re long, athletic, the whole nine. It’s really been more about the intangibles and how everyone’s meshed together as a team and everyone buys in and how they’ve been able to focus and grow and develop, even at their young age,” Henry said. “A lot of guys on the team are freshmen and sophomores. It’s been nice to see how they’ve grown and rose to the challenge all year.”
The Gamecocks were 325th out of 353 teams in Division I basketball in terms of experience with an average of 1.08 years of experience.
With a relatively young core—only two upperclassmen saw significant minutes in Maik Kotsar and Jair Bolden—the Gamecocks still won double-digit conference wins for the fourth time in five years.
Outside of Kotsar and Henry, the Gamecocks are scheduled to return everyone else on the roster, pending any decisions about going pro or transferring. Even if AJ Lawson does ultimately go pro, the Gamecocks would still return three of their five leading scorers and lose just two of their top-10 minute getters.
“Where I’m at right now, am I disappointed right now in some losses this year? Of course I am. But I’m overly optimistic about what’s in place,” Martin said near the end of the regular season. “I’m overly optimistic with the fact we’ve become a better team since the season’s gone on. I’m excited about the fact we’re in the top half of our league.”
Along with their returners, the Gamecocks are set to bring in two three-star big men in Ja’Von Benson and Patrick Iriel.