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 COUNTDOWN TO KICK-OFF "2019" GAMECOCK FOOTBALL

 South Carolina Gamecocks  vs.  North Carolina Tarheels 

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Found 132 results

  1. Senior Rooster

    WBB: Postseason notebook

    Chris Wellbaum • GamecockCentral.com SOUTH CAROLINA WOMEN’S BASKETBALL Dawn Staley held her year-end press conference on Wednesday, and she talked about recruiting, transfers, and scheduling. The big stories from the press conference were obviously the four transfers - the three that are leaving and the one that changed her mind. I wrote in detail about Mikiah Herbert Harrigan’s change of heart and decision to return to South Carolina here: WBB: Herbert Harrigan will return for her senior season I wrote more about the other three transfers, Te’a Cooper, Bianca Jackson, and LaDazhia Williams, here: WBB: Staley addresses transfers Staley also talked about several other things, which we’ll cover here. FULL STORY: https://southcarolina.rivals.com/news/wbb-postseason-notebook
  2. Chris Wellbaum • GamecockCentral.com SOUTH CAROLINA WOMEN’S BASKETBALL A week after entering her name in the transfer portal, forward Mikiah Herbert Harrigan had a change of heart and decided to return to South Carolina for her senior season. Herbert Harrigan was one of four Gamecocks, along with Te’a Cooper, Bianca Jackson, and LaDazhia Williams, who put her name in the NCAA transfer portal last week. She was the biggest surprise among the group, and the player who projected to be the biggest loss. Herbert Harrigan and Dawn Staley had their year-end interview last Tuesday, and Herbert Harrigan did not say anything then about her desire to transfer. Staley found out Wednesday, and then over the weekend reached out to Herbert Harrigan to talk about the decision. Herbert Harrigan, her family, and Staley all got together on the phone Tuesday, and after clearing some things up, she decided to return. READ FULL STORY HERE: https://southcarolina.rivals.com/news/wbb-herbert-harrigan-will-return-for-her-senior-season
  3. What are AJ Lawson’s NBA Draft chances? National analyst weighs in on USC freshman April 17, 2019 THE STATE On Dec. 5, less than a week after he scored 25 points and led South Carolina to a win, A.J. Lawson received his first bit of NBA Draft buzz. Sam Vecenie of The Athletic released that afternoon an “NBA Draft Big Board” with a ranking of 100 players for June’s two-round event. No. 1 was Duke’s Zion Williamson. No. 9 was Murray State’s Ja Morant. No. 49 was Lawson. Seven games into his college career, USC’s star freshman had developed some one-and-done potential. “I saw the start, went back and watched the tape,” Vecenie told The State on Wednesday. “I got pretty excited by what I saw. He’s a very, very gifted ball-handler. The jump shot obviously hadn’t come along yet, but the vision stuff seemed like it was translating. He’s got length and he was getting into passing lanes. His defense wasn’t high-level, but he was adjusting to college basketball. “I liked what I saw.” Lawson on Wednesday declared for the NBA Draft. He’s not hiring an agent and can return to the Gamecocks for a sophomore season. The 6-foot-6 guard — and reigning All-SEC freshman teamhonoree — is no longer on Vecenie’s board. What changed? Vecenie, a self-proclaimed “big fan” of Lawson’s, nodded to a dip in production at the beginning of SEC play. Lawson, from Jan. 5 at Florida through Jan. 29 against Tennessee, averaged 11.6 points per game, but shot under 38 percent from the field, 22 percent from 3-point range and had as many assists (nine) and turnovers. “I would say it’s far to say early on in SEC play,” Vecenie said, “he struggled a little bit. He was trying to adjust to the game a little bit. Basically from the Virginia game (Dec. 19), where they struggled against the national champion, to maybe even through January. Looking at his numbers now ... the vision stuff wasn’t really translating to the highest levels. So you take him off. You say, ‘Hey, maybe I jumped the gun on it a little bit.’” Lawson finished 2018-19 as South Carolina’s leader in assists (2.9 per game), steals (1.1), second in scoring (13.4) and fourth in rebounds (4.3). He shot 41 percent from the field and 36 percent from 3. For one six-game stretch from Feb. 9 (Arkansas) to Feb. 23 (Mississippi State), he made 61.5 percent of his 3s. Vecenie called Lawson one of the top 35 freshmen in college basketball. “I’m very interested in A.J. Lawson,” Vecenie said of the Canadian he scouted during a “Basketball Without Borders” showcase in February 2018. “I’ve been a really big fan of his, going back a couple years now, realistically. Just his game and the size. He’s a pseudo lead guard, more of a combo guard. He has ball skill. He’s improving as a shooter, but not quite there yet as a shooter. There’s a lot of talent there.” Enough to get drafted in a couple months? “I would take a flier on him in the second round,” Vecenie said, “but I don’t know if every team necessarily feels that way.” Lawson has until May 29 to decide whether to remain in the draft or return to school. If the latter is chosen, Vecenie said Lawson could be a first round pick in 2020. “I’m a fan of A.J. Lawson’s game,” Vecenie