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  1. An oral history: USC, UVa and a wild 1971 game that proved to be the last of its kind December 18, 2018 THE STATE A throwback week in South Carolina basketball begins Wednesday when the Gamecocks host old Atlantic Coast Conference foe Virginia at Colonial Life Arena. After USC plays Clemson on Saturday, it’ll complete the program’s first two-game stretch against ACC opponents since 1996. Of course, this used to be the norm in these parts. From 1953-71, South Carolina was a member of the Tobacco Road-based league. And when Frank McGuire was guiding the Gamecocks against the likes of Duke and North Carolina, Columbia very much reflected an ACC town. “If you had driven around Columbia before McGuire got here and then driven around after he was here,” said Bob Cole, a former sports writer for The State, “you would see such a proliferation of basketball goals over garages, in driveways. They just exploded. “Of course, McGuire was a Catholic and all of his players were Catholics from New York City. Every time they would go to the line to shoot free throws, they would cross themselves. And you would see all these little kids in the youth programs around Columbia start crossing themselves. Of course, most of them weren’t Catholic at all.” “We could put 10,000 people in a practice,” said former USC guard Bob Carver. “Every game was sold out and we had great teams.” But a chunk of that hoops hysteria died after South Carolina left the ACC in the summer of 1971. The Gamecocks became an independent and annual bouts with the Blue Devils, Tar Heels, Terrapins, Wolfpack, Demon Deacons and Cavaliers were no longer. When UVa, ranked No. 5 in the AP Poll and 3 in the USA Today Coaches Poll, comes to Colonial Life Arena on Wednesday, it’s going to be hard to replicate the scene these programs created on Jan. 11, 1971 in Charlottesville. A well-over-capacity crowd. A last-second shot that took down a top 10 team. A couple technical fouls, a couple media members — media members! — ejected. A controversial call. A foreshadowing quote from McGuire. Following is the story, told in the words of those who played and covered it, of Virginia’s wild 50-49 win over South Carolina — and its significant aftermath. The Gamecocks entered the 1970-71 season as the No. 2 team in the country. Behind All-American guard John Roche and a cast of talented New Yorkers, USC got off to an eventful 10-1 start. On Dec. 5, it beat No. 5 Notre Dame in South Bend, Indiana. On Dec. 20, it beat No. 5 Western Kentucky in Columbia. In between, the Gamecocks had a blowout victory over Maryland marred by a brawl that’s most famous for John Ribock’s apparent punch to the face of Terrapins coach Lefty Drissell. Bill Millsaps, sports writer for The Richmond (Va.) Times-Dispatch: Ribock was the enforcer. He wasn’t a bad player, but he was out there for muscle. He wasn’t too subtle about it either. Ribock triggered a near-riot against Maryland, where somebody decked Lefty and McGuire said Lefty must have hit himself. It was Ribock who decked Lefty. Yeah, they were the bully boys before the Philadelphia Flyers came to Broad Street. They were the villains everywhere in the ACC. Everywhere. Bill Cole, sports writer for The State newspaper: I always thought they were their own worst enemies. It seemed to me they had this Us against Them mentality, which I think was fostered by McGuire. Everywhere they went, the crowds were more intensive in terms of their hostility towards the team. And, again, I thought for the most part, the coach and the players fostered that attitude. I thought it was pretty pervasive throughout the league. Barry Parkhill, Virginia guard: They had some incidents, I guess, that year, but they were good players and seemed like good guys. They were always just nationally ranked and very good. Dennis Powell, South Carolina center: I don’t know if the reputation was really founded. We obviously were just winning quite a bit in North Carolina. And you had Wake Forest, Duke, UNC, Maryland and Virginia all in that area. Bob Carver, South Carolina guard: Coach McGuire was from the North and we were dominating the league with players from the North. People wouldn’t play against us. They held the ball. Coach always thought the officials went against us. We were a tough crowd and we played tough In the ACC days, South Carolina would play at Maryland and Virginia on the same trip. Because of what happened in the first game, tensions were high for Gamecocks-Terrapins Round 2. McGuire chose to leave USC assistants Donnie Walsh and Bill Loving back in Columbia. Injured guard Bob Carver filled in as McGuire’s de-facto assistant. Carver: There were a lot of threats made against the coaching staff and all that, so Coach McGuire decided not to take the assistant coaches on the trip with him. Sometimes he did things to make a point. On the face of it, he was concerned that they were family guys and didn’t want to put them in jeopardy. I never understood why they didn’t make the trip, but that was his decision. So they stayed home. The pre-shot clock era game in College Park ended with a Maryland bucket at the buzzer. Final score: Terrapins 31, Gamecocks 30 (OT). Kevin Joyce, South Carolina guard: It was 4-3 at halftime. Carver: We had a five-point lead at Maryland with, really, 16 seconds to go or something like that. A couple turnovers, a couple baskets. Maryland really didn’t play with us. Joyce: Stall-ball. That happened to us 17 times that year. It really wasn’t a fun basketball season. We came out and won the ACC championship and all that, but we couldn’t really show our talents or anything like that. Kevin Joyce The loss to Maryland dropped the Gamecocks from No. 2 to No. 6 in the polls. Virginia meanwhile was coming off a win over Clemson. At 8-2 entering the USC game, the Cavaliers were seeking their first national ranking in program history. Charlottesville’s University Hall, capacity 7,600 at the time, squeezed in 9,550 spectators. Parkhill: I think that was the largest-paying crowd ever in University Hall. There were people in every friggin’ nook and cranny of that building. We pretty much played in front of a full house my three years, but that game was different. It was crazy. It was great. The place was nuts. The student section, as I was told, was full early afternoon because it was first-come, first-serve. When the ball went up, the kids were ready to roll because they had been sitting there all afternoon. That was pretty cool. It meant a lot to all of us as players. Millsaps: Most of the time, for many years, it was a big victory if Virginia played the game close. Well, this crowd realized they were good enough to make a game of it. They were hot — not only because of South Carolina’s national ranking, but because they were the bullies of the ACC. It some kind of game atmosphere. It got wild. Powell: The place was packed. They were right on top of us. As the first half wore on, McGuire grew irritated by a few hecklers. Carver: A guy was yelling and screaming at him the whole game, loud, saying some inappropriate things. I don’t remember exactly what he was saying, but was standing up and he was screaming. Coach McGuire, without looking across the way, asked me to pick out the guy that was yelling at him. Cole: They were playing, the ball was in motion and, all of a sudden, McGuire gets up from his chair and starts walking around the end of the court, kind of where they were playing. The players, they continued to move the ball some, but they slowed down because they were watching him. Parkhill: I’m just paying attention, trying not to dribble the ball of my foot or whatever. And Coach McGuire walks down to the end of the bench and now I’m sort of looking like, ‘This is a little unusual.’ And then he starts walking across the baseline. And then they stopped play. Joyce: He walked to the press area. There was somebody there that had credentials to be sitting there, but was openly rooting, pounding on the boards there and stuff like that. Carver: Coach went after that guy. And believe me, if he had gotten a hold of that guy, that would have been the last thing he would have remembered for a long time. Coach was a pretty rough guy. Millsaps: McGuire was giving him hell for yelling at his players. And Marty Cook, who was then the sports information director for Virginia, came down, found out what was going on and threw his (butt) off press row. *John Hedberg, sports writer for the Staunton (Va.) Leader: I sometimes get carried away at games. I know I shouldn’t be cheering for our team. Reports of the game included Hedberg’s ejection as well as the removal of Charlottesville Daily Progress photographer John Atkins. The AP story noted that “Gamecock center Tom Riker engaged a photographer in a shoving match.” Technical fouls were assessed to South Carolina for McGuire leaving the bench and to Virginia for its fans throwing objects on the court. The Gamecocks led 32-28 at halftime and 49-48 with 2:10 left when Joyce was called for traveling. *Frank McGuire, South Carolina coach: You wouldn’t see a call like that again in a hundred years. That was call was the big thing in the game. Our kids are all right and I’m sure they’ll come back. But we just can’t win under the conditions that now exist in the ACC. I don’t know what this is all about. Maybe it had something to do with the talk about South Carolina getting out of the league. Carver: Coach McGuire called timeout and wanted to know if we wanted to foul or just D it up and play. We were up 49-48, but I guess he felt like even if they made the two shots, we’d get the ball back. At least have some control. I’m not sure of the strategy of that. But the players, particularly Roche, said, ‘No, we just lost at the buzzer. What’s the chances of losing back-to-back at the buzzer?’ So we decided to D up on them. Parkhill hit a 12-footer with seven seconds left. Parkhill: I got the ball on the right side. They started to clear out and luckily the shot went in. Carver: Kevin Joyce was playing Parkhill. He backed him in. Barry was a very good player. He he hit a turnaround jumper. He was really good at that. He had good length and he backed Kevin up — they were both about the same size — and he put it in. Joyce: I was all over him. It was a great shot. Barry, he’s a friend of mine. As a matter of fact, he rubbed it more in my face when he told me his parents had a photo of the shot in their living room. Parkhill’s bucket was UVa’s eighth in 11 second half field goal attempts. The Cavaliers shot 65 percent for the game. When USC’s Rick Aydlett missed a contested jumper on the other end, the buzzer sounded and the floor filled with fans. Powell: I can see Rick falling into the crowd. Millsaps: I got trampled. Everybody who sat at the press table got trampled. Fans were everywhere. I’m just glad nobody got hurt in the aftermath of the thing. Carver: That wasn’t a lot of fun. Parkhill: Rick Aydlett’s a great friend. I haven’t seen him in a long time, but he’s a really good friend. He worked at Converse for many years. But we won the game. Looking back, that was a big win. But that stretch, I think it proved that we could win in the league. We could be competitive. That was an important moment in the history of basketball here. Virginia debuted at No. 19 in the next poll. The Cavaliers made their first NIT the next season. They were ACC champs in ‘76 and Final Four bound in ‘81 and ‘84. UVa has now made the NCAA Tournament 22 times. After the Virginia loss, South Carolina reeled off 13 wins in 14 games, including the ACC Tournament championship over North Carolina. It was USC’s final appearance in the league. Athletics director/football coach Paul Dietzel officially led the Gamecocks out of the ACC in the summer of ‘71. They’ve made the NCAA Tournament eight times since. They went 43 years between Big Dance wins before the surprise Final Four run in 2017. Carver: There was a lot of things Coach McGuire didn’t like about the academic requirements in the ACC, but there was more of a football motivation for leaving the league. Dietzel, he wanted to build a powerhouse and he felt like he could do it better as an independent — whether Coach McGuire knew about it or not. We were all playing in the gym one day and Donnie Walsh came in and said, ‘You guys, we just left the league. Coach McGuire’s on the phone trying to fill out your schedule.’ Powell: I didn’t think it was a good idea, personally, as 20-plus year-old senior. I personally thought we should have stayed because we just won the ACC. We were really doing well recruiting. I just thought we were better off there. You become an independent at that time was not probably the way to go. Joyce: We didn’t want out. It was not going to be good for the basketball program. Cole: I’ve thought about it many times and it’s really hard to assess what would have happened had they stayed. Carver: It would have been a better story. It would have been a better run. We had established ourselves with those teams as someone to contend with. *quotes taken from the Jan. 12, 1971, edition of The State newspaper.
