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Oct. 14, 2011

October 14, 2011
Practice Highlights

COLUMBIA, S.C. – The official start of the 2011-12 college basketball season began Friday evening with teams across the country preparing for the start of the upcoming season. South Carolina head men’s basketball coach Darrin Horn led his team through an energy filled two-hour workout at the team’s practice facility on Friday. South Carolina will train through three weeks of practice prior to a Nov. 3 exhibition contest versus Kentucky Wesleyan.

Below are some general preseason notes on the 2011-12 season. Be sure to visit over the course of the next few weeks for updated information, photos, videos and interviews with the coaching staff and team.

Non-Conference Schedule
Contests against at least five teams that competed in the 2011 NCAA Tournament highlight the 2011-12 South Carolina men’s basketball non-conference schedule. South Carolina will host 11 non-conference contests at Colonial Life Arena, including one exhibition, the first two rounds of the Las Vegas Invitational, Providence in the Big East/SEC Challenge and Big Ten powerhouse Ohio State. The Gamecocks will face at least six teams that compiled 18 or more wins last season, including North Carolina, Southern California or UNLV, Clemson, Ohio State and Wofford, which all advanced to the NCAA Tournament. South Carolina is slated to face five BCS schools during the coming non-conference portion of the schedule.

Gamecocks To Compete In Las Vegas Invitational
South Carolina will compete in its first regular season tournament since the 2009-10 season this fall when it participates in the Las Vegas Invitational. The Gamecocks will host Tennessee State and Mississippi Valley State in Columbia before traveling to Las Vegas to play North Carolina and either Southern California or UNLV. The meeting between the Gamecocks and Tar Heels marks the first between the two former Southern and Atlantic Coast Conference rivals since the 1996-97 campaign.

Garnet And Black Welcome Three Newcomers
South Carolina signed freshmen Anthony Gill (Fr. – F – 6-8 – 235 – Charlotte, N.C. – Charlotte Christian School) and Damien Leonard (Fr. – G – 6-4 – 192 – Greenville, S.C. – J.L. Mann) and junior college transfer Brenton Williams (So. – G – 5-11 – 172 – Kissimmee, Fla. – Osceola/Santa Fe College) to join the squad for the 2011-12 season.

2012 SEC Tournament
The 2012 SEC Tournament returns to New Orleans, La., next spring, marking the third time the city has hosted the event. It will be the first time the tournament will be held at the New Orleans Arena. The SEC Basketball Tournament semifinals and championship game will be televised nationally on ABC, while the first two rounds of the event will be televised on the SEC Network.

2011 Big East/SEC Challenge
The University of South Carolina men’s basketball team will host Providence in the Big East/SEC Challenge in 2011. The Gamecocks will play host to the Friars on Thursday, Dec. 1, at Colonial Life Arena in Columbia. The Gamecocks and Friars have met seven previous times, with Providence holding a 4-3 edge in the series. Every game of the series has been played in the month of December. South Carolina won the most recent matchup between the two schools, a 68-67 road win on Dec. 6, 2007.