said. “It’s just that little bit of craft, that little bit of strength on the ball he needs to continue to develop. He’ll get there.” Lawson is a listed 172-pounder. “One reason he can genuinely benefit from staying in school is from the strength and conditioning program at South Carolina,” Vecenie said. “Strength and conditioning programs at a school like South Carolina in the SEC, those are gonna be better than the strength and conditioning program in the G League, where is where he’d probably spend the majority of his time next year.” Add some weight, develop a more consistent jumper and the Lawson narrative likely changes this time next year. “What you should do is you should set yourself up in the easiest way in which you can have a long-standing, long-lasting (NBA) career,” Vecenie said. “And the best way to do that is by getting a guarantee contract right from the jump in the NBA, being as a first round pick or being as one of the first 10 guys in the second round, something like that. “In his case, I don’t know if I can guarantee you that he would be selected in a place where he’d get a guarantee contract right from the jump. Having said that, I think if he was to return to South Carolina, was to kill it, be their lead ball handler, be the guy who really dominates the ball, comes in after a summer where he just dominates and really improves his game, yeah, I think there’s real room for growth in his, quote-unquote, draft stock. “
  4. AJ Lawson announces his NBA Draft plans April 17, 2019 The South Carolina guard has announced he’ll submit his name for the NBA draft. He hasn’t hired an agent and can return to USC. Lawson initially made things known Wednesday via his Twitter page. Thank you to the fans, coaches, staff and my teammates for a fantastic freshman year,” Lawson said in a USC press release. “I want to thank God for his blessings. The NBA has been a lifelong dream of mine, and I have decided to explore my possibilities. I will not be hiring an agent, but will be entering my name in the 2019 NBA Draft.” Carolina coach Frank Martin added: “We are very excited for A.J. and the opportunity that he has to go through the process and test the NBA waters. He has worked extremely hard on the court to put himself in this position, and now, with declaring for the draft, he will be able to gather information and feedback from those at the next level.”
  5. Frank Martin had ‘zero hope’ for Gravett. How that might help a current Gamecock April 13, 2019 THE STATE It wouldn’t be accurate to say South Carolina basketball’s Frank Martin had given up on Hassani Gravett, but as the guard finished up his junior year and looked toward being a senior, let’s just say the coach didn’t have a lot of optimism. “If you would have asked me at this time last year, full disclosure here, I had no hope that he’d have a good senior year,” Martin said in a radio interview with 107.5 The Game. “Zero.” In that experience, he gained a little hope for another Gamecock who, to a degree, lost confidence in himself. The numbers from Maik Kotsar’s third year with the Gamecocks were ugly to say the least. A 6-foot-11, 260-pound power forward, he connected on less than 44 percent of his 2-pointers. At times, he threw up lay-up after lay-up, finding none rolling down. He barely edged over 40 percent from the free-throw line, hitting three of his last 27 free throws in conference play. Martin explained his rising senior center needs to get to a point where he’s mentally at peace. “Maik is his own worst enemy,” Martin said. “He over-analyzes things, and he’s too concerned with, is he good enough? He needs to put all that in the rearview mirror. That’s what this offseason, we have to work really hard with him.” He saw Gravett go through a similar offseason last year and reap the benefits. The combo guard was often out of control as a junior, capable of making big plays and then badly botching them a possession later. Then as a senior, freed of point guard responsibilities, he turned into an efficient player, shooting 40.9 percent from 3-point range, bumping up his free throw percent by more than 10 points and cutting down on turnovers. “I know the things that would hold him back,” Martin said. “He still fights some of those things because it’s who he’s been for so long. He finally allowed himself to accept direction and help. Allowed himself to become a better teammate. And all of a sudden, you become a better teammate, guys actually enjoy being around you and you feel better about things. And all of a sudden, you have success.” The coach noted Gravett wasn’t the most diligent about getting extra shots up, and when he started doing that, it paid off. He remembered a moment during a game where he prodded Gravett a bit about how far he’d come. “I said, ‘Don’t it feel better?’” Martin said. “Don’t it feel better when you do right, that you actually play the game the right way? And he started laughing.” Kotsar averaged 6.7 points and 4.7 rebounds last year. He was a solid defender by most measures and he never fell from the rotation despite losing his starting spot. And his coach had a simple prescription. “He’s got to spend more time in the gym shooting the basketball,” Martin said “And as simple as that sounds, that’s how you get better.”
