Will Bailey is ready to get to work as the assistant coach for the South Carolina men’s basketball team and he feels like there’s a lot to work with.

Bailey spoke with media for the first time since being hired Friday morning and said that he is settled in and ready to get down to business.

The Gamecocks had an up and down season, but hit a stride in the second half of the year and Bailey said he took notice.

“They won 18 games last year but I think they had a really young team,” he said. “I think they were playing their best ball towards the end of the season. I think they were one of the best defensive teams in the SEC, I want to say in the country. South Carolina is known defense, known for toughness. I kinda think they’re underrated when it comes to offense.”

Bailey comes to the Gamecocks with heavy ties in the Midwest and has some familiarity with the players he’s about to be coaching. He said the guards that make up the Gamecock roster is a unit he’s looking forward to working with this season.

“I’m excited,” he said. When you’ve got a young team that’s played together and grown throughout the season, obviously it got cut short, but I think A.J. Lawson obviously is a dynamic wing scorer. He can really score the ball, was just watching film on him. He’s really good in the open court. He got better as the season went on in terms of shooting the ball. Jermaine Cousinard is a tough, gritty guard out of East Chicago. Can shoot the three, can defend, can make plays for others. And the addition of Seventh Woods, he’s a veteran. He has experience at the point guard position so that allows Cousinard to move off the ball some be more of a combo guard. Obviously Justin Minaya too, his leadership too.”

Bailey comes to South Carolina after four season as an assistant coach at St. Louis. Bailey was hired at Saint Louis in April 2016, and helped the Billikens improve their win total each season he was on staff.

The best season during that stint was in 2018-2019 when they tallied a 23-13 overall record, an A-10 Tournament Championship and a berth in the NCAA Tournament. He also helped tutor all-conference guard Javon Bess, who was named the A-10 Defensive Player of the Year in 2019.