South Carolina will get a key piece of its men's basketball team back Sunday when it hosts Rider in a matinee game in Columbia, S.C.
The Gamecocks (4-1) are expected to see the season debut of standout wing Keyshawn Bryant.
The 6-foot-6 high-flying dunk specialist -- a preseason second-team All-SEC selection -- missed the first five games of the season due to a suspension resulting from a violation of athletic department policy.
However, Bryant has participated in practices throughout, but coach Frank Martin admitted he had to alter the offense a little for the Winter Haven, Fla., native, who is known for his slashing to the basket and elevated exploits.
"He brings a different dynamic to our team offensively from a wing perspective -- the athleticism where he can drive and slash and cut," Martin said. "We really don't have that right now. He brings that to the table.
"I'll have to tinker with some things to take advantage of his talents."
Bryant, a senior on a team with nine new players, is Martin's top returning scorer (14.4 points) and rebounder (5.4).
Washington transfer Erik Stevenson poured in 25 points in South Carolina's most recent outing Tuesday, an 85-74 win over Wofford.
Rider (3-4) is coming off an 85-79 win over Bucknell in the Cancun Challenge Mayan Division consolation game in Riviera Maya, Mexico.
Mervin James led the Broncs with 23 points and added six rebounds in the win, which snapped the squad's three-game losing streak and evened its season series with Bucknell at 1-1.
That allowed head coach Kevin Baggett and Rider to come back home with the good feeling of being victorious -- something the coach said was necessary.
"We knew we needed to have this game," said Baggett. "We went in at halftime and said we needed to do whatever we needed to do to win. If that was blocking out, block out harder. If it was diving on a loose ball, we had do a better job."
In the end, the best option was getting the ball to James, a 6-7 big man from St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands.
"We went inside to Mervin," Baggett said of James, who played two seasons at North Alabama and was an All-Atlantic Sun Second Team selection as a sophomore.
James was 8 of 14 from the field and recorded three steals.
--Field Level Media