  6. Report: Frank Martin a ‘key target’ for Cincinnati job April 12, 2019 South Carolina’s Frank Martin is reportedly a “key target” in Cincinnati’s search for a coach to replace the recently departed Mick Cronin. Jeff Goodman, the college basketball insider for WatchStadium.com, tweeted as much Thursday night. “South Carolina’s Frank Martin has emerged as a key target at Cincinnati, source told @Stadium,” Goodman tweeted. This is at least the second time this offseason that Martin’s been reportedly involved with another job. Last month, the Las Vegas Review-Journal reported that Martin was “contacted about the UNLV opening.” Martin, though, later denied having such communication and reaffimred his commitment to USC. “It’s flattering any time your name gets involved,” Martin said during a March 26 news conference. “That means that people out there actually respect what you do. But, no, my intention, my goal is to keep building this program here. “If I wanted to leave because I wasn’t happy here, you think I would have done it this year or do you think I would have done it after the Final Four?” Martin is 129-106 in seven seasons with the Gamecocks, including the 2017 trip to the Final Four. USC went 16-16 in 2018-19 and missed the NIT. The 53-year-old is the 22nd-highest paid coach in the country — with a salary of $2.95 million — and is signed to Carolina through 2023. His buyout is $2 million and drops to $1 million after next season. Martin has a history with the Bearcats, however. He worked as a Cincinnati assistant from 2004-06 under Bob Huggins and Andy Kennedy. Cronin, who left for UCLA on Tuesday, made $2.2 million a year with the Bearcats, a member of the American Athletic Conference. Goodman has mentioned Martin for a variety of openings lately, including UNLV, Virginia Tech, St. John’s and Arkansas. “I think Frank Martin would leave for the right situation,” Goodman told The State in March. “He’s not gonna leave for just anything. I know he loves his boss, I know he loves the area, everything like that. “But again, if there was a better situation that came up, where they was probably more support overall, yeah, I could see him leaving if it was a top 10 or 15 school or something that was more about basketball. I think there’s a chance.” Cincinnati has appeared in nine straight NCAA Tournaments and 32 times overall. It won the national championship in 1961 and 1962. It recently spent $87 million in renovating its Fifth Third Arena.
  7. FeatheredCock

    Chris Mullen resigns @ St John's

    Frank Martin at the top of their list!
