South Carolina On Their Mind

By Jeff Lippman - October 25, 2007

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. -- South Carolina coach Dave Odom didn't have a very deep team last year, and after losing three starters from that team, you'd think this year would be much of the same. But seven newcomers make things better, especially when three of those newcomers have played Division I basketball before.

Branden Conrad averaged 18 points and five assists in his last season at the Naval Academy, Zam Fredrick averaged 10.6 points at Georgia Tech and transfer of the year Devan Downey poured in 12.3 points and 4.1 dimes at Cincinnati.

Three D-I transfers who all scored in double figures at their respective former schools is not something you see a program find very often. But all these players had good reasons for coming to Columbia...for two of them, it was like coming home.

"Two of them (Downey and Fredrick) are obviously local kids," coach Dave Odom explained. "We recruited both of them coming out of high school and for the most part finished second on both of them.

"There are a lot of reasons for transfers and in their case, both of them experienced a fair measure of success while they were gone. But in Devan's case, they had a coaching change there and that made it convenient to come back. And Zam's situation, with his dad having been a graduate, he's always wanted to go here, it just didn't work out coming out of high school. The situations evolved, we had the scholarships available and we wanted them back so it worked out."

And as far as Conrad, well according to senior guard/forward Dwayne Day, the Charlotte, N.C. native had some family members go to both USC and Clemson. But since most went to Clemson, Day said Conrad wanted to go in the other direction.

Day is extremely excited to be getting the services of the transfers, admitting that they will help the Gamecocks out in so many areas including speed, quickness and depth.

"With Devan coming in, it adds quickness to our team, someone who can penetrate the lane and kick it out to our shooters and also score as well," Day said. "And Zam is kinda the same way as well. Those guys will help us out a whole lot this year because we are going to be a lot more of a quick team this year."

Day has been most impressed with the leadership skills that Downey has to offer coming from a top program like the Bearcats.

"He's going to get a lot of buckets this year," said the senior captain. "He was named the top transfer in the nation coming in so that proves a lot right there.

"The guy's got a lot of heart, he just wants to come in and win games. That takes a lot off my back as well as far as being a leader. I'm the only senior and with him having that type of mindset it is going to help us out a whole lot."

Posted by Jeff Lippman at 12:46 PM on October 25, 2007
Comments (1)


It should be noted that those 18 points & 5 assists from Conrad came while he was on the JV team.

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