South Carolina MBB hosting two top transfer portal targets. Here’s what we know

As South Carolina men’s basketball kept winning this season, folks wanted to know the secret.

No one goes from 11 victories one year to nearly winning the SEC regular-season title and cruising into the NCAA Tournament the next. Was it all because of coach Lamont Paris? Was it the in-your-face defense? The 3-point shooting success? Truth is: It was a mix of everything. But you must to acknowledge that Paris and his staff hit a home run in the transfer portal.

Starting point guard Meechie Johnson transferred in from Ohio State in 2022. The Gamecocks’ best 3-point marksman, guard Ta’Lon Cooper, came in from Minnesota the past offseason. And starting forward BJ Mack, the biggest transfer win, came in from Wofford.

Now, all three of those guys are gone. Cooper and Mack ran out of eligibility, and Johnson did the rare transfer-back, choosing to again play for Ohio State.

The Gamecocks’ quest for reinforcements began just over a week ago, when four-star Lexington High product Cam Scott flipped from Texas to South Carolina, a versatile 6-foot-5 wing who can start right away. A few days later, USC brought in Missouri transfer Jordan Butler, a 7-foot big man from Greenville who played sparingly as a college freshman but gives the Gamecocks immediate depth in the front-court.

To replace Johnson at point guard, The State confirmed the Gamecocks are hosting La Salle transfer Jhamir Brickus this week. As a senior at La Salle, the 5-11, 205-pound Pennsylvania product averaged nearly 14 points and five assists a game while shooting 40% from beyond the arc.

South Carolina’s top target in the transfer portal this offseason is forward Nick Pringle from Alabama, a program source said.

A native of Seabrook, South Carolina, Pringle began his college career at Wofford in 2020 before spending a season at Dodge City Community College in Kansas.

He was ranked as the No. 2 junior college prospect when he signed with Alabama and coach Nate Oats in 2022. He was a role player his first year in Tuscaloosa, playing just over eight minutes a game, but he turned into one of the Tide’s most-important pieces as they won 25 games this past season and advanced to the Final Four.

The 6-10, 230-pound forward averaged nearly seven points and five rebounds a game in 2023-24, shooting 62% from the field while starting in about half of the Tide’s games.

Pringle will be in Columbia on Friday through Sunday for an official visit, the source told The State. The same person indicated that Pringle wants to make his commitment “really soon” and that he’s also likely to visit Kansas State and Florida State. With the fluidity of the transfer portal, Pringle could always add or drop a visit pretty quickly.

If Pringle does commit to the Gamecocks, it would give South Carolina one of the best front-courts in the SEC. He’d likely start at center, with sophomore Collin Murray-Boyles — who blossomed into an elite big man toward the end of conference play — starting at forward and Butler able to rotate for either one of them.