The South Carolina Gamecocks men's basketball team represents the University of South Carolina and competes in the Southeastern Conference (SEC). The Gamecocks won Southern Conference titles in 1927, 1933, 1934, and 1945, and then they attained national prominence under hall of fame coach Frank McGuire, posting a 205-65 record from 1967-1976, which included the 1970 Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC) championship, 1971 ACC Tournament title, and three NCAA Sweet 16 appearances. The program has also won the 1997 SEC championship, National Invitation Tournament (NIT) titles in 2005 and 2006, and a share of the 2009 SEC Eastern division title. Most recently, the Gamecocks won the 2017 NCAA East Regional Championship, reaching the Final Four for the first time in school history. South Carolina plays its home games at the 18,000-seat Colonial Life Arena.
South Carolina achieved a measure of regional prominence during its tenure in the Southern Conference, winning regular season championships in 1927, 1933, 1934, and 1945. The program also won the conference's tournament championship in 1933. During World War II, the basketball team's success was partially attributed to being assigned outstanding athletes by the U.S. Navy as part of the V-12 program. However, the Navy leaders kept the teams focus towards the war effort, and USC declined an invitation to the Southern Conference Tournament in 1944.
The hiring of Frank McGuire before the 1964-65 season propelled South Carolina to its most successful period to date. McGuire's 16-year tenure was highlighted by an undefeated ACC regular season in 1970, an ACC Tournament championship in 1971, and three consecutive Sweet 16 appearances from 1971 to 1973. USC also posted a 69-16 overall record from 1968 to 1971, and John Roche won consecutive ACC Player of the Year Awards (1969–1970). In November 1968, the Gamecocks began playing at the 12,401 seat Carolina Coliseum, which became known as the "House that Frank Built." The success South Carolina achieved on the court brought resentment and anger from fellow ACC schools, especially those on "Tobacco Road," as the conference members of the state of North Carolina were known. The hostility of the road crowds, the unfriendly behavior of coaches and athletic directors in the conference, and the discrepancies in eligibility standards led McGuire to support South Carolina becoming an Independent before the 1971-72 season.
As an Independent, the program gradually declined, and the University sought entrance into an athletic conference. This proved problematic because most conferences required schools to have a single athletic director, and South Carolina had multiple directors at the time. McGuire served as Athletic Director for the basketball program, and he would not relinquish his position. The University made several attempts to obtain McGuire's resignation, but ultimately honored his contract through 1980. McGuire finished with a 283-142 overall record at South Carolina and continues to be held in high regard by Gamecock fans. His six consecutive 20-win seasons from 1969 to 1974, which produced a 137-33 record, remain the benchmark for USC Basketball.
In 1983, the University became affiliated with the Metro Conference. The basketball program was placed on probation by the NCAA in the spring of 1987 for two years because of recruiting violations and the sale of complimentary player tickets. From 1987 to 1991, George Felton led the Gamecocks to an 87-62 overall record, which included a 1989 NCAA Tournament appearance and a 1991 NIT berth. For three of Felton's five seasons (1987–1989), Tubby Smith served as an assistant coach before leaving to join Rick Pitino's staff at Kentucky. South Carolina joined the SEC before the 1992 season and initially struggled, posting a combined 20-35 record in 1992 and 1993.
Eddie Fogler was hired away from Vanderbilt before the 1994 season and within a few years returned the Gamecocks to respectability. Under Fogler, South Carolina posted an impressive 66-28 record (34-14 SEC) during the 1996-1998 stretch, which included the school's first SEC championship in 1997. The 1997 Gamecocks posted a 15-1 record in SEC play and defeated league rival Kentucky twice, but lost in the First Round of the NCAA Tournament. Fogler stepped down after the 2001 campaign, going 123-117 in eight seasons as the Gamecocks' head coach. His tenure included two NCAA Tournament appearances (1997, 1998) and two NIT appearances (1996, 2001). Fogler retired as one of the most successful head coaches in SEC Basketball history, having won regular season conference championships at both Vanderbilt and South Carolina.
Subsequent coach Dave Odom posted four 20-win seasons during his tenure at South Carolina. He led the Gamecocks to an appearance in the 2004 NCAA Tournament and consecutive NIT championships in 2005 and 2006. Odom's tenure also saw USC begin play at the 18,000 seat Colonial Life Arena during the 2002-2003 season. Following the 2007-2008 campaign, Odom resigned with a 128-104 overall record at USC.