  8. Gamecocks’ leading scorer Te’a Cooper intends to transfer from South Carolina April 10, 2019 Guard Te’a Cooper, the leading scorer for South Carolina women’s basketball this past season, has entered her name in the transfer portal and intends to leave the Gamecocks, a team spokesperson confirmed Wednesday. Cooper is the fourth USC player to enter her name in transfer portal in the past two days. Rising senior Mikiah Herbert Harrigan, rising junior Bianca Jackson and rising junior LaDazhia Williams all entered Tuesday. Cooper played just one season at Carolina after transferring from Tennessee, where she played her freshman year and missed her sophomore season due to injury. USC coach Dawn Staley pushed to get Cooper a waiver from the NCAA to make her immediately eligible to play her junior season in 2017-2018, but the waiver was denied after Tennessee objected, Staley said. In her lone season, Cooper averaged 11.9 points, 2.5 rebounds and 2.2 assists per game in 30 appearances and 28 starts for the Gamecocks. After South Carolina lost in the Sweet 16 to Baylor, Cooper was asked if she would return for her redshirt senior season and responded, “Absolutely.” Through a spokesperson, Staley declined to comment Wednesday. Cooper had the option to renounce her remaining eligibility and enter the WNBA draft, held Wednesday night, but did not do so. Now, she will be a graduate transfer and will be immediately eligible wherever she goes. The Powder Springs, Georgia, native was a five-star recruit out of high school and has earned SEC All-Freshman and second-team All-SEC honors in her career. South Carolina advanced to its sixth consecutive NCAA tournament Sweet 16 this past season but will now have to replace eight members of the 2018-2019 roster due to graduation or transfer. The Gamecocks are adding the nation’s No. 1 recruiting class, which includes four five-star recruits, and currently have nine players on scholarship, including seven underclassmen, for the 2019-2020 season.
  9. Season over for USC with Sweet 16 loss March 30, 2019 South Carolina women’s basketball had clear and concrete goals for how it would upset No. 1 overall seed Baylor heading into the Sweet 16: 3-pointers, speed, transition offense and defensive pressure. But when the ball tipped at Greensboro Coliseum on Saturday, the fourth-seeded Gamecocks got very little of those things early, and the Lady Bears reminded everyone why they’re one of the current tournament favorites, defeating USC 93-68, to end the Gamecocks’ season. When the two teams met on Dec. 2, Baylor (34-1, 18-0 Big 12) raced out to a quick 32-13 lead in the first quarter and never looked back in a 94-69 win. On Saturday, South Carolina (23-10, 13-3 SEC) once again fell victim to a slow start and never recovered.
  10. Senior Rooster

    WBB: What's next?

    Chris Wellbaum • GamecockCentral.com SOUTH CAROLINA WOMEN’S BASKETBALL With the Gamecocks’ 2018-19 season now in the books, attention immediately turns to next season. Most Gamecock fans will consider this season a disappointment, and although Dawn Staley won’t say that, she is probably secretly pleased that is the case. The standards she has established for the program are that high. After all, the Gamecocks won 20 games for the eighth straight season, play for the conference championship on the final day of the season, and made the Sweet 16 for the sixth straight season. If you had been offered all that before the season, you would have taken it. (CLICK TO VIEW) Gamecockcentral.com
  11. ByJohn Del Bianco 7 hours ago The SEC's Sixth Man of the Year will continue to represent South Carolina men's basketball. Senior guard Hassani Gravett will compete in the 2019 Dos equis 3X3U National Championship, scheduled for April 5-7 in Minneapolis at the Mall of America. Gravett, one of four student-athletes to represent the Southeastern Conference, follows Gamecock alum Frank Booker, who competed in the inaugural 3X3U National Championship in 2018. The complete SEC team will be announced this week. Admission to the Dos Equis 3X3U National Championship is free and fans are encouraged to be part of the atmosphere during regular Mall of America operating hours (10 a.m. – 9:30 p.m. CT on April 5-6, 11 a.m. – 7 p.m. CT on April 7). For more information on the Dos Equis 3X3U National Championship, including event updates, details, rules and more, follow us on Twitter at @3X3UHoops or online at www.3X3UHoops.com. (CLICK TO VIEW ARTICLE) 247sports