  2. Looking good that this season is going to the toilet. May as well flush the 2018/2019 season down. Wyoming was 2-6 coming in. You've now lost to Augusta State, Stony Brook, Providence, Wofford, Wyoming. You are going to lose to Michigan and UVA and likely Clemson. North Greenville will be your only win over the next 4. Then you start 0-2 in the SEC. I'll listen. 11 wins.
  3. Frank Martin has ‘no concerns’ about Gamecocks as ex-assistant’s trial looms December 15, 2018 THE STATE LISTEN HERE Former South Carolina assistant basketball coach Lamont Evans is set to go on trial on federal bribery and conspiracy charges in April, but the Gamecocks have nothing to fear from potential revelations in that case, USC head coach Frank Martin told The State. “I’ve got no concerns. I’ve said that to (athletics director) Ray Tanner. I’ve said that to everybody,” Martin said. “If there is something there, then I’m going to be held accountable for that, but I know the way I manage my office, and I know what I do and I don’t do. I don’t dance that dance.” Martin’s comments came during an exclusive interview on Wednesday set up to discuss pay-for-play schemes in college basketball that have come to light after a wide-ranging federal investigation into basketball recruiting. In October, three men, including former Clemson player Merl Code, on felony wire fraud charges involving attempts to steer highly rated recruits to Kansas, Louisville and N.C. State. Evans was arrested in September of 2017 as federal prosecutors alleged he accepted more than $22,000 while at Oklahoma State and South Carolina in exchange for steering players toward shoe company and financial advisors. “I know Lamont. I have known him since he was a kid,” Martin said. “Why he ended up in that dance, I have no idea, but I feel pretty comfortable that he wasn’t doing that dance when he was here.” Evans is not South Carolina’s only link to the case. In February, Yahoo reported that documents tied the federal government’s case showed that former Gamecocks guard P.J. Dozier received $6,115 while at school. Martin said he would be “very surprised” if that happened. “I believe in P.J. I believe in his mom. I believe in his family,” Martin said. “We have a very good relationship. I was right in the middle of his recruitment. He wasn’t one of those recruits that I engaged at the 11th hour to convince him to come. I was right in the middle of that thing from the first day I got here. “Were there some schools willing to do some things to get him to go to their place? Yeah, but I can tell you we didn’t, and I can tell you to this day, I have a very good relationship with that family. “Now, after he declared to become a pro and there are agents actively involved to retain his services, that’s fair game. That’s out of my control. As far as while he was a player here and his recruitment process here, I don’t see that one.
  4. Cheating? ‘I don’t dance that dance:’ Frank Martin in-depth on state of college basketball December 15, 2018 THE STATE On Wednesday, South Carolina basketball coach Frank Martin sat down for an interview with The State to discuss how revelations from a federal investigation into college basketball recruiting have affected the sport and might affect it in the future. Martin hit several interesting points, including: ▪ The upcoming trial of his former assistant coach Lamont Evans, who has been charged with bribery and conspiracy by federal prosecutors. ▪ Whether he believes a report that former USC player P.J. Dozier received more than $6,000 while in school. ▪ What percentage of high school players each year are involved in a recruitment process that breaks NCAA rules. ▪ If a completely clean program can have consistent success. ▪ Why college coaches who claim to know of wrongdoing in the sport don’t expose it. ▪ And, what he might do if head coaches against whom there is credible evidence are not sanctioned severely enough. The interview could have led to four or five separate stories, but we felt it’s more informative presented to you as our request was presented to Martin: an honest conversation about the state of college basketball during what Martin calls an “audit” of the sport. With that in mind, we have posted the complete audio from the interview here and have provided a transcript. In-depth with South Carolina basketball coach Frank Martin: The state of college basketball LISTEN HERE You said in October that “whatever’s broken will get fixed.” What about the history of this sport makes you believe that? Why do you believe it? Because there are good people. This sport hasn’t become great because of criminals. This sports has become great because of good people. Can you imagine if the feds went out and investigated, the way they are capable of investigating other sports? You don’t think they’d find corruption in other sports in recruiting? It’s the same thing. We’re no different. They just targeted basketball. Don’t ask me why. I know why, but we were targeted. We’re basically being audited. Every great company gets audited. When they get audited, they don’t like all the answers they get, but it’s your job to fix your answers. It’s like me watching film. We practice, practice, practice and I go watch film and I’m like, ‘We’re not doing this the right way. We have to fix it.’ If you don’t fix it, it becomes a bigger problem. Our game was built on unbelievable human beings who were tremendous leaders of people and because of that, and I’ve gotten to know a lot of these folks, it’ll get fixed because of them. You said you know why the sport was targeted. Why? Because of AAU basketball. You are starting to see it, you hear little conversation about it in football with the seven-on-seven. Why? Because it’s bringing outside entities who are not part of education to be involved in the daily activity and recruiting practices of some of these kids. That’s why we were targeted. I think there’s no doubt that the growth of, not high school basketball, I call it AAU but it’s club team basketball. The growth of that in the spring and summer, the amount of money that has been generated through those clubs and the shoe companies, the amount of money the shoe companies are investing into these events, anytime there is money flowing and being generated, it’s going to raise people’s eyebrows. People are going to say, ‘Wait a second, what’s going on here?’ I think that’s why we were targeted, but that’s my opinion. You mentioned other sports and I think everyone believes you’re right that if the federal government went through let’s say the cash cow that is football what would they find? So does any part of the college basketball community feel picked on? No, no. I feel happy that we are being audited. Listen, if they come in, and I’ve been part of an NCAA investigation before, if they come in and see that I’m doing something wrong or my office is then shame on me and shame on us, that’s the way it should be. I’m happy. I don’t want to speak for other coaches and what they know or don’t know. I take pride in knowing. I think it’s important that I understand what’s going on out there so I can make the decisions I have to make to lead this basketball program. Some of the stuff that has become public I kind of knew was going on. It’s my job to know, not to act ignorant about it. It’s my job to figure stuff out. I didn’t investigate people. I didn’t hire private investigators to get me information. I am very observant. Maybe it’s the way I grew up. I pay attention to stuff. I say this all the time, I worked the bar scene, I didn’t mingle with people. I stood in a corner where I could see the whole room so I could see where the problem was coming from. It’s kind of the way I work. When I recruit and go about my job, I kind of look at the whole thing. I am constantly paying attention to everything so I can figure out the moving parts. So I even though I didn’t have proof, because I’ve been on both sides of the fence, I kind of knew that some of these things were possibly happening. I just didn’t have proof but my instincts as man told me that. I am happy that this has happened. Our sport, just think about the amount of money that this sport generates for the NCAA. That doesn’t happen because everyone’s a crook. That happens because there are a lot of good people involved for the right reason. Unfortunately, in every walk of life, there’s bad doctors, bad attorneys, bad teachers, there’s bad everything in every profession. Unfortunately, we don’t pay attention to the 95 good ones, we always want to focus in on the five bad ones. And I’m just picking five as an arbitrary number. You have said something similar to that in the past. Clemson coach Brad Brownell has said something similar to that. So, why aren’t you shouting from the rooftops and pointing fingers? Why aren’t you saying, ‘This guy’s not doing it right. This guy’s not doing it right.’ If you’re not telling the media, why aren’t you going to the NCAA and saying, ‘We have to clean this up. You guys have to address this.’? What can the NCAA do if it’s not college basketball coaches involved directly in it? So, you don’t know of any college basketball coaches who are doing it wrong? Of course I do. So, why aren’t you as a steward of the game, standing up and saying, ‘This guy is doing it wrong. That guy is doing it wrong.’? Then the NCAA should offer me a job as an investigator, then I’d be more than happy to do it. I got hired to be the basketball coach at the University of South Carolina, to be the caretaker of the program at this university and represent the NCAA that way. My job is to do this job at this university. I don’t run around, maybe it’s the way I was raised, I don’t run around and throw stones, I don’t run around and accuse people because whatever I think I know is my gut and is hearsay. It’s my instincts. It’s my nature as a human being where I try to know what my environment is at all times. It’s not my place. Every campus at this level has a gazillion compliance officers, 37 different assistant athletic directors, we all have a league office that has all kinds of mandates. We have head coaches meetings for all kinds of educational purposes, rules and regulations. In the SEC, we have at least two a year. Obviously the NCAA governs. Everyone is aware of everything that is going on at all times. I could be wrong, but it’s not my job to spend my energy on the five bad ones. It’s my job to do my job the right way so the other 95 people get credit for doing things properly. My argument would be that head coaches are in the best position to clean out the five percent who are bad. Do you buy that argument? It would take standing up and saying either publicly or to the NCAA, ‘Clean up this, this and this.’ I don’t see why not, but here’s where the problem comes. If I say School A or Coach A, I suspect this happening, they don’t have the power of subpoena, and as you can see, all the stuff that was going on, the NCAA would never have found out. Never. When you’re going to make an accusation, you’re putting yourself out there. If they can’t come clean with it, now you have a problem in your own fraternity, in your own profession. That’s what I’m telling you. You want to make me the director of enforcement in the NCAA, I’ll be more than happy to go get my nose dirty and get the five percent who are bad out. I don’t have time in my life to be investigating for other people. If I do that, I’ll get fired from here in three years. My job is to build this program. My job is to recruit the people that I feel can help us to continue to grow our program. That’s what my job is. My job is to communicate things with the decision makers on our campus, what I see. The decision makers on our campus, it’s their job to communicate in their meetings with their peers and at the league office, some of the inconsistencies we as coaches are communicating with them. There are a lot of conversations that are taking place. Everyone isn’t as blind to this outside of the coaching fraternity as people pretend to be. The problem is there is no proof, and the NCAA or the SEC office or the University of South Carolina, we have no way of gaining the proof that the FBI was able to gain on some of the stuff that’s coming out. You go down that rabbit hole and there is no proof and now you’ve put yourself out there and you’re probably going to end up not very popular in your profession. And, it’s going to crush you in recruiting. Given that fact and that the NCAA has no subpoena power, do you just have to accept 5 percent fraud as the price of doing business? I don’t know. Here’s my thing: I’ve always felt that the people who cut corners, sooner or later, they get caught. I’ve always felt that way. In anything that you do, I have never felt differently. People that want to cut corners and cheat, they aren’t going to impact me. But they do impact you… No they do not. They impact me if I choose to recruit the same kid they are recruiting. But if Bill Self recruits seven of the top 10 players in the country and one them was a player you were recruiting and one of them was a player Rick Barnes was recruiting, that does affect you, and you get fired in three years because you didn’t win enough. No, no, no, here’s the deal. If I choose to recruit a kid that you have to cheat to get then it’s pretty ignorant on my part to complain because somebody cheated and I didn’t cheat or because someone was willing to cheat more than I was willing to cheat. I get that, but it does impact you and every clean coach in the country. I disagree with that. You don’t think that some guys get fired who would not get fired if they cheated? I disagree with that. The problem we have is the people who got caught cheating, there’s no real whacking. I’ve got a friend of mine. His deal is public. He was at the University of Miami when that (Nevin Shapiro) investigation took place. I’m born and raised with this guy. Me and him are tied at the hip. He’s one of my closest friends in life. There’s not a more ethical human being in the business than him. He’s an assistant basketball coach. He utilized his frequent flier miles to buy a mom a plane ticket so she could get back home. I lost my mind with him. He has been blackballed and not been allowed to get hired at any Division I school because of that. See what I’m saying? Yes, but I think you’re making my point for me. If head coaches would get blackballed that way then the problem would be fixed. The problem would be fixed. Then why isn’t that happening? Because there’s no way to prove things. The NCAA