On April 1, 2008, Darrin Horn was named the new head basketball coach at USC. In his first season, Horn led the Gamecocks to a 21-10 record (10-6 SEC), two victories over Kentucky, and a share of the 2009 SEC Eastern Division title. After a 10-21 campaign in 2011-12, his third straight losing season, Horn was fired on March 13, 2012, finishing his tenure at Carolina with a 60-63 overall record and a 23-45 mark in the SEC.
Frank Martin came to USC from Kansas State, where he had enjoyed five winning seasons and four NCAA Tournament appearances, including an Elite Eight appearance with the Wildcats in 2010. After losing records in his first two seasons with the Gamecocks, he achieved a winning season in 2015, then reached the NIT in 2016, and then broke through into the 2017 NCAA Tournament, the program's first appearance in the event since 2004. On March 17, 2017, USC achieved its first NCAA Tournament victory since 1973 with a 20-point win over the Marquette Golden Eagles. Two nights later, the Gamecocks upset the #2 seed Duke Blue Devils to advance to the Sweet 16. South Carolina then beat #3 seed Baylor Bears to advance to their first-ever Elite 8, two days later they upset Florida to advance to their first ever Final Four.
The Gamecocks have appeared in the NCAA Tournament nine times. Their combined record is 8–9.
The Gamecocks have appeared in the National Invitation Tournament (NIT) 11 times. Their combined record is 22–9. They were NIT champions in 2005 and 2006.1927 SoCon (season) – South Carolina went 14-4 overall and 9-1 in Southern Conference play.
1933 SoCon (season & tournament) – South Carolina posted a 17-2 record (4-1 SoCon) and won the Southern Conference tournament.
1934 SoCon (season) – South Carolina went 18-1 overall and 6-0 in Southern Conference play.
1945 SoCon (season) – South Carolina went 19-3 overall and 9-0 in Southern Conference play.
1970 ACC (season) – South Carolina went 25-3 overall and 14-0 in ACC play.
1971 ACC (tournament) – South Carolina posted a 23-6 overall record and defeated North Carolina for the ACC Tournament title.
1997 SEC (season & division) – South Carolina posted a 24-8 record (15-1 SEC) to win the SEC championship and Eastern Division title.
2009 SEC East (division) – South Carolina went 21-10 overall and 10-6 in SEC play to win a share of the SEC East title.
National Scoring LeaderGrady Wallace – 1957 (31.3 ppg)
Zam Fredrick – 1981 (28.9 ppg)
ACC Player of the YearJohn Roche – 1969, 1970
All-ACC First TeamGrady Wallace – 1957
Art Whisnant – 1962
Ronnie Collins – 1964
Skip Harlicka – 1968
John Roche – 1969, 1970, 1971
Tom Owens – 1970, 1971
All-ACC Second TeamGrady Wallace – 1956
Art Whisnant – 1960, 1961
Scott Ward – 1963
Gary Gregor – 1967, 1968
Jack Thompson – 1967
Frank Standard – 1968
Tom Owens – 1969
ACC Tournament Outstanding PlayerJohn Roche – 1971
Metro Conference Newcomer of the YearLinwood Moye – 1985
All-Metro First TeamJimmy Foster – 1984
All-Metro Second TeamLinwood Moye – 1986
Michael Foster – 1987
Darryl Martin – 1987
John Hudson – 1988, 1989
Jo Jo English – 1991
SEC Player of the YearSindarius Thornwell – 2017
SEC Rookie of the YearBJ McKie – 1996
SEC Coach of the YearDave Odom – 2004
SEC Defensive Player of the YearSam Muldrow – 2011
All-SEC First TeamLarry Davis – 1997
BJ McKie – 1997, 1998, 1999
Tre' Kelley – 2007
Devan Downey – 2008, 2009, 2010
Michael Carrera – 2016
Sindarius Thornwell - 2017
All-SEC Second TeamJamie Watson – 1993, 1994
Larry Davis – 1996
Melvin Watson – 1997, 1998
Tarence Kinsey – 2006
Dominique Archie – 2009
Zam Fredrick, Jr. – 2009
All-SEC Third TeamEmmitt Hall – 1993, 1994
Melvin Watson – 1996
Marijonas Petravičius – 2001
Jamel Bradley – 2002
Carlos Powell – 2004, 2005
Brandon Wallace – 2007
NIT Most Valuable PlayerCarlos Powell – 2005
Renaldo Balkman – 2006
Renaldo Balkman – New York Knicks, retired
Alex English – Denver Nuggets, retired; SEC Network color analyst
Mike Dunleavy, Sr. – Former head coach of the Los Angeles Clippers