By Rixon Lane
South Carolina's defense has drawn plenty of attention during the 2014-15 season and for good reason. The Gamecocks held opponents under 60 points for five consecutive games during non-conference play.
However, fans may not realize what is happening on the offensive end.
The Gamecocks are, ever so quietly, putting on an assists clinic.
Through 13 games this season, South Carolina has 199 assists. With 17 games to go, the Gamecocks are on pace for 459 assists on the year after having 416 last season. South Carolina has not recorded back-to-back seasons with 400+ assists since the 2004-05 and 2005-06 seasons.
Leading the charge is Marcus Stroman, who has a team-leading 55 assists despite not starting a single game this season. Tyrone Johnson is second of the squad, having dished 50 assists through the first 13 games of the season.
South Carolina's ability to move the ball around has made the Gamecocks more multi-dimensional on offense. South Carolina has four players averaging double figures this season. Duane Notice leads the way with 12.7 per game, but Sindarius Thornwell (11.0 ppg), Johnson (10.2 ppg), and Laimonas Chatkevicius (10.0 ppg) aren't far behind.
The Gamecocks haven't had at least four players finish a season averaging over 10 points per game since 2009-10, when Devan Downey was shredding opponents to the tune of 22.5 points per game. South Carolina hasn't had a player average more than 15 per game since that season.
However, the 09-10 team went 15-16 overall and 6-10 in SEC play.
I'm betting that if you gave any of the Gamecocks the option of averaging 20 points per game, but finishing the season with a sub-.500 record, they'd all do the same thing.