because he put that plane ticket on his personal miles so he’s done, he’s caught red-handed. In all these other cases, there’s no proof. But now when you do catch somebody, make it hard for them to get a job. Don’t give people a two-year show cause and let them keep their job when they have a show cause, which is what happens right now. Or when the two years are up become re-hireable. My guy is as good a human being as I have ever met in my life. He made that mistake. Not to cheat, the players already on their team, this ain’t cheating, this is just trying to accommodate a mother who is trying to get back home. Made a mistake, he knows the rules. He paid dearly for it. If people that cheated in recruiting got treated that way, I think that problem would take care of itself. Let me flip what you are saying back the other way, if you look at my career, and it’s only been 11 years, would you say I’ve been lucky to be around success in my 11 years? Yes. So how have the people who cheated affected me? They haven’t prevented me from succeeding. Because you’ve been to one Final Four in 11 years and I bet there are guys who are cheating who have been to more and the reality is, if you don’t hit such-and-such a record in the next three or four or five years, you’ll be fired. But if you cheated to get a five-star, you could hit such-and-such a record. OK, yes to what you’re saying. I don’t want to be labeled a cheater. That’s the way I was raised, not my cup of tea. I don’t want to walk around and walk into a room and be known as a fraud, a phony or a cheater. Everyone has to live their life and if they’re comfortable with everyone knowing they are cheaters and they have no problem walking around and being phony about it, that’s their problem. My whole thing is, the credibility because I don’t cheat, if I do lose my job, I’ll get another job. The guys that are known cheaters, very few end up getting another job when that day comes that they lose their job for cheating. I have a responsibility for every single person on this campus that’s affiliated with men’s basketball, everybody. I am responsible for the managers, the players, the staff members. Whether it’s the trainer, sports information, marketing, I don’t do my job, whoever Ray Tanner ends up hiring to replace me, that person might come in and say, ‘I want that person, that person all out.’ There’s a lot of people whose families depend on me doing my job the right way. I’m OK with that. I signed up for it. I can’t complain about it. I’m not going to jeopardize every one of their careers because I’m willing to cut corners and cheat. I’m of the opinion that the people that cheat, yeah in the short term they impact their peers, but as time goes by, they mess up everyone who is part of their organization because they’re all labeled cheaters as time goes on. We have seen some high-profile programs be linked to this federal trial so do you expect more of the same, which is no severe punishment for head coaches or do you expect some heads to roll? Gonzaga head coach Mark Few said last week he is disappointed the NCAA is not being more aggressive. What do you think is going to happen? I don’t disagree with Mark. Mark and I are friends. We kind of recruit in the same environment, we don’t recruit those kids that are popular on websites. A lot of people in recruiting, they are consumed with winning, it’s A.D.s who want to win the press conference with a head coach. There’s a lot of guys that recruit that want to win the press conference in recruiting. Mark and I are very similar. We are not interested in winning the press conference in recruiting. You go back and you look at all their players. The majority of them, nobody had any idea who they were in high school, where they came from. Or they were transfers from other schools. It’s just the way he does business. That’s why I respect him. With all that said, I tend to agree with what he said, that I wish the NCAA would be more forceful, more aggressive because now there is some proof of what has happened. As this NCAA Tournament comes in front of us here, the people that are clean have an opportunity to be in that tournament. But I go back to step one, the NCAA doesn’t have the ability to come up with the information that the FBI will give them. The NCAA changed their legislation last summer so they can get that information. There are still more cases coming. There are three more trials coming up. Who knows? I’m not privy to how much of that evidence has been handed over. I know what everyone else has reported, that the FBI has given the NCAA clearance to start acting. I have no idea what evidence they have so for me to sit here and pass judgement on anybody is wrong. Can I have my own suspicions, my own private opinions? Of course I can. Just like other people have them of me and who I am, but I can’t go out there and make public assumptions that are going to impact people’s lives when I have no proof. Now, if I was the investigator, I would have no problem going after every piece of information I need because that would be my job and I’m going to do that to the best of my abilities. What I would hope happens is if the NCAA has credible, real evidence that they would act on those people as soon as they can, not wait to get all the evidence to attack everybody as a whole. I would like for them, if they have evidence on Person A, Person B to go after Person A and Person B. I think they need to do that. What I hope is not happening is that they are waiting for all the trials and to get all the evidence and then decide who to go after. I would hope as soon as they have information on whoever that they would start acting on the information that they have. We still go back to the same thing, the NCAA has no subpoena power, nothing. In the stuff that you have read, how would the NCAA find out any of that information that became public? They can’t wiretap. They can’t trace what people in high school are doing. They have no ability to ask a question of anybody at a shoe company person. They can’t interview agents. They can but agents aren’t responsible to give them answers. You see what I’m saying? That’s where all the money from what I have seen, that’s where it was all taking place at, against that group of people. The NCAA governs me. It doesn’t govern high school players. The NCAA governs the University of South Carolina. It doesn’t govern a club basketball team. The NCAA governs member institutions. It doesn’t govern shoe companies and all that. So what’s that mean? All those people don’t have to talk to the NCAA. The only people who are required to speak to the NCAA? Me, anyone that works for me and any player the day they step foot on this campus, not before or after. I’ve got one problem with what’s happened with all this right now and it’s the only problem I have is Brian Bowen, we all know his journey because he was one of ours so we all paid more attention to it. He wasn’t the only kid named in all these reports. He wasn’t the only kid who is on recordings, not him, his dad was, yet he’s been the poster child for all this. He’s the only one that has been punished differently from everyone else. Everyone else whose name has come up in this thing, everyone has gone on to play college basketball. There’s only one that was not allowed. That’s where I am frustrated with it. To take that argument a step further, we have seen Silvio De Sousa at Kansas in connection to this have to miss some time, and it does feel to me and I think to a lot of people that when heads roll, they are kids’ heads and that doesn’t seem fair or right. Do you share that frustration? To a certain extent. If the kid is a part of the conversations in evidence, then he’s well aware of what is going on. If my 18-year-old freshman gets in the car with a guy who’s got a gun and an ounce of weed in the car, even though it’s not his, he’s going to jail just like the guy driving the car. Does that make sense? It is what it is. That’s the way life works. We’re all held accountable to our decisions, but I do believe that the kids get punished yet the adults that are part of all that are not but that’s where this whole FBI thing is a little different. There are some adults right now that are in an uncomfortable place in life. You can’t be an investigator and not have subpoena power. You can’t govern. Can you imagine if our police department, our FBI could not subpoena? If they did not get court orders? How would they ever get the evidence to figure out who’s doing right or wrong? That’s what the NCAA is forced to do. Now, if I do something wrong, they can get my phone, they can get whatever information they want from me. But the problem is that I’m not the one. Guys that have my jobs, it’s not money from my bank account that’s going to somebody else. It’s not that I’m sitting in my office doing A, B and C. There’s people on the outside getting involved in this stuff. Here’s something else: You know what I have to do, I have to speak to all these people that are on the fringe because I have to figure out what the recruitment is going to be like. I can’t say, ‘Player A is really good, I want to recruit him, he’s got an uncle who lives in South Carolina, I’ve got an uncle who wants to recruit him.’ Well, you’ve got to call this guy. That name in my head, antennas go up, ‘That guys no good,’ but I’ve got to call. So if you go look at my phone, you might find that guy on my phone so I have to have that conversation so I can figure out, ‘Is he really involved in the recruiting or is he not involved in the recruiting?’ We are in an information-gathering business. We have to gather all the information in recruiting to make sure it’s the right person, and in gathering information we engage with some people who, if I was bouncing again, I would never have a conversation with, but I have to have those conversations so I can gather information. What percentage of the top 100 players on average each year would you have to walk away from in recruiting? Ten. I like to word it like this, go look at the McDonald’s All-Americans and that kind of gives you the pocket of guys whose recruiting gets a little dicey sometimes. So, does that mean the schools that are getting all the McDonald’s All-Americans are paying for them? That’s not what I’m saying. You’re asking for a percentage so I’m giving you one. I’m not trying to put you on the spot, this is just logical. If 75 percent of McDonald’s All-Americans are being recruiting in some sort of fishy way and five or six schools in the country are getting 75 percent of those kids, it stands to reason that those schools are cheating. Then I go back to the whole thing, it’s not the coaches who are doing the cheating. It’s the people outside that are doing the cheating. But the head coach would know. Well, when there’s proof that a coach facilitated a conversation or was well aware of stuff that was going on that would end up benefiting them in that kids recruiting, that’s wrong. Now, why do I say the McDonald’s All-Americans, I am not trying to target specific schools. I am targeting a certain talent level from high school kids. Those are the ones that chances are are going to go to school for a one-and-done. Those kids, their whole attention didn’t start at the McDonald’s All-American game. It’s been going on since the 10th grade. All those kids, there is a relationship already through a shoe company. Go back and look at this, when’s the last time a McDonald’s All-American did not play on a shoe company circuit? Try and find that answer. It’s going to be a long, long time. All of those kids have already been identified by agents and shoe companies, two things the NCAA does not govern. So, when that time comes, the All-American game, there are already relationships in place with those two entities and those two entities brought the FBI into this whole situation. Let’s remove proof from the conversation. My belief is it would be impossible for there to be an infrastructure to support illegal or unethical recruiting at the University of South Carolina without your knowledge. Whether you were involved for not, you would know. Correct? I don’t disagree with that. So, in places where that is happened, whether or not we can put a coach on wiretap, it stands to reason that this guy knows what is going on. I’m not big on assuming other people do their jobs like I do, but I know this: I speak to my staff about this a lot, (the NCAA) passed this new legislation a couple years ago where everything is my responsibility, and I mean everything. So I tell them, ‘You want me to have your back? You better make sure you are doing things the right way and that you’re communicating with me before you take action in something.’ I can’t speak for others, but I’m going to speak for me, I pretty much know everything that everyone in my office does. For me to act like it’s not there would be pretty ignorant and deceitful of me, but Lamont (Evans’) involvement in this situation… That’s why I was pretty clear from the word, ‘Go,’ that there’s nothing there here for the University of South Carolina. There’s nothing there. You have no concerns about his upcoming trial, that if that goes through the same process as this other one, that South Carolina will be affected? I’ve got no concerns. I’ve said that to Ray Tanner. I’ve said that to everybody. If there is something there, then I’m going to be held accountable for that, but I know the way I manage my office and I know what I do and I don’t do. I don’t dance that dance. I know all those people. All the people whose names you’ve read, I know every single one of them except one. Everyone that is on that list, I have had long conversations with every single one of those guys. There’s only one person I didn’t know. I know Lamont. I have known him since he was a kid. Why he ended up in that dance, I have no idea, but I feel pretty comfortable that he wasn’t doing that dance when he was here. Can an assistant coach move up the food chain in his profession without doing that? Of course, look at me. In the current culture? I started 11 years ago. This summer basketball started in the ‘90s. I was part of starting whole EYBL Nike Tour. I was a part of their very first event. They hired me to help build their very first event. I am well aware. I worked for Nike. My high school was a Nike sponsored high school at the elite level. I am well aware of the involvement of shoe companies in grass roots basketball. I lived it. For me to sit and say, ‘I’ve got no idea,’ that’d be pretty stupid on my part. That’d be me just lying to you straight up. I don’t know, it goes back to what I’ve always said, as a high school coach, I was in education, there was a certain governing body, a structure that I had to respect as a high school basketball coach. I coached AAU ball and I got into college. As a college coach, I represent an institution of higher learning. There is a certain protocol that I have to respect and follow. There’s a structure that I have to live by. The only one of those three that I have been a part of that had no governing body, that had no rules and regulations, was summer basketball. We are trying to make our rules for college basketball fit into a world that has no rules. That’s hard. Everyone is consumed, I’m going to keep using five as the number, everyone is consumed with the five people that are working on the wrong side of the line, but the problem is that the well we all go to to drink water at is not governed. We have to create structure there. Now, back in the day, when there was no AAU basketball, there were some real crooked high school coaches that you had to go in and pay. Those were few and far between. From my high school coaching days, I met some guys who cheated, who came in and took a conversation to a place of, ‘We will do what we need to do to get your kid to come play for us.’ Me personally, I never entertained that conversation. On the contrary, when those guys left, I would tell the family, ‘That’s one school you don’t have to worry about.’ That’s just me, that’s the way I live life. Then I got hired at college, and I was working at Northeastern. When you recruit at Northeastern, you really don’t recruiting against a lot of cheating. Now I go start working for (Bob Huggins) at Cincinnati and start recruiting a different kid. When I was recruiting, because of what schools were involved in recruiting, I’d be like, ‘I know that guy would cheat because six years ago he sat in my office and said, ‘A, B and C.’ I know that guy is going to cheat so I don’t want to get involved with the recruitment of that kid because if those schools are recruiting that kid, they are cheating and I’m going to waste my time. Every once in a while I’d get involved with the recruitment of kid and I didn’t know who these people were and I’m knee deep in this recruitment and there it comes, ‘Bang,’ so I’m out. I went to Hugs one day. Everyone on the outside forever thought Hugs was a cheating fool. That’s the opinion the national media wanted you to have of Bob Huggins in the ‘90s. I don’t know Bob Huggins at all, but when you say his name, I do put him in a certain pile. There’s not a more ethical man in this business than him. So I went to Hugs and said, ‘I just got in the middle of this recruiting deal and I found out and that the 11th hour. How do you know who the cheaters are? I know some of them.’ He said, ‘The clappers. When you watch their teams play and their guard passes the ball out of bounds or gets out of the way defensively and they don’t take them out of the game and the coach is clapping, that’s a cheater.’ I just started laughing. What he’s saying is when players don’t do things they are being asked to do and the coaches, the one thing we’ve over every player is their playing time, and we don’t take them out of the game, that’s basically saying that player has the upper hand on the coach in some way, shape or form. That was his analogy. I have always remembered that and think it’s pretty fun. I’m watching film and I’m watching a team I don’t know anything about and I see that happen, it always comes into my head if they don’t take a kid out of the game. I’m not big, and it goes back to the way I was raised, I’m not big on calling the SEC or calling the NCAA. I don’t think that’s my place, but I’ll tell you what I do do, I will confront guys on the road one-on-one, man-to-man. That I do do. How many times has that happened and how did it go? Three or four times in my career. How’d it go? Just had a man-to-man conversation so that they understand, ‘C’mon man.’ I do that more for negative recruiting than for actual cheating because when people negative recruit, they are not impacting their staff, they are impacting my staff because they’re trying to prevent me from getting a kid, and that to me is more hurtful than a guy who is willing to jeopardize his staff and their families because of cutting corners. There are kids that are affiliating with people at the high school level that if you want to recruit them, someone is going to have to cheat in some way, shape or form. I choose not to recruit those guys. That’s just me. It’s what I believe in. The three or four times I have had something happen that I wasn’t comfortable with in recruiting, I don’t go to the assistant coaches, I go to the head coach and I’ll say, ‘Hey man, dah, dah, dah, dah, dah.’ I had one guy, I’m not going to identify, this was early in my coaching career, I said, ‘Listen, I’m a different bird. I don’t come from anything. I’m not scared of going back to making $30,000 a year as a school teacher. You do this again and you and me are going to have a problem man to man.’ Then he tried to bring in his assistant coach later on to take the blame for what happened, which made me lose even more respect for the head coach. I’m not a tough guy. I don’t pretend to be a tough guy, but when I don’t like how somebody does their job that I think impacts me in a negative way, I don’t call their superiors to send them to the principal’s office. I kind of go and confront them myself in an effort to give them a chance if we ever end up recruiting against them again to handle it the right way. Would I know that person? Probably not. Can you be a regular Final Four participant as a completely clean program? Yes, I don’t think cheating is what makes that difficult. Because it seems to me that the programs that are playing with the McDonald’s All-Americans are the consistent winners, and if you believe… OK, before you take another step, who won the national championship last year? Villanova, but I would argue over the last 20 years they are an outlier. Who won it the year before? Carolina. Wrong Carolina. Point taken. I’m not trying to separate those two programs, but they don’t really go recruit those top 10, 12, 14 recruits in the country. You’re talking about the one-and-done. Those are the ones that are tagged one-and-done. Those two programs don’t really recruit those kids who are tagged one-and-done. So, can you win at a high level consistently despite the wrong in recruiting? Yes. What makes it hard to win at the high level is not the five or six or seven wrongdoers, it’s the transfers. That’s what makes it hard in today’s day and age to get to a certain level and stay there. You get there and now not only do you graduate players but you have transfers and you drop. Now you’re fighting to climb. That’s what makes it hard to be a consistent Final Four contender is not the people who are doing it wrong in recruiting, it’s that we have so many transfers that it’s hard for a lot of us to sustain. You’re saying five percent of programs are actively not recruiting the right way. The general perception, my perception, is that that number is much, much higher. Does it bother you that a lot of people think you have to cheat to win consistently in college basketball? Does it bother me? No. It bothers me when you judge me on the wrongdoing of others. That bothers me. Now, if you have information on me, you have the right to judge me. When most people look at college basketball, it’s not quite to level of cycling a few years ago, but it’s close. If you’re one of the people I see at the front of the pack, I assume I know how you got there. How many college basketball teams do we have, Division I? 354? How many have been named? Ten? There’s 354 of us, that’s how small the number is. Now I’m putting my words into your language. If the FBI, who did all these wiretaps for two years and what’s public that we know if is seven or eight schools out of 354. So if went out and polled 350 banks, you don’t think there are seven of them that are working the wrong way? Absolutely. So are you saying that’s kind of what we have to live with in college athletics? Yeah, but those seven don’t prevent the rest of us from succeeding. If the tournament only included 10 teams, then that’s a problem. But, for 347 of us to get painted with the same brush that seven are allegedly involved in right now, that’s where I struggle. People pick on me because I’m different from most on the sideline. It is what it is. I bring that on myself. I can’t mad at the perception you are anybody else can create based on my actions, but for any other coach that’s demonstrative to get labeled in a negative way because people don’t like me because I do it in that way, that’s wrong. That’s kind of what is happening with this right now. Listen, the feds are involved in this audit. That means it’s real. This is not hearsay. This is real. Whoever is involved, the truth will come out because the feds are involved. When the truth comes out, I just hope that the people who are not doing what they are supposed to do get punished the right way. If they don’t get punished, then maybe it’s time for me to leave the business. Is that a fair answer? Yes, it would make me upset if I was doing something cleanly and that was reflected in a certain performance level and I had a fan base in my ear screaming for me to do X, Y and Z…. But I can’t worry about that because if I start recruiting to make the fans happy and I end up cheating, you think those fans are going to protect me because I recruited the kids they wanted me to recruit. No, but I think there is a large percentage of the fan base that would be fine with you making that trade. I have to raise my kids. My children have to wake up every day and they have to know their father is a man of ethics, a man of beliefs so when they become men they can handle their business the right way. I’m going to give you a line I use in recruiting a lot because it’s what I live by, a lot of people have two cell phones. There was a time when we could only make two phone calls a week. Right now I’m not allowed to call anybody before the completion of their sophomore year I think. There are some guys that call. Some of these kids, the first day I am eligible to call and I call, they say, ‘Oh yeah, school A, B,C and D have been calling me for the last six, seven months.’ Well, they call from a burner phone. If I’m recruiting you and I am cutting the rules like that, in your mind, you know I’m a shyster and you know I’m willing to not respect the rules when I recruit you. So when I go recruit, I do it the right way. I say, ‘I’m not calling you before I’m allowed to because I’m not cutting the rules because when you show up on campus and I tell you, today we’re doing it like this, I need you to understand that that’s my word and I fight for my word.’ In the beginning of this investigation, it was reported that P.J. Dozier got $6,000 from somewhere. Do you have any clarity on what happened there? No. That’s why I can sit here and tell you I’m perfectly fine that South Carolina is in a good place. I couldn’t tell you that if I had in any way, shape or form an idea that that took place. I believe in P.J. I believe in his mom. I believe in his family. We have a very good relationship. I was right in the middle of his recruitment. He wasn’t one of those recruits that I engaged at the 11th hour to convince him to come. I was right in the middle of that thing from the first day I got here. Were there some schools willing to do some things to get him to go to their place? Yeah, but I can tell you we didn’t, and I can tell you to this day, I have a very good relationship with that family. Whether it was give a player a ride or whatever, they called me first to get permission before they did it. I’d be very surprised if that took place, very surprised. Now, after he declared to become a pro and there are agents actively involved to retain his services, that’s fair game. That’s out of my control. As far as while he was a player here and his recruitment process here, I don’t see that one. Is college basketball healthy? Is this a sport you think is in trouble? Not right now. I think there were some cracks but I think those cracks have been identified and now it’s no different than people build a home and then see a crack on your ceiling or your floor because your foundation moved. You have to go fix it. That’s kind of the stage we’re in right now. The sport has grown. The amount of money and the attention. This sport is watched more now than at any point in its history. It’s just grown too big. The last 20 years, it just boomed. Well, what happens with sudden growth like that, it means more people are involved and we found some cracks. Now we have to fix the cracks, it’s as simple as that, but the stability of college basketball, I don’t agree with today’s day and age, social media, attention-grabbing headlines to get everyone overly consumed with negativity. I’m not into that. I’m into where I work at. Let me tell you something, if the evidence comes in and action is not taken against people that are caught doing things the wrong way, then you don’t have to worry about covering Frank Martin being a pain in the rear end on the sidelines anymore because then it’s probably time for me to get into a different profession. Or better yet, maybe I need to work in radio or television or with you and then I’ll be more than willing to go public with some of this stuff because if the people that can fix the sport are not willing to fix it then I have to make a decision. Do I want to keep collecting a paycheck in a profession that I have lost respect for or do I need to go somewhere where I can help fix a profession that I still have a lot of respect for? You will not be able to convince me that a blue blood program will suffer significant consequences from this. Am I wrong? What was the old saying. That the bigger school did something but the smaller school got put on probation. That’s NCAA evidence. That’s different. There’s no wiretaps. There’s no information on the cell phones of the people outside of the coaches. We supposedly have all this evidence now on others and there is policy now where the NCAA can use that evidence that comes from outside agencies. And there are rules that state the head coach is responsible for whatever happens in their program. Correct. I’m not going to sit here and based on some of the things that I know and some of the things that I kind of have a feel for, sit here and tell you that I want to see other people get fired based on those assumptions. But wherever there is evidence, I think action needs to take place and if action doesn’t take place, me personally, I can’t speak for the other coaches, me personally I’ll be disappointed. And if I’m part of that stuff, then action should be taken against me too. It’s as simple as that. It’s the way I live life. It’s what I believe in. I’m not the judge. I’m not the jury. And I’m not the executioner. I have a responsibility to handle my business the right way so the people who believe in me, the people who are willing to live with me, they can go home and sleep at night because they don’t have to worry about me jeopardizing their careers. Our system our society is set up in a way that there are people in charge of making the decisions about who is breaking the law and who is not breaking the law. When there’s evidence, I think people should be punished accordingly. When there’s not evidence, then we can’t be trying to kick people. You know what you are never going to hear from me publicly? ‘Well, man we won 17 games at South Carolina not doing what everyone else does. We don’t cut those corners so we should all be happy.’ You’re not going to hear that from me. Why not? I’m not going to say it. You say it. But I can’t report it because I don’t know what you know. You guys know the other guys who are cheating. I’m not using “know” in the legal sense, but you know. I know who was cheating from my high school days who got in front of me and was willing to do A, B and C. Now, it’s just me putting my ear to the ground and trying to get involved in conversations so I don’t waste my time in recruiting. You’re fine being judged in the same manner as a coach who cheats? Yeah, you know why because I do in my heart believe people who cheat don’t win the end. I think the evidence is totally against that in the history of college athletics. Really? I just gave you the last three national championships. This is me, I don’t think Villanova and North Carolina cheat. I’m not talking about what happens on their campus. I’m talking about in the world of recruiting to get players to come play for you. I don’t think either one of those two programs cheat. I’ve gotten to know Coach (Roy) Williams and I know Jay (Wright). I don’t think they cheat. I feel comfortable saying that publicly. We went to a Final Four and I’m telling you we don’t cheat. I went through a chapter in my life in high school where I didn’t cheat and I got accused of cheating. I learned a lot based on that chapter. I followed the rule, the laws, they were respected and they were adhered to, but yet I ended up in the middle of a situation where I lost my job because there was wrongdoing at the school. I got blamed rightfully so because I was the guy in charge as I’m a cheater. I have had to live with that label for a long, long time. There are still people out there that will say my name and say, ‘That guy is a cheating fool from high school.’ I can go to bed at night, put my head on the pillow and sleep like a baby because I know I’m a man of ethics. I know I don’t cheat. I know I respect the rules. I don’t try to go around the rules. Now, it’s my job to understand the rules so I can work as closely to those rules as I can. But I learned that lesson a long time ago, so I pay close, close attention. We just went to a Final Four two years ago, and I know we don’t cheat. If I lose my job two years from now, three years from now, five years from now because we didn’t win enough, I’ve had a hell of a run man. You’re talking about some neighborhood dude. Who knows what I’d be doing right now without basketball. I’ve had a hell of a run and I have relationships with 90 percent of my former players that are unbelievable. That gives me joy every day of my life. I don’t try to trick people as I do my job so I can keep my salary. I am going to do my job to the best of my ability so I can impact people in a positive way. As I impact them in a positive way, then we’re either going to win games or we’re not. The people I answer to, I have these conversations I’m having with you, with them. If at the end they feel I am not the person for this job then I’ve got to go. It is what it is. I’m not going to sit around and blame the fact that five percent of our walk of life works in the negative as to the reason I couldn’t win. It’s not the five percent that kept me out. It’s that we weren’t as good as the 95 percent that didn’t cheat. That’s the way I view it. I understand what you’re saying and it would make sense to me if it was five percent versus 95 percent. People think it’s the other way around? The FBI just got involved. How many? Seven or eight out of 300 something. That’s my point, but the people who are covering this they don’t act like it’s seven or eight out of 300, they act like it’s seven or eight out of 20. Two years they’ve had those guys phones tapped. They’ve had the phones of AAU summer guys tapped. Do you really think they only spoke to seven people in two years? Everyone who is willing to cheat will get in deep conversations with those guys so you think in two years seven or eight schools would end up getting mentioned. The problem is we’re trying to judge the seven or eight against the top 20 programs in the country. That’s a big hit. That’s almost 50 percent, but there’s 300 of us.
  5. Gravett, Lawson Lead Gamecocks to Win Over Coastal With Videos, Gallery, Stats & More Duo combined to score 48 points, each dropping a career high COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) -- South Carolina's A.J. Lawson and Hassani Gravett each notched a career-high in points as the Gamecocks held on to beat Coastal Carolina 85-79 on Friday night. (MORE/VIDEOS)
  6. Impact of Justin Minaya’s injury and other things we learned from USC loss to Wofford November 28, 2018 THE STATE Here are four things we learned from South Carolina’s 81-61 loss to Wofford on Monday: 1. Long-term effects of Justin Minaya’s injury could be damning After one of the more impressive wins of his career, Wofford coach Mike Young opened his post-game press conference with a nod to who was missing for the Gamecocks. “Those things hurt, fellas,” Young said. “You have a kid like Minaya go down. I hope like crazy the Gamecocks can get him back quickly. He’s very good, he’s a glue guy. He guards.” Minaya’s value goes beyond a stat sheet. The 6-foot-5 sophomore emerged as Frank Martin’s most trusted perimeter defender last season. This year, Martin said, he’s emerged as the leader of USC’s team. “He’s the guy that has the most discipline, the most toughness, the most enthusiasm and is the most excited about coming in here every day and getting better,” Martin said. “He’s becoming the leader of this team. And when you lose that spirit from the game ...” Martin continued by mentioning what Minaya’s absence did to the Carolina rotation. Senior guard Hassani Gravett started in Minaya’s place, meaning a couple freshmen — Keyshawn Bryant and T.J. Moss — were the first two guards off the bench. That’s not what Martin wants, but he might have no choice going forward. (Though Moss started for senior Tre Campbell in Monday’s second half.) And how long is forward? South Carolina announced Tuesday that Minaya will undergo surgery on his right knee later this week. He remains out “indefinitely,” but will begin rehab soon and should return during the SEC season. Since the beginning of last season, the Gamecocks are now 0-2 without Minaya. Teams are averaging 81 points and shooting 49.5 percent in his absence. “Justin’s going to have to keep figuring out a way to keep leading those young kids,” Martin said. “So as we go through growth, we get better and better so we can be prepared for conference play.” 2. Chris Silva’s inconsistency is defining USC’s season It’s pretty simple for the Gamecocks in 2018-19: When Chris Silva commits three or fewer fouls, Carolina is 3-0. When Silva is whistled for four or more, Carolina is 0-3. On a night when depth was a concern and staying on the floor was paramount, Silva managed 21 minutes. He scored eight points, grabbed five rebounds, had four turnovers and four fouls. The senior forward was a preseason first-team All-SEC pick. Through six games, he’s averaging 10.3 points and 5.8 rebounds. The other four players to make the SEC’s preseason first-team were Daniel Gafford (Arkansas), Reid Travis (Kentucky), Grant Williams (Tennessee) and Tremont Waters (LSU). Following are their numbers so far: Gafford: 19.2 points per game, 8.0 rebounds Travis: 13.7, 6.2 Williams: 21.6, 8.4 Waters: 11.3, 6.3 assists per game Martin said Monday that Silva and Maik Kotsar, Silva’s veteran frontcourt mate, have forgotten how to run parts of the offense. “Our big guys do not score the ball in the paint,” Martin said. “Call plays for them and they don’t even know what plays they’re supposed to run. That’s not on them. That’s on me. It’s my job to make sure guys do what they’re supposed to do. “Where it gets a little frustrating for me is when you call plays that have been called the same thing and the same action for three or four years, you would think the guys who have the most starts in our program would understand what those plays are by now.” 3. Keyshawn Bryant up, A.J. Lawson down When A.J. Lawson was on the floor Monday, the Gamecocks were outscored by 26 points. When Keyshawn Bryant was on the floor, the Gamecocks outscored Wofford by 12. Lawson, after earning SEC Freshman of the Week honors, was a marked man against the Terriers. Carolina’s leading scorer was held scoreless. “I really like Lawson,” said Wofford coach Mike Young. “I really like him. We just wanted to keep somebody in front of him and play without fouling and keep it congested as best we can.” A good bit of Lawson’s best plays this season have come in the open floor. The Terriers wanted to limit USC’s transition opportunities. Mission accomplished as the Gamecocks managed just six fast break points. Bryant, Lawson’s classmate, felt like the only Gamecock to find success in transition. Twice, the electric 6-6, 190-pounder grabbed a defensive rebound and scored on the other end without passing. Bryant was limited to 17 minutes because of headache concerns. He wore protective glasses. 4. Wofford is legitimate Did we learn this? Or was it just confirmed Monday? The Terriers play in the Southern Conference, but seemingly spend the majority of their non-conference slate against major competition. They beat Georgia Tech and North Carolina last season en route to a 21-13 record. This year, they’ve hosted UNC (lost by 11), gone to Oklahoma (lost by 11), had a trip to Stanford canceled, beat the Gamecocks by 20 and have upcoming dates with Kansas and Mississippi State. “They’re real good,” Martin said. “They’re an NCAA (Tournament)-caliber team. If you play in the NCAA Tournament, those are the teams you play.”
  7. South Carolina starter out ‘indefinitely’ with knee injury November 26, 2018 South Carolina basketball has returned from Thanksgiving break to bad news. USC announced Monday, prior to tip-off with Wofford, that sophomore guard/forward Justin Minaya is out “indefinitely” with a right knee injury. It was suffered in a recent practice. Minaya has started 35 of the 37 games he’s been available for since arriving last year from New Jersey. The Gamecocks lost their only game without him last season — an 81-76 result to Mississippi State. Minaya, a 6-foot-5, 215-pounder, is Frank Martin’s most trusted perimeter defender.
  8. USC is on brink of getting a freshman back. What that means for Martin’s Gamecocks November 20, 2018 If all goes to plan, Alanzo Frink will be in uniform Monday when South Carolina comes back from Thanksgiving break to host Wofford at Colonial Life Arena. The Gamecocks are hopeful the freshman forward passes an upcoming strength test on his injured knee and is practicing Friday. That was the Tuesday word from USC coach Frank Martin. So what’s it all mean? Frink is a listed 6-foot-6, 265-pounder from New Jersey who has yet to make his college debut. Carolina is 3-2 without him, including last weekend’s split with Providence and George Washington at the Naismith Hall of Fame Tip-Off Tournament in Connecticut. “What does he bring?” Martin said of Frink, repeating a reporter’s question. “He brings one strong you-know-what ... contact doesn’t faze him.” Frink’s reputation as a space-eater, confirmed by Martin highlighting his backside, is important to Martin because he believes it can help the Gamecocks improve around the rim. USC lost the points in the paint battle against Providence as Chris Silva, Carolina’s All-SEC forward and a lane regular, sat the majority of the game with foul trouble. “(Frink’s) going to score in the paint,” Martin said. “He had moments in practice before he hurt himself when he basically manhandled Chris physically. And Chris is a strong dude.” Silva and Frink are products of the same Roselle Catholic High School in New Jersey. Silva on Tuesday backed Martin’s claim about Frink’s preseason aggression. “He’s competitive,” Silva said. “He’s not afraid of contact. Right away when he stepped on the court, he was competitive with me, try to bump me a little bit. “He knows how to use his body and when he gets that ball down low, he’s not afraid of contact. He always goes strong.” Frink averaged 13 points and eight rebounds as a senior in high school. After a spring commitment to USC, he spent the early summer representing the Dominican Republic at the FIBA under-18 Americas championships in Canada. His performance then gave way to ESPN’s Fran Fraschilla labeling Frink as a “steal” for the Gamecocks. “He blew me away,” Fraschilla told The State. “He was the strongest player in the tournament, physically. He’s a handful. “Very impressive. Strength, feel for the game, showed some maneuverability out on the perimeter. Obviously a little undersized at 6-6, 6-7, but I think it’s one of those kids you look at and go, ‘Damn, South Carolina might have gotten a steal here.’” Frink picked the Gamecocks over strong pursuit from Patrick Ewing and Georgetown. After Silva and Maik Kotsar, Martin has turned mostly to Felipe Haase for frontcourt depth through five games. Frink provides a different kind of option. “He’s real physical,” said senior guard Hassani Gravett. “He’s not afraid of contact. So he’s willing to get in the paint and fight with other bigs. For some reason, the ball just always finds him off the glass. So I know he’ll come in and contribute to getting rebounds.”
