Hale McGranahan/SEC Country
Chris Silva should play a big role for the Gamecocks next season

How the Gamecocks’ No. 6 finish affects recruiting, expectations for next season

Welcome to SEC Country’s Chicken & Waffles, your daily dish for all things South Carolina Gamecocks football, basketball and more. Miss a previous edition? Find every edition of SEC Country’s South Carolina Gamecocks Chicken & Waffles right here.

On the heels of their first-ever Final Four, the Gamecocks wrapped up the 2016/17 season with their highest Top 25 finish ever, coming in at No. 6.

As seniors Sindarius Thornwell, Duane Notice and Justin McKie (and likely sophomore PG PJ Dozier) leave the program, it’s critical South Carolina strike while the iron’s hot coming off this Final Four run. In the short term in 2017 and moving further into the future.

With 2017 Top 150 G David Beatty and second-team All-CAA G Kory Holden joining the fold, the Gamecocks have a chance to maintain momentum heading into next season – especially with talented bigs Chris Silva and Maik Kotsar returning.

Though they may not reach the heights of the 2016-17 squad, an NCAA Tournament berth is most certainly attainable for the Frank Martin-led bunch next season.

Zion Williamson-South Carolina Gamecocks
A commitment from Zion Williamson could mean big things for the future of South Carolina hoops (Hale McGranahan/SEC Country)

In the midst of courting top 2018 prospect Zion Williamson, the Gamecocks are hoping to parlay sustained success and a Top-6 finish in 2017 into a pledge from the talented Palmetto State native.

Securing a commitment from Williamson would mean more than a major talent boost in 2018, it would signal the Gamecocks’ arrival as a recruiting force in the basketball world.

Thornwell snubbed

Stop me if you’ve heard this one before, a South Carolina player was snubbed in offseason honors!

Look, I know it isn’t really “South Carolina vs. The World”, but Sindarius Thornwell more than earned his place on the All-Tournament team – and yet, he was nowhere to be found when the team was announced on Tuesday…

South Carolina fans, and some basketball fans in general, were quite displeased with Thornwell’s snub, believing the senior earned his spot in every statistical category…

Lady Gamecocks draw a crowd

Remember when folks were worried that UConn missing out on the women’s basketball championship game would cause a major dip in ratings?

Turns out it was all for naught…

Gone to the league

According to a report from the AP’s Doug Feinberg, juniors Kaela Davis and Allisha Gray will forego their senior years and enter the WNBA draft.

The duo have until Saturday to decide whether or not to move forward with their decisions.

RELATED: South Carolina women’s basketball reportedly losing two to WNBA Draft 

Both players arrived to USC via transfer, Davis coming from Georgia Tech with Gray transferring from North  Carolina. The two combined to average more than 25 points per game for the Gamecocks this season, both playing key roles in the team’s run to the national championship.

Bentley > Eason?

At least one ESPN analyst would take the Gamecocks’ quarterback over his counterpart at UGA…

The former Alabama quarterback tabbed Bentley as the SEC East’s top returning signal-caller. McElroy pointed to Bentley’s vision at the line of scrimmage and downfield accuracy as being a notch above his division peers.

Tebow on Muschamp, Bentley

Tim Tebow
Tebow is set to start the season with the New York Mets’ Single-A affiliate in Columbia

Former Florida Gators quarterback and current Columbia Fireflies outfielder Tim Tebow had nothing but good things to say about his neighbors in the Famously Hot city…

“I think he is a special defensive coach. I think he is a lot better at being a head coach. There’s differences when you go from defensive coordinator to head coach,” Tebow said of Gamecocks head coach Will Muschamp. “I think he’s learning on the job. I think he had some really good seasons at Florida. I think he was able to learn from some of the highs and lows and continued to develop a really good defense.”

RELATED: Tim Tebow talks South Carolina, Will Muschamp, Jake Bentley 

The Heisman Trophy winner’s praise didn’t end there. Tebow had a glowing review of QB Jake Bentley’s freshman season…

“I thought he got a lot better as the year went on,” Tebow said. “The one thing I thought about him is he has really good movement in the pocket and he also has really good second-level throws, intermediate throws where he can throw over linebackers and under safeties. I think he does that very naturally.”

Carolina kayfabe

The term “kayfabe” refers to the portrayal of pro wrestling’s scripted events in the ring as being real or true. Carolina Kayfabe dramatizes events in Gamecocks athletics through professional wrestling.

After carrying the banner for South Carolina (WWE) for years and taking the program to new heights, the unquestioned leader of the Gamecocks, Sindarius Thornwell (The Undertaker), rides off into the sunset following a hard-fought loss in the Final Four (Wrestlemania).