  12. What will the Gamecocks look like in a post-Chris Silva era? Different, but fast March 27, 2019 THE STATE Chris Silva is leaving South Carolina top 10 in program history in several categories, including points, rebounds and blocks. Earlier this month he became the first Gamecock in nine years to earn first-team All-SEC recognition in consecutive seasons. He’s the only USC player with an SEC Defensive Player of the Year award and a Final Four ring. As Frank Martin put it Tuesday, the Gamecocks aren’t “replacing Chris by anybody on our team or by anybody coming in.” Just plug in “Sindarius Thornwell” or “Michael Carrera” and you’ve heard Martin use that kind of line before. The decorated players that have come through USC over the last seven years don’t have clones ready behind them. A 6-foot-9, 234-pound highlight machine isn’t walking through the CLA doors next October. So what will the Gamecocks look like without Silva? “We have a lot of guys coming back,” Martin said. “I haven’t stuck my head in a pillowcase yet to try and figure out how next year’s team is going to play but when you return a bunch of players you kind of have a feel for the guys coming back. We probably won’t play solely through the low post next year. We probably need to play a little differently. We probably might evolve defensively because we have so many 6-foot-6 athletic guys.” Martin has always trumpeted a “win at the rim” mentality for his teams. Silva embodied thatwith a physical and relentless attacking of the paint for the majority of his USC career. This past season, however, the system had its tweaks. Silva, showing another reason why he could help an NBA team, made 50 percent of his career-high 46 3-point attempts. The additions of A.J. Lawson, Keyshawn Bryant and Tre Campbell — plus Hassani Gravett moving to his natural two-guard position — pushed the pace to where the Gamecocks, according to KenPom, played at the third-quickest tempo of any SEC team. Their possession length of 15.8 seconds was No. 1 in the SEC. And this all came with only eight scholarship players available for the majority of the last two months of the year. Give Martin the full allotment of 13 scholarship players and watch the Gamecocks wear out their opponents? In 2019-20, that’s a possibility. “For sure, they could definitely do that,” Campbell said earlier this month. “There’s a lot of players next year. They could definitely do something like that. There’s a lot of pieces. There’s a lot of players on that team.” Instead of a proven post threat, the offensive will likely center on a versatile wing in Lawson. The 6-foot-6, 172-pounder played point guard through small forward as a freshman, averaging 13.4 points and a team-best 2.9 assists per game. Bryant, Lawson’s classmate, could add to his 6-6, 190-pound frame and play some power forward in certain lineups. And then there’s the 6-5 Justin Minaya coming back from injury and the 6-4 Jermaine Couisnard and 6-3 Jair Bolden coming off redshirt years. “The length and the athleticism,” Silva said earlier this month, “they’re going to take it to another level. Because what I see is Key and A.J. and the guards being experienced now in the system, they’re going to be like Duane (Notice) and Sin (Thornwell). They’re gonna to know what to do on the perimeter, which is going to make the game easier to play.” The 6-5 Thornwell led the Gamecocks in rebounding as a senior in 2016-17 as USC won 26 games and advanced to the Final Four. Who takes over Silva’s role on the boards is a key question heading into next year. Does that fall on the 6-9 Felipe Haase or the 6-11 Maik Kotsar? Or 6-10 incoming freshman Wildens Leveque? “Felipe isn’t going to grab 16 in a game, I can tell you that right now,” Martin said. “But our best rebounder going into the (2018-19) season was Justin Minaya. He’s going to grab his fair share of rebounds. And when I say best rebounder I’m saying in practice pursuing the ball the best every day was he — not Chris. “He’ll have something to say even though he’s a different player than Chris from a rebounding standpoint.” Minaya, though, won’t be used like Silva. No one on the 2019-20 roster will. Martin said the Gamecocks will begin experimenting in May. “We’ll just be different,” Martin said. “In what way I don’t know. You don’t replace your leading scorer with a first year guy. If you do, then you don’t have a program. You’re building a team and I think we’re past those days here.”
  13. What to expect from Jermaine Couisnard at USC? Let a Duke star fill you in March 25, 2019 THE STATE The mystery player on South Carolina’s 2019-20 roster has the endorsement of Duke’s latest hero. R.J. Barrett had the winning bucket Sunday as the Blue Devils survived UCF at Colonial Life Arena and advanced to the Sweet 16 round of the NCAA Tournament. Barrett’s presence in Columbia brought to the surface a storyline surrounding Frank Martin’s next team. What’s to be expected of Jermaine Couisnard? Barrett and Couisnard weren’t teammates at Montverde Academy in central Florida, but they shared the same hallways and often practiced on the same floor. Barrett, the nation’s No. 1 recruit in the 2019 class, was the headliner for Montverde’s undefeated national title team while Couisnard, a South Carolina signee, was starring for the school’s post-graduate squad. When the sides scrimmaged against one another, it wasn’t unusual for the 6-foot-7 Barrett to be matched up with the 6-4 Couisnard. “He can shoot,” Barrett said of Couisnard on Thursday. “Anywhere over half-court is his range. I remember guarding him, and he would pull in my face at half-court. “I think he’ll be good (at South Carolina).” Couisnard has yet to suit up for USC. He sat this winter due to an eligibility issue. Martin has clarified several times that Couisnard will be full-go next season as a redshirt freshman. The combo guard will join a young core of Gamecocks that includes A.J. Lawson, Keyshawn Bryant and Justin Minaya. “He’s really competitive,” said Barrett, who averages over 22 points a game for Duke. “He talks trash, he gets into it. I love that about him. He wants to win so bad. But off the court, all that goes away. He’s the coolest guy. “I was glad I was able to compete with him.” Kevin Boyle Jr., Montverde’s post-grad coach, confirmed to The State last year the epic practice battles between Barrett and Couisnard. “R.J.’s a very tough player to guard with his size and ability to seamlessly transition from attacking the rim to quickly turning his back and making tough post shots,” Boyle Jr. said. “For the most part, I’d say it was definitely close (between Couisnard and Barrett). And that’s where we first started to see his ability to make tougher shots. You say, ‘Hey, now we’re playing against a team that’s No. 1 in the country and you’re not going to have gap to kick to easy stand-still shots. You’re gonna have to make shots over long arms.’” Couisnard was a three-star prospect who chose USC after pursuit from the likes of Louisville, Virginia Tech, Illinois, Kansas, Ohio State and West Virginia, among others. Before heading to Montverde, he averaged 29.2 points, 4.3 rebounds and 3.1 assists during his senior season at East Chicago Central High School in Indiana.
  14. Sweet Sixteen Bound! Gamecocks advance to Greensboro with NCAA win over FSU March 24, 2019 As Dawn Staley likes to call them, it was another “knock-down, drag out” fight between South Carolina women’s basketball and Florida State in the NCAA tournament. But for the third time in the past five years, the Gamecocks came out on top over the Seminoles, winning 72-64 to advance to their sixth consecutive Sweet 16 at Halton Arena on Sunday. Fourth-seeded USC (23-9) had to overcome a rough day on the defensive glass and make several clutch free throws to clinch the back-and-forth victory — Florida State had 23 offensive rebounds and 19 second chance points, but Carolina went 20-for-24 from the free throw line, including 8-for-10 in the fourth quarter. Neither team led by more than nine points all game, and heading into a tense fourth quarter, USC led just 52-51. Senior forward Alexis Jennings, who had seven points through the first three quarters, then put the Gamecocks on her back, scoring six consecutive points. FSU, however, continued to feast on the offensive boards, pulling down 12 offensive rebounds in the second half and converting those into layups to tie the game 60-60. Head coach Dawn Staley called timeout with 2:31 to play. Coming out of the timeout, Cooper drove the lane and found Jennings for a layup inside, and she was fouled. After she converted the three-point play, FSU got a jumper from guard Nicki Ekhomu to make the score 63-62. South Carolina freshman Victaria Saxton was then fouled under the basket just before the shot clock expired, and she made both free throws to restore the three-point advantage. FSU responded by missing three shots on the next possession but collecting the offensive rebound every time, finally grabbing a layup to make it a one-point game again. But with less than 30 seconds to play, junior guard Tyasha Harris came up huge, driving the lane and sinking a layup while being fouled. She added the free thrown to make it 68-64. From there, Florida State had no answer, missing a pair of 3-point attempts and committing fouls while going for the rebound to keep sending the Gamecocks back the line. Harris’s clutch And-1 late mirrored how she opened the game with the hoop and harm, establishing an early USC lead. But as