  9. Carolina Routs George Washington at Hall of Fame Tip-Off, 90-55 With Video, Stats & More Silva records double-double, Lawson scores 19 with nine rebounds and five assists VIDEO POSTGAME: Frank Martin, Chris Silva, Maik Kotsar on George Washington — 11/18/18 Chris Silva scored 20 points and grabbed 10 rebounds to lead South Carolina to a 90-55 rout of George Washington in the consolation game of the Air Force Reserve Tip-Off tournament. (MORE)
  10. Gamecocks lose 11-point first half lead, fall to Providence in Connecticut November 17, 2018 Foul trouble and offensive lulls proved too much for South Carolina to overcome on Saturday. Providence rallied from an 11-point first half deficit to beat the Gamecocks, 76-67 at Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville, Connecticut. USC (2-2) will now face George Washington (0-4) on Sunday in the consolation game of the Naismith Hall of Fame Tip-Off Tournament. The Friars (3-1) get No. 18 Michigan in the championship. PC went on a 22-8 run in the second half to begin to pull away from USC. The Gamecocks shot under 40 percent over the final 20 minutes as key veterans sat because of foul issues. All-SEC forward Chris Silva continued a slow start to his senior season. He scored six points in just 13 minutes. He picked up his fourth foul with 12:28 left in the second half. His first field goal came with under four minutes left and with Carolina down nine. Five Gamecocks had at least four fouls, including starters A.J. Lawson, Justin Minaya and Maik Kotsar. It all ruined an encouraging beginning to the game. South Carolina led 35-24 with 25 seconds left in the first half when Keyshawn Bryant capped a 19-1 run. with a couple free throws. The Gamecocks, effective in a 2-3 zone, held the Friars, a team coming off five straight NCAA Tournament appearances, without a field goal for a 7:07 stretch of the first half. Hassani Gravett led Carolina with 14 points, but only four came after halftime. Providence got 20 points from freshman guard David Duke. The Friars shot 52 percent in the second half. Next game Who: South Carolina vs. George Washington When: 1:30 p.m. Where: Mohegan Sun Arena TV: ESPN 2
  11. He scores, passes and rebounds, but here’s why Frank Martin really enjoys AJ Lawson November 14, 2018 .mcclatchy-embed{position:relative;padding:40px 0 56.25%;height:0;overflow:hidden;max-width:100%}.mcclatchy-embed iframe{position:absolute;top:0;left:0;width:100%;height:100%} At halftime of South Carolina’s win over Norfolk State on Tuesday, A.J. Lawson was 2 of 7 from the floor and Frank Martin knew exactly was what plaguing his freshman’s shooting touch. At halftime of South Carolina’s win over Norfolk State on Tuesday, A.J. Lawson was 2 of 7 from the floor and Frank Martin knew exactly was what plaguing his freshman’s shooting touch. “He’s got a bad habit where he’ll stick his right elbow out when he shoots,” said USC’s coach. “And any time he sticks his right elbow out, all you got to do is look at the ball. You see the rotation, it changes.” There was side-spin to Lawson’s early jumpers, causing the following intermission exchange between coach and player. Martin: “A.J., get your elbow under the ball and get your left hand out of the shot.” Lawson: (Nods) Lawson scored 13 of his 18 points in the second half as the Gamecocks rolled to an 81-64 victory. “He went out in the second half and the ball went in for him,” Martin said. Lawson, the gem of Carolina’s ‘18 recruiting class, has lived up to the hype through three games. The Canadian and former four-star prospect leads the Gamecocks (2-1) in points (16.7 per game) and assists (5.0). His 23 points against Stony Brook were the most by a USC rookie since Sindarius Thornwell in 2014. His eight assists against Norfolk State topped a 2016 USC rookie performance by P.J. Dozier. His six rebounds Tuesday led the team. “He’s got a confidence about him when he’s on the go,” Martin said of the 6-foot-6, 172-pounder. “He sees passes because of his size. “I think I told you guys I should have been playing him at the point more since the first day (of practice). We’ve been playing him a lot at the point because he’s got imagination as to what’s there.”
  12. Reviews are in for USC rookie Keyshawn Bryant: ‘He has a chance to be a great player’ November 08, 2018 Chris Silva spoke in the preseason about his daily at-the-rim meetings with Keyshawn Bryant. “He always tries to posterize me for some reason,” South Carolina’s most established dunker once said about the next-in-line. So after Bryant wowed a Colonial Life Arena crowd of 10,145 in a Gamecock 65-52 win over USC Upstate, Silva wasn’t completely shocked. All that athleticism and aggressiveness had flashed in practice for weeks. Bryant scored 21 points from two dunks, two layups, four short jumpers and five three throws. What did surprise Silva was Bryant did this in his college debut. “A little bit half and half because he’s a freshman and had never played a game in college basketball,” Silva said. “To see him feel comfortable on the court, half and half, like I said. A little surprising, a little not.” For comparison’s sake, Silva, an All-SEC forward and one of 50 players on the Wooden Award watch list, had 12 points and nine boards in his first college game. Sindarius Thornwell had 14 and four in his. P.J. Dozier had seven and three assists in his. Bryant’s 21 points were the most by a Carolina rookie in his first game in the seven-year Frank Martin era. The previous Gamecock freshman to reach 20 points in any game was Rakym Felder on Dec. 27, 2016, against Lander. Not a bad for a 6-foot-6 wing who might have been misjudged as just an athlete playing basketball. “He’s got a knack to score,” Martin said. “Some guys can jump and dunk, but they’ve got no feel how to score.” Alex English scored 1,972 times in a Gamecock uniform. The Naismith Hall of Famer was on the SEC Network call of Tuesday’s game and raved about Bryant in a post-game segment. “I’m excited for this young man,” English said. “He’s very athletic, got a lot of skill, knows how to get to the rim and finish. He did a great job of that tonight.” HIGHLIGHTS: Men's Basketball vs. USC Upstate
  13. Men's Basketball 11/5/2018 VIDEO: Men's Basketball News Conferences Gamecocks Open Regular Season Tuesday Hosting USC Upstate at 7 p.m. Frank Martin News Conference
  14. ‘Going to be hard for me.’ Frank Martin juggles role of Dad and Coach in USC opener November 05, 2018 THE STATE When the schedule allowed, Frank Martin would be there. He’d sit in South Carolina high school gyms from Columbia to Sumter to Spartanburg and take a break from his day job. “He was just Dad,” recalled Philip Deter. Martin is USC’s basketball coach, but also a father to three children. The oldest is Brandon, a 6-foot-5 forward who played for Deter at Cardinal Newman. From 2015-17, Deter would occasionally peek across the floor and into the bleachers to find the most high-profile of Cardinal supporters. “He always had the same look as he’s watching the games,” Deter said. “It doesn’t really matter what it is, whether he’s maybe recruiting or watching Brandon play.” Martin made headlines last season when he followed a tweet about an embarrassing scene in youth sports with a passionate message on the topic during a news conference. All that ranting and raving you might see from him while leading the Gamecocks? It never follows him when he watches his kids play. “I don’t say boo,” Martin revealed. Aside from grinning for a selfie with a fan, Martin remains mostly reserved while taking in a loved one’s game. That’s how Deter tells it when describing what it was like to coach the son of one of college basketball’s biggest characters. Except there’s always chance for change, an opportunity for Dad to break out in the best way possible. It happened to Martin on Dec. 9, 2016. After Brandon hit a buzzer-beating layup to give the Cardinals an overtime win over AC Flora, the Newman floor was covered in jubilant students. The chaos didn’t allow Deter to spot Martin, but he heard from enough parents afterward to paint an accurate picture of Martin’s reaction. “He was just smiling from ear to ear,” Deter said. “He did a great job of being Dad.” The next time Martin watches his son play comes 7 p.m. Tuesday when South Carolina hosts USC Upstate in the 2018-19 opener. Brandon Martin is a freshman for the Spartans. “I’ve tried as hard as I can to omit that from my thoughts,” Martin said Monday, “because that’s going to be hard for me. Proud, but hard.” The blending of Dad and Coach is not easy. This type of matchup is rare. The NBA has had George Karl (Denver Nuggets coach from 2005-13) against Coby Karl (Los Angeles Lakers guard in 2007-08) and Mike Dunleavy Sr. (Los Angeles Clippers coach from 2003-10) against Mike Dunleavy Jr. (Golden State Warriors guard from 2002-07; Indiana Pacers guard from 2007-11). The most recent college example came last November when Jim Boeheim’s Syracuse Orange got down 3-0 to Cornell thanks to a corner jumper from Jimmy Boeheim. (Syracuse still won the game by 32) “You want them to do well, but you know you’re really trying to coach your team,” Boeheim said during ACC media day last month. “He made the first shot of the game against me and I was really mad. But then looking back on it, I was kind of glad he made it. “But you want your son to play well. But you’re more focused on what your team’s doing in those situations.” Over his 374 games as a college head coach, Martin has had to go against some of his closest friends in life. Old pals Andy Kennedy (Ole Miss 2006-18) and Anthony Grant (Alabama 2009-15) used to be conference rivals. Those clashes were tough, but the spirit of competition got him through. How will he handle Tuesday? Dave Dickerson has a feel. The first-year USC Upstate coach has known Martin for over two decades. He nearly joined his Carolina staff in 2016. “Frank is a very emotional person, very loyal person,” Dickerson said. “But the one thing that drives him is his family. And he’s very, very protective of his family. And being in a situation now where he’s got to compete and coach against his son and get his players to prepare to go out and take away things that his son does well is going to be very, very difficult. “But he’s a professional. And regardless of what he says or doesn’t say — before the game might be a little tense and after the game might be a little tense — once he gets on that sideline he’s going to be coaching his program to try and be the best team on the floor for 40 minutes.” Dickerson, hired in late March at a program coming off a seven-win season, needed players. He soon sent Stacey Palmore, his assistant, on a recruiting trip to the Northeast. When Palmore discovered the roster at St. Thomas More, a prep school in Connecticut, he phoned back to Dickerson. “Hey,” Palmore said, “do you know Frank’s son plays up here?” A scouting report followed and Dickerson was intrigued to hear more about a tough-minded forward who went to high school less than two hours from Upstate’s campus. He called Frank Martin. “And he was thrilled,” Dickerson said. “He was thrilled just like I would be if a coach was calling about my son. But, true to form, Frank did not sell me on his son. He was very political about what kind of player he is and what kind of player he could be. But he thought that he could be a glue guy and someone that could come in and help you build a program.” When Brandon Martin — passing on, among other opportunities, a walk-on spot with the Gamecocks — signed with Upstate in June, this game was in place. “We scheduled the game and three, four days later (Dickerson) calls me about Brandon,” Martin said. “I’m not even thinking about them being on the schedule. I was ecstatic about the whole thing, and then I kind of sat back and ‘Ugh, we play each other.’ “This has been weighing on me for a while, and it’s finally here. So it’s time to play it.” Brandon Martin wasn’t available to comment for this story, but speaking to The State in February 2017, he acknowledged the advice he receives from his father. “He tells me to go out and play my hardest and tells me you can’t teach effort,” Brandon Martin said. “He tells me no matter how bad I play to give 100 percent, be a good leader and motivate my teammates to do better.”
