By R.L. Bynum
Of the players who left Carolina’s program after last season and aren’t in the NBA, Justin Pierce and Christian Keeling are putting up the best numbers, although their teams are struggling.
Playing for Kobrat in Finland’s best professional league, Korisliiga, Pierce is scoring a team-leading 19.7 points per game. His team, however, is in 10th place in the 12-team league with a 3–8 record.
Keeling leads the Glasgow Rocks with 17.9 points per game while shooting 40% from 3-point range but they are 1–7 and in last place in the 11-team British Basketball League.
Brandon Huffman and Jeremiah Francis transferred to get more playing time and that’s working out for both of them.
Huffman has played well in games of late for Jacksonville State, including hitting the game-winning bucket on Thursday.
In that 65–64 victory over Tennessee State, Huffman had 17 points and five rebounds. He rebounded a missed Tennessee State free-throw attempt with 21 seconds left and scored the game-winner with five seconds remaining.
Huffman, named the Ohio Valley Conference’s newcomer of the week last week, has started all but two games, averaging 9.1 points and 5.5 rebounds per game for the Gamecocks (8–5, 4–3 Ohio Valley).
His best game was a 16-point, 16-rebound effort Jan. 7 in a 69-66 loss to Eastern Kentucky. He followed that up with a 13-point, 10-rebound game in a loss to Morehead State on Jan. 9 before Thursday’s game against Tennessee State.
That stretch of good games ended with Saturday’s 98–91 home loss to Belmont when Huffman was held to six points and five rebounds.
He’s wearing a number that was unavailable at Carolina: 50.
Jeremiah Francis has started all six of eight games for New Mexico, averaging 4.8 points, 2.3 rebounds and 1.9 assists per game for the 4–7 Lobos. His best game was 10 points, three rebounds and two assists in an 84–74 loss Jan. 8 to Nevada.
Francis had three points in the Lobos’ 77–54 loss Saturday to UNLV.
Seventh Woods, who sat out last season at South Carolina after transferring, has played in all six games for the Gamecocks, has started twice and is averaging three points per game. South Carolina (3–3, 1–1 SEC) lost 85–80 Saturday night at LSU after having its previous two games postponed. Woods was scoreless in 15 minutes coming off the bench with two rebounds and two assists.
Woods’ best scoring efforts were eight points against Liberty and against Florida A&M.