First-year South Carolina head men's basketball coach Frank Martin announced on Monday the Gamecocks' roster for the 2012-13 season, which features 10 returning players and four newcomers.
Returning for South Carolina will be sophomore guard Damien Leonard and classmate, forward Carlton Geathers, along with junior guards Bruce Ellington, Brian Richardson, Eric Smith and Brenton Williams. Also returning to the hardwood this fall is junior forward RJ Slawson, and senior forward Lakeem Jackson. Walk-ons, senior forward Alex Irwin and classmate, guard Shane Phillips will also return to the squad.
Martin welcomes four newcomers to the team this fall in his first signing class as head coach at Carolina. Laimonas Chatkevicius (Fr. - F - 6'11" - 230 - Klaipeda, Lithuania - South Kent School (Conn.)), Mindaugas Kacinas (Fr. - F - 6'7" - 2-5 - Klaipedos, Lithuania - Word of Life Fire Traditional School (Wichita, Kan.)), Michael Carrera (Fr. - F - 6'5" - 205 - Rockville, Md. - Montrose Christian) and LaShay Page (Sr. - G - 6'1" - 190 - Dillon, S.C. - Dillon/Chipola JC/Southern Mississippi) will all don the Garnet and Black beginning this fall.
Below is information on each newcomer, as well as a quote from Martin.
Laimonas Chatkevicius (Fr. - F - 6'11" - 255 - Klaipeda, Lithuania - South Kent School (Conn.))
Played his senior season at South Kent School for head coach Kelvin Jefferson ... A native of Klaipeda, Lithuania ... Came to the United States in the summer of 2009 to experience high school basketball before returning to his native country to play junior season ... Team member for Lithuania in the 2010 FIBA U17 World Championships in Hamberg, Germany, where he posted two points and three rebounds vs. the United States ... Helped Team Lithuania to a second-place finish in Group A behind Team USA ... Also played for club team Klaipedos SM as both a sophomore and junior in Lithuania where he averaged 5.5 points and 2.5 rebounds in four games in 2009-10 and 3.8 points and 5.8 rebounds in four games in 2010-11.
Martin on Chatkevicius
"Laimonas presents a young man with tremendous size and a very good skill set. He has an ability to pass and shoot the basketball with an understanding of how to play the game. He is someone, that as he continues to mature and learn how to rebound consistently, has a chance to become a special player in our program."
Mindaugas Kacinas (Fr. - F - 6'7" - 210 - Klaipeda, Lithuania - Word Of Life Fire Traditional School (Wichita, Kan.))
Averaged 23.6 points and 12.1 rebounds per game during senior season at Word of Life Fire Traditional School for head coach Ryan Hujing ... A native of Klaipeda, Lithuania ... A member of the Klaipedos Club Team while in Lithuania.
Martin on Kacinas
"Mindaugas is a young man with size that possesses a skill set like most European players. He is a player who can eventually become a full-time perimeter player with great length. As his defensive abilities improve, it will allow him to become that perimeter player."
Michael Carrera (Fr. - F - 6'5" - 212 - Rockville, Md. - Montrose Christian School)
Played for head coach Stu Vetter at Montrose Christian School ... Averaged 13.2 points and 12.2 rebounds during senior season ... Originally from Venezuela ... Regarded as a high energy player with great work ethic and hustle.
Martin on Carrera
"While only 6'5" in height, Michael is 7'2" in reach, which means he plays the game bigger than his listed height. He was coached by one of the great high school coaches in our country in Stu Vetter at Montrose Christian. Coach Vetter feels that Michael is as good a rebounder as he's ever coached, and that includes George Lynch and players of that caliber."
LaShay Page (Sr. - G - 6'1" - 195 - Dillon, S.C. - Dillon/Chipola JC/Southern Mississippi)
Spent the 2010-11 (sophomore) and 2011-12 (junior) seasons at Southern Miss for head coach Larry Eustachy ... As a sophomore, averaged 6.2 points and 2.1 rebounds, while recording seven double-figure scoring games ... During junior season, helped lead Golden Eagles to the NCAA Tournament, posting 11.6 points and 3.4 rebounds per game, with 32 starts on the year ... Southern Miss squad suffered a 70-64 loss to Frank Martin's Kansas State team in the NCAA Tournament in 2012 ... Spent 2009-10 season at Chipola Junior College in Marianna, Fla., where he averaged 14.7 points, 4.6 rebounds and 2.6 assists en route to earning Second-Team All-Panhandle Conference accolades ... Played at Dillon High School, where he earned all-state honors all four years ... Named All-State by the South Carolina High School Sports Report and was a four-time team MVP ... Also was an all-conference selection in football.
Martin on Page
"LaShay comes to us as the best player on a very good Southern Mississippi team where he was coached by Larry Eustachy. He understands what it takes to win, and to win at a high level. He is a player who will add tremendous experience, personality and talent to our basketball team."
24 - Michael Carrer - 6'5 freshman forward
14 - Laimonas Chatkevicius - 6'11 freshman forward
23 - Bruce Ellington - 5'9 junior guard
45 - Carlton Geathers - 6'10 sophomore forward
10 - Alex Irwin - 6'4 senior forward
30 - Lakeem Jackson - 6'5 senior small forward
25 - Mindaugas Kacinas - 6'7 freshman forward
32 - Damien Leonard - 6'2 sophomore guard
0 - LaShay Page - 6'2 senior guard
55 - Shane Phillips - 5'10 senior guard
2 - Brian Richardson - 6'4 junior guard
33 - RJ Slawson - 6'8 junior forward
5 - Eric Smith - 5'11 junior guard
1 - Brenton Williams - 5'11 junior guard