  15. How close was Dave Dickerson to joining friend Frank Martin and South Carolina staff? November 01, 2018 Dave Dickerson, following the path of many Division I coaches, was a visitor to Frank Martin’s gym at Miami Senior High School in the late 1990s. Dickerson was an assistant at Maryland and Martin was leading one of the nation’s best prep programs. The Florida state champion Stingarees featured Steve Blake, a highly sought-after point guard. The Terrapins wanted Blake, so Dickerson came south to sit in on Martin’s practices. “I don’t think Frank’s changed much,” Dickerson told The State last month. “I think it was evident that he had, really, a love affair with the game of basketball. And I think that he was very engaging with his players and his players were very engaging with him. “There was a lot of trust on the court. And a lot of built-in really good relationships because of the way they played and the way they practiced.” Blake eventually signed with Maryland on his way to an NCAA title and 13-year NBA career. Dickerson eventually became a college head coach, first with Tulane (2005-10) and, since March 30, USC Upstate. Martin, on the college sidelines since 2000, is entering his seventh season in charge of South Carolina. When the Gamecocks and Spartans meet at 7 p.m. Tuesday at Colonial Life Arena, it’ll be an extension of a two-decades-old relationship. Dickerson and Martin didn’t just remain in touch following the Blake recruitment, they two made a deal with each other. “I always told him that when I first got my head coaching job,” Dickerson said, “he would be one of the first people that I would call. And vice-versa. He always told me that if he had an opening on his staff, then he could consider me.” When Dickerson took over Tulane, Martin was working for Andy Kennedy at Cincinnati. The Bearcats, previously under Bob Huggins, were coming off 14 straight NCAA Tournament appearances. “He had a better job there then I could offer him,” Dickerson said. In April 2016, due to Lamont Evans’ departure for Oklahoma State, a spot opened on Martin’s USC staff. Martin interviewed Dickerson, then with Thad Matta at Ohio State, for the position. “I was honored to be considered on his staff at the time,” Dickerson said, “but I had a great job at Ohio State. So we went through the interview process. But my family and I decided to stay at Ohio State.” Martin, instead, hired Bruce Shingler. Dickerson, an Olar native, still found a way back to his home state. On Tuesday, he makes his USC Upstate debut with a roster that includes freshman forward Brandon Martin, Frank’s son. The Spartans went 7-25 last year.
  16. ‘We’re just banged up.’ Frank Martin updates South Carolina’s injury situation October 30, 2018 A week away from South Carolina’s season opener, the basketball Gamecocks are “banged up.” USC coach Frank Martin, speaking Tuesday afternoon on 107.5 The Game’s “Game Time,” referenced injuries to newcomers Tre Campbell, T.J. Moss and Alanzo Frink. “Two of them are ankles, one a knee,” Martin said. “They’ve missed so many repetitions, that’s frustrating because you want guys to get repetitions.” Campbell is a graduate transfer from Georgetown who started and scored 13 points in Carolina’s exhibition game last Friday, but exited the 77-72 loss to Augusta after tweaking his ankle. The Gamecocks spent the rest of the weekend practicing and then scrimmaging against Virginia Tech in Blacksburg, Virginia. “He didn’t practice Saturday, did not partake in the scrimmage on Sunday,” Martin said. “(Monday), he did what we call dummy offense where there’s no competitive deal. (Tuesday) he did some stuff competitively in the half-court.” Moss, a freshman PG from Memphis, didn’t participate in the scrimmage portion of “Gamecock Tip-Off” because of a sprained ankle. He played 17 minutes in the Augusta game. Frink, a freshman forward from New Jersey, had a “knee procedure” earlier this month and isn’t expected to play in next Tuesday’s opener against USC Upstate. “I like our team,” Martin said. “We’re in a good place. We’re hurt right now. We’re just banged up. We can’t get consistency in practice. So many first-year guys, they need reps.”
  17. Does losing to a Division II team foreshadow a rough season? Some history suggests no October 29, 2018 When it happened to Miami in 2013, the Hurricanes went on to become ACC champions. When it happened to Syracuse in 2009, the Orange went on to become Big East champions. When it happened to Ohio State in 2007, the Buckeyes went on to become NIT champions. History proves a season doesn’t end when a Division I basketball team loses an exhibition game to a Division II program. Augusta University, of the Peach Belt Conference, beat South Carolina, 77-72, last Friday at Colonial Life Arena. As USC coach Frank Martin noted afterward, the Gamecocks had their All-SEC forward, Chris Silva, on the bench for the game’s final 10 minutes. They took a cautious route with starting point guard Tre Campbell after he tweaked his ankle early in the second half. (Campell, who scored 13 points, didn’t play the final 17:41.) And, well, Martin never took a timeout and rarely busted out a dry erase board for play design. “I’m kind of happy that I kind of let it happen, for lack of better words,” Martin said. “Because we weren’t very good at practice this week. And we got so many new guys on the team, I’m still trying to figure some stuff out. So I just kind of let this happen. ... This was real good for us.” Asked later for a response to USC supporters who might have taken the result differently, Martin said, “If any Gamecock fan is going to sit there and worry about what happened, they need to understand basketball then.” Does losing to a Division II team in the preseason foreshadow a poor regular season? Here are some examples to suggest no: Nov. 3, 2007: No. 8 Michigan State loses to Grand Valley State, 85-82, in double overtime. How’d the Spartans fare? 27-9 overall, 12-6 Big Ten, NCAA Tournament second round Nov. 6, 2007: Ohio State loses to Findlay, 70-68. How’d the Buckeyes fare? 24-13, 10-8 Big Ten, NIT champions Nov. 4, 2009: No. 25 Syracuse loses to LeMoyne, 82-79. How’d the Orange fare? 30-5, 15-3 Big East, Big East champions, NCAA Tournament Sweet 16
  18. 1- best players were Gravett, Campbell and Minaya 2- Lawson will be a real real good one but must get better with free throws. 3- inside group was awful. Kotsar has not improved in the least and should have. Still missing a lot of up close shots. Haase is better than he played but was very sloppy in all aspects, bad fouls, etc. Silva just to many fouls still. I do think refs were a little to tight on calls for a scrimmage. 4- poor shot selection all night. We had size inside but still took close to 30 three point shots. 5- Minaya very active with a double double. Going after rebounds that Kotsar Silva and Haase should have had. 6- if last night is an indication of season then we will be better with guards and small forward play by a lot this year. If front court plays like this then nothing will matter at all. I was very very disappointed in their play overall. They had to be most frustrating part. It was just a scrimmage, I know that but to see some players treat it as such rather than a chance to see how they could function fully as a team was disappointing. As they say, you play like you practice. If this is a glorified practice then this will be a long season that will be hard fir frank to survive. I hope they come out when games count and play harder and smarter.
  19. South Carolina basketball vs. Augusta: 10 things to watch for in Firday’s exhibition October 25, 2018 Who: Augusta University at South Carolina (exhibition game) When: 6 p.m. Friday Where: Colonial Life Arena Admission: Free TV: None Radio: Game broadcast will not air on any radio affiliates, but can be accessed for free via the South Carolina Gameday app and TuneIn app. 10 things to watch Starting lineup Coach Frank Martin has been consistent this preseason in praising the leadership on display from his returning players. He likes the core formed by Chris Silva and company and how they’ve quickly brought along the eight newcomers. That said, it’s likely safe to assume he’ll roll out the following five to begin the 2018-19 season: PG Tre Campbell, SG Hassani Gravett, SF Justin Minaya, PF Silva, C Maik Kotsar. Gravett, Minaya, Silva and Kotsar have combined to start 197 games in a USC uniform. Campbell, a senior graduate transfer, started 21 games over three years at Georgetown. Martin’s on record this month of saying this current group of rookies makes up the most talented freshman class he’s had at South Carolina, but the seventh-year coach might value experience more than anything else. He seems comfortable at least beginning this season on the old side. Tre Campbell’s impact Campbell suffered an ankle injury earlier this month, but Martin said during SEC media day last week that the 6-foot, 183-pounder was back on the court. After successful one-year stints from Frank Booker and Wes Myers, Martin feels encouraged about another grad transfer leaving USC on a high note. Campbell, who played in a structured Princeton-style offense under then-Hoyas coach John Thompson III, is eager to look like a top 100 recruit again. An exhibition game isn’t a great indicator, but how Campbell runs this offense for the first time against an opponent is certainly something to watch. Point guard play was an issue all last season. South Carolina’s shooters Part of the build-up to USC’s opening exhibition game in 2017-18 was Martin labeling that team the best shooting bunch of his career. And then the Gamecocks went out and missed 26 of their 35 3-point attempts in a win over Erskine. “That’s why I usually keep my mouth shut,” Martin said afterward. “I go out and say we’re a good shooting team, and we go 1-for-156 in the second half.” Things got a little better when the regular season began, but not much. Despite Booker knocking down 85 3s – good for third-most in program history – the Gamecocks finished ninth in the SEC in 3-point FG percentage (33.9) and last in the league in overall field goal percentage (39.8). Booker is gone, so who takes the perimeter lead? Freshmen at the point With the nature of the game, the opponent and Campbell’s injury, a couple freshmen are bound to get point guard reps. Martin hinted at this last week when he spoke to USC’s options as its most crucial position. Both T.J. Moss and A.J. Lawson will get their chances to run the offense. Moss is more of a classic at the spot, someone who averaged over 6 assists per game as a high school senior and excels more in the half-court. Lawson, a 6-foot-6, 172-pounder who’s drawn a P.J. Dozier comparison, likes to push the pace and might fit more when the Gamecocks face pressing defenses. Augusta forced an average of 12.2 turnovers per game last season. A free-flowing Hassani Gravett Gravett became South Carolina’s most used PG last season, but his natural position is at the two-guard. Martin’s said he’s used Gravett more off the ball this preseason as other point options have emerged. The goal here is to get Gravett to maximize his athletic ability without feeling the burden that comes with being a point guard. “He’s playing fast, he’s playing aggressive,” Martin said last week. “That’s when you know a player is engaged mentally, is the aggression that they play with.” In a transition-heavy South Carolina Pro-Am in July, Gravett averaged 16.7 points, 6.7 rebounds and four assists per game. Keyshawn Bryant’s hops Shortly after Bryant committed to South Carolina in June, Tyrone Woodside, Bryant’s high school coach, told The State that USC was getting a player with a “Jordan-esque” quality. The 6-6, 190-pounder can get up. “He’s quick as a cat, a quick leaper, and runs like the wind,” Woodside said. “He could probably be on the track team running the 100 or the 200 (meters), he’s that fast. “But you’ll see things where you’re really wowed by the things he does. That’s the kind of style that he has.” Now at USC, Bryant’s abilities have been confirmed by everyone from Martin to Justin Minaya to Silva. Maik Kotsar’s improvement Kotsar upped his scoring by three points from his freshman to sophomore year. He again started 33 games and averaged close to five rebounds. But even he admits 2017-18 was a frustrating season. He made 45 percent of his 2-point shots and 57 percent of his free throws. Martin thinks the 6-foot-11 Kotsar has NBA potential. He’s needed an improved work ethic to try to reach it. “I’m seeing a different personality from him every day,” Martin said. “You can actually joke with him. In the past, he was wound up so tight because he was so worried about the balls not going in. Well, he’s at peace with it now because he’s working at it and the ball’s going in.” Chris Silva’s 3-point shooting Silva tested the NBA waters last spring and came back to USC with some noted areas to improve, including a 3-point shot. The powerful 6-foot-9 forward is 5 of 13 for his career from beyond the arc. The potential is there, but will he pull the trigger more? Martin’s preached to Silva this offseason that not every one of his shot attempts has to be a “fist-fight” around the rim. Developing a consistent jumper can help that cause. Felipe Haase’s low-post game Something to watch that’s opposite of Silva stepping outside is Haase going to the post more. The sophomore’s a big body who learned last year he needed to toughen up to handle consistent SEC competition. He played too much “outside-in.” Expectations for this season? “I feel more comfortable hitting people on the block and stuff. Overall, I think I can be more inside-out.” Augusta’s competition The Jaguars compete at the Division II level. They went 16-13 last season. Friday marks Augusta’s second straight year facing a high-profile Palmetto State opponent in the preseason. The Jaguars led Clemson by 11 in the first half last October before falling, 80-56.
