2017-18 SEC Player Preview: Maik Kotsar

In Features by Ken Cross

Maik Kotsar continued to make his presence felt last season as South Carolina earned its first Final Four berth in team history.

Kotsar became a visible presence in the paint as his length allowed him to be a better defender, and of course, gave him a presence on the offensive glass.

Frank Martin had confidence in the Estonia native right away as he stated on opening night of his freshman season and then capitalized in starting 33 of the Gamecocks’ 37 games.

Kotsar always plays with a tough mentality and gives great effort on every possession.

Inside the Numbers

Kotsar averaged 24.2 minutes per game, so he was allowed to grow into the system, make mistakes as freshmen do, and then correct those.

It paid off as he averaged a steady 27 minutes per game in the Gamecocks’ five game run to the Final Four.

He finished the season with 5.8 points per game and 4.8 boards per contest. He logged double-figures in eight of the last 10 pre-conference contests before as he had 16 points in 30 minutes on 7-of-9 shooting in a 61-46 win over Syracuse.

What They’re Saying

“With both guys (Kotsar and Chris Silva), it is a matter of progressing their team to play more facing the basket, shoot jump shots and make the little things they need to do more to improve.

As a professional, they’re not gonna be only a low post player. As undersized they have to play facing the basket and understand the physicality of playing at the basket. We have to help them grow as players.”

– South Carolina basketball coach Frank Martin, on developing Kotsar and Silva

Analysis

Kotsar will join Chris Silva as two solid posts who will stabilize South Carolina as Martin brings along a talented guard rotation.

Kotsar showed that he can play facing the basket a bit as the season progressed in 2016-17. His ability to consistently step out and hit a 15-footer will dramatically change how defenses guard the Gamecocks and how loose they have to play on the multi-faceted Silva.

And in actuality, Kotsar has more of a physical presence than he is given credit for. He had 117 fouls last season, but many of those were “freshman fouls” which he will fix with his footwork. He was also able to then beat opponents to their appointed hot spots to take away passes inside.

He has no ceiling as his numbers will move forward dramatically during the ’17-18 season.

Ken Cross has a plethora of experience over a 20-plus year period in both print and broadcast journalism. He has worked in some capacity for ESPN Radio, Fox Sports Radio, Sporting News Radio, Yahoo! Sports Radio and many more. He’s currently the founder and editor of CollegeHoopsWatch.com and the co-host of the Marching to Madness podcast.