COLUMBIA -- Ever since he signed his transfer form saying he was coming to South Carolina from Georgia Tech, Zam Fredrick has been in a shadow.
It's cast by backcourt mate Devan Downey, three inches shorter but still looming larger. Downey's the point guard and the kid who's wowed USC fans in the season's first two games with his stunning speed and scoring skills.
Fredrick's fine with it -- as the son of one of USC's most recognized stars, he's had his share of the spotlight already.
"He did it before, he's been through this already, and he was pretty good at it," Fredrick said, describing his relationship with his father, Zam Fredrick Sr. "He taught me everything I know, so I take his advice."
Fredrick Sr. led the nation in scoring during the 1980-81 season, an accomplishment that landed him in USC's Basketball Hall of Fame and is constantly brought up when discussing his new profession. Fredrick Sr. took the coaching reins at Calhoun County High School and turned the Saints into a powerhouse, collecting state championships by the bucketful.
Fredrick Jr. was the star of the team during his last three years and was named Mr. Basketball in South Carolina, opting to leave the state for the lights of Atlanta. He found out he wasn't as happy as he planned so he called coach Dave Odom to see if he'd be interested in taking him.
"I knew that in college basketball I could find my place," Fredrick said. "Once I started feeling comfortable, I knew I could play my game and do my thing every night."
Downey joined him and the pair sat out last year, working on their games in practice. Then the year was finally up and the duo started in the backcourt for an exhibition win against Guilford and the season-opening rout of S.C. State last week.
Downey had 27 points and seven steals against the Quakers, 24 points and seven assists against the Bulldogs. But while everybody congratulated him, Downey deflected the credit to Fredrick, who scored 10 points on Guilford and 14 against S.C. State.
"We're both trying to be leaders," Downey said.
Fredrick will have his famous father in the Colonial Center tonight when the Gamecocks (1-0) take on The Citadel (1-0). Son's planning on showing Dad he can play just as well as Dad did back in the day.
"I'm a combo guard," Fredrick said, dropping into a quick-fire explanation of his skills. "I can play the one, I got point guard skills, but I attack the basket and I try to create plays like a two-guard. Handle the ball well enough to play the one, make good-enough decisions to play the one, but I can score the ball like the two."
He's done both so far, spelling Downey at point guard and directing the offense or playing wingman to Downey's take-over style. Fredrick's had seven assists in two games, getting the ball to perimeter threat Dominique Archie, the inside-out Dwayne Day or into the paint for freshman Mike Holmes.
Still a way to go before anything's decided on the season, but for the beginning, at least, Fredrick's easing his way back into the spotlight.
Just like Dad used to.
"I want to leave my own mark," Fredrick said. "I want to be known as my own guy with my own name. Talk about what he did and talk about what I did, not about us together."
• When: 7:30 p.m.
• Where: Colonial Center, Columbia
• TV: None
• On the Web: Live Gametracker at uscsports.com
• Tickets: Available at the box office
• The Citadel's probable starters: G Cameron Wells 6-1 Fr. (17.0 ppg, 7.0 rpg); G Zach Urbanus 6-2 Fr. (7.0 ppg, 6.0 rpg); C Demetrius Nelson 6-8 Sr. (5.0 ppg, 8.0 rpg); F Phillip Pandak 6-6 Fr. (24.0 ppg, 6.0 rpg); F Austin Dahn 6-4 Fr. (20.0 ppg, 4.0 rpg)
• South Carolina's probable starters: G Devan Downey 5-9 So. (24.0 ppg, 3.0 rpg); G Zam Fredrick 6-0 Jr. (14.0 ppg, 2.0 rpg); G Brandis Raley-Ross 6-2 So. (7.0 ppg, 5.0 rpg); F Mike Holmes 6-7 Fr. (8.0 ppg, 7.0 rpg); F Dominique Archie 6-7 So. (8.0 ppg, 1.0 rpg)
• Notes: Each team is coming off a strong performance in its season-opener. USC had a 30-point lead over S.C. State in the first half before winning 92-67 and The Citadel set a school record for most points scored in a game with a 131-79 rout of Daniel Webster. ... The Gamecocks have a short turnaround from a game three nights ago but get the next three days off to prepare for Southern Cal. ... The Bulldogs stroked 21 3-pointers in their opener.
• Next up: USC hosts No. 18 Southern Cal at 7:30 p.m. Monday.