  20. Gamecocks picked to finish 11th in SEC; Silva makes All-Conference First Team (AUDIO) OCTOBER 17, 2018 Gamecocks HC Frank Martin addresses the media at SEC Media Days (Southeastern Conference) The Southeastern Conference media does not expect a significant jump-off for the South Carolina Gamecocks, projecting them for an 11th place finish out of 14 teams in the SEC. The media picked the Gamecocks to finish in the exact position they ended last year, 11th place, after going 17-16 overall and 7-11 in the SEC. Kentucky was picked to finish as the 2018-19 SEC Champion, with last year’s champion, Auburn, selected third. Media-projected SEC order of finish Kentucky Tennessee Auburn Mississippi State Florida LSU Alabama Vanderbilt Missouri Arkansas South Carolina Texas A&M Georgia Ole Miss South Carolina senior forward Chris Silva, last-season’s SEC co-defensive player of the year, was a first team selection to the preseason All-SEC first team. Joining Silva were, Arkansas’ Daniel Gafford, Kentucky’s Reid Travis, LSU’s Tremont Waters and preseason player of the year, Grant Williams of Tennessee. South Carolina basketball coach Frank Martin expounded on his Monday comments about the state of college basketball and talked more about his team for the upcoming year in his SEC Media Day address Wednesday: South Carolina Head Coach Frank Martin
  21. After rough year, Frank Martin in a ‘better place’ with USC in this part of the game Oct. 09, 2018 THE STATE A.J. Lawson had a powerful one-hander. Hassani Gravett rocked the rim after a glass-kissing dish from Tre Campbell. And Chris Silva stayed true to form with a strong finish to an alley-oop. The above describes some notable dunks from South Carolina’s “Gamecock Tip-Off” event held last Friday at Colonial Life Arena. The below describes the night’s best layup. Frank Martin, playing a Family Feud-style game against Dawn Staley, correctly answered a question at midcourt, grabbed the basketball and dribbled cautiously – “That’s the most running I’ve done in a long time,” he said – to one end of the floor. Before his shot attempt, he glanced over to the USC bench and noticed a line of smiles. “I figured Chris was over there saying something,” Martin said. “And I saw Hassani’s face and I said, ‘Let me imitate him.’” In a move Martin reports is something he’s seen every day throughout Gravett’s career, the seventh-year Carolina coach put his left hand on the back of his head while banking home the layup with his right. Laughter ensued. The University of South Carolina basketball coach Frank Martin makes a goofy layup during a tip-off event at the Colonial Life Arena. 10/5/18 “I’m just happy it went in,” Martin said, “or I never would have heard the end of it.” By a certain measure, this 2018-19 team is one of the most experienced Martin’s had since coming to Columbia from Kansas State in March 2012. Gravett is one of five returning Carolina players – joining Silva, Maik Kotsar, Justin Minaya and Evan Hinson – to start at least 50 percent of last season’s games. The Gamecocks last had those numbers entering 2014-15 when Sindarius Thornwell, Demetrius Henry, Mindaugas Kacinas, Duane Notice and Michael Carrera were all back after a combined 132 starts the previous year. Such familiarity not only allows Martin to perform perfect imitations of players like Gravett, it has him pleased with something he felt the Gamecocks struggled with all last winter. “I was never really happy with our leadership last year,” Martin said. “It doesn’t mean that they were bad, I just wasn’t happy with how it was being handled. “And these two guys (Gravett and Silva) here, Maik, Justin, Felipe (Haase), that nucleus of guys that played a lot of minutes for us last year, they’re in a much better place right now. As players, as people. I’m more comfortable with who they are. For people to lead, they got to be comfortable with who they are first. And so they’re doing a better job.” Silva, as both he and Martin admitted on several occasions, tried to take on a captain’s role last season, but it didn’t produce the results either wanted. The Gamecocks, a year after making the Final Four, finished 17-16 and missed on the postseason altogether. Off their 12 losses in SEC play, seven came by seven points or fewer. “Last year, I was accepting a new role,” said Silva, a senior and reigning SEC co-defensive player of the year. “So my leadership role, my experience was a little bit low. I didn’t really know what to do. I was feeling confused or overwhelmed. I was just trying to go to (Martin) and trying to learn as much as possible. … I was teaching guys while trying to be on top myself. “Everybody, the returners are in a much better place. So I know I’m not the only one trying to lead the team. We’re having fun at practice, practicing hard, trying to help the young guys. We’re just following the leadership of Coach.” This year’s vets are being blended with seven new faces, including five freshmen and Campbell, a graduate transfer. Less than a month before the season opener, Martin is satisfied with the progress. “We’re way ahead of where I thought we’d be,” Martin said. “We’re way ahead, not even close. The returning guys have been great.”
  22. Frank Martin, Chris Silva, Hassani Gravett News Conference (Gamecock Tipoff) — 10/5/18
  23. Start time, details released for South Carolina basketball ‘Tipoff’ event Sept. 26, 2018 South Carolina’s version of “Midnight Madness” will begin before 6 p.m. The USC men’s and women’s basketball programs on Tuesday announced additional details for “Gamecock Tipoff,” set for Oct. 5 at Colonial Life Arena. Doors will open at 5:30 p.m., there’s an autograph session set for 5:45 and on-court action will start at 7 p.m. According to USC, the on-court action will include “student-athlete introductions, a junior dunk contest, a performance by the Carolina Girls Dance Team, and a 3-point shooting contest. Highlighting the festivities will be a ‘Family Feud’ matchup between members of the men’s and women’s teams. Additionally, one lucky fan will have the chance to hit a half-court shot for $10,000, before the event ends at 7:30 p.m.” Admission is free for this event, which seems to be a form of something more traditionally known as “Midnight Madness.” What started as a simple practice open to the public at Maryland in the 1970s has become known for flashy, fan-friendly events — rapper Drake made an appearance at Kentucky’s “Big Blue Madness” event in 2017, and Syracuse has brought back alums like Carmelo Anthony in the past. USC has hosted Midnight Madness events in the past but has not done so recently. Kansas will kick off its season on Sept. 28, Kentucky is set to host its event this season a week later on Oct. 12 and Duke is a week after on Oct. 19. Coach Frank Martin and the South Carolina men’s team, which officially practiced Tuesday, has an exhibition game against Oct. 26 against Augusta University at CLA. Dawn Staley’s women’s team hosts Lander in an exhibition contest on Nov. 2.
  24. Source: Couisnard ineligible to compete for Gamecocks this season SEPTEMBER 25, 2018 BY WILL PALASZCZUK LINK: SPORTSTALK Jermaine Couisnard SportsTalkSC has learned through a source that incoming South Carolina basketball player Jermaine Couisnard will not play for the Gamecocks this season due to academic eligibility issues. The source, speaking on a condition of anonymity said Couisnard was cleared to receive aid, be on scholarship and practice with the Gamecocks, but was not cleared for competition. Couisnard’s eligibility has been a hot-button issue around the Gamecocks offseason, as one of his standardized test scores was called into question by The College Board. The 6-4 shooting guard from East Chicago, Indiana went to Montverde Prep in Florida to, as he told the Chicago Tribune, improve his study habits and improve his college eligibility going into this season. A message to a spokesperson with the South Carolina Men’s Basketball team seeking comment was
  25. Four burning questions facing South Carolina basketball this season Sept. 25, 2018 THE STATE The South Carolina men’s basketball season officially begins Tuesday. It’s a practice coming 43 days before the first game, yes, but the mere thought of the session was enough to get Frank Martin’s juices flowing Monday morning. “Here. We. Go,” the USC coach tweeted at 11:13 a.m. Martin went on to list reasons for optimism surrounding the 2018-19 Gamecocks, among them the shot at a fifth consecutive winning season and the return of SEC defensive player of the year Chris Silva. “I know I’m excited,” Martin concluded. “I hope gamecock nation is 2.” The post was consistent with Martin’s outlook on this team since May when he announced at a news conference, “I’m at a good place with our roster.” The group is 15-players deep. There’s a proven commodity in Silva, a breakout candidate in Justin Minaya and a handful of promising new faces, ranging from grad transfer Tre Campbell to freshman A.J. Lawson. What’s standing in the way of these Gamecocks getting back to the NCAA Tournament? Here are four pressing questions for this upcoming month and beyond: 1. Can Campbell solidify the point guard position? Plug in Rakym Felder for Wes Myers or P.J. Dozier for Hassani Gravett and the Gamecocks make some form of the postseason last year. South Carolina finished a game above .500 in 2017-18 despite a glaring weakness at point guard. It was a credit to Martin’s coaching chops, but it also made clear the No. 1 goal of the offseason. With Felder fully dismissed and Dozier well into his professional career, the Gamecocks had to find a PG. On April 15, T.J. Moss committed to Carolina. A month later, Campbell did the same. Throw Gravett – and his 22 starts last season – into the mix and that gives Martin three legitimate options at point. Moss, though, is a freshman. Gravett, as he’s shown in the past, can be more effective off the ball. This moves the spotlight to Campbell. The former Georgetown Hoya came to South Carolina for his last year of college ball. The 6-foot, 170-pounder best fits the profile for what Martin wants. Can he capitalize on the opportunity? “That’s why I chose South Carolina, so I can run a team,” Campbell said in August, “as a point guard in the SEC, which is one of the best conferences in the country. I wanted to do that.”

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