it did for most of the day, Florida State bounced back and took the lead with a 7-0 run, only for South Carolina to claw back within one, 11-10 on a 3-pointer from junior guard Te’a Cooper. FSU shot back ahead with another 7-0 run, but Cooper then exploded for seven consecutive points to make the score 18-17 when the first media timeout was called with 1:18 left in the quarter. Junior forward Mikiah Herbert Harrigan, who missed the first half of the first round game due to a coach’s decision, drained a 3 with one second left on the clock to tie the game at 20 after one quarter. Neither team shot particularly well in the second quarter, and the pace of play slowing slightly, with more fouls being called. The teams also continued to trade baskets — the lead changed hands six times in the first half. When Cooper went to the bench early in the second quarter, however, Herbert Harrigan took over the offensive production. She scored 10 points in the quarter, all during a 12-4 run that gave the Gamecocks a 37-30 advantage at the half. She also helped to negate FSU’s rebounding advantage in the quarter, at least somewhat. The Gamecocks stretched their lead to nine points off a layup and free-throw for Jennings in the third quarter, but FSU steadily chipped its way back into the contest, making four of five field goal attempts and putting up a 7-1 run capped by a 3-pointer from sophomore forward Kiah Gillespie. Herbert Harrigan once again picked USC up, sparking another spurt with a pair of blocks and two free throws. In a frantic sequence to close the quarter, however, senior guard Bianca Cuevas-Moore missed a corner 3-pointer, allowing FSU to spring a fast break and close the deficit to 52-51. Next: The Gamecocks will play the winner of No. 1 seed Baylor vs. No. 8 seed California in the Sweet 16 in Greensboro, North Carolina, on Saturday.
  15. Chris Wellbaum • GamecockCentral.com SOUTH CAROLINA WOMEN’S BASKETBALL After the first round of games at South Carolina’s home away from home in Charlotte, the unlikely arrangement has been a success. South Carolina obviously knew it wouldn’t be able to host this season ever since the NCAA awarded the men’s first and second rounds to Columbia back in 2017. Normally, the NCAA only allows the use of alternate venues that are within 30 miles, although it allows for waivers to be granted. South Carolina began to focus on Halton Arena on Charlotte’s campus earlier this year, and in February the waiver was granted. Chris Wellbaum Dawn Staley has previously said that “it sucks” to have to vacate Colonial Life Arena, as she prizes the ability to host, something South Carolina couldn’t do earlier in her tenure. She was extremely grateful for the effort Ray Tanner put into securing the waiver, and for Charlotte athletics director Mike Hill for agreeing to play host. As she left the court Friday, Staley saw Hill, and grabbed him by the hands, thanking him again. “I would like to thank UNC-Charlotte for putting on a great event,” she said later. “I’m sure everybody who has participated in this first and second round will feel like it’s a place that has great hospitality. It’s not Colonial Life Arena, but it feels very much like that. All the people who went into making this a success, I truly appreciate it.” There were a few hiccups, although likely none that were noticed by the fans. The locker rooms are smaller than those at Colonial Life Arena. The work areas for media are spread across different floors. In Columbia there is an experienced host staff that keeps everything running smoothly, the result of doing it for several years, while the support staff in Charlotte has had to learn on the fly at times (although everyone has been extremely friendly and helpful). Those issues are nit-picky, and the players haven’t noticed. “We’ve been to four of these and this one was the most well run, nicest people here, and honestly, it was really fun just to be with our team,” Belmont’s Darby Maggard said. Attendance was down significantly for the session, announced at only 1,750. The sessions in Columbia usually got around 10,000 fans, and there was less than half that Friday. However, none of the games hosted in Columbia were ever at 1:45 on a work day, so it isn’t a fair comparison. The fans that were there came early, cheered loudly, and stayed late to try to help Bucknell upset Florida State in the second game. “It was great,” Alexis Jennings said. “Our fans are a big part of our success and just to know we are kind of at home, it was a great feeling to see all the fans show up. We need them day in and day out. They’re a big part of our success.” They also brought a taste of home up I-77. “The Chick-fil-A chant was pretty cool,” Doniyah Cliney said, referring to the fourth quarter promotion where fans get free chicken if opponents miss two free throws. “It felt like we were in CLA all over again,” said Jennings.
  16. Gamecock veterans lead blowout first-round NCAA win over Belmont March 22, 2019 Dawn Staley wanted defensive pressure, veteran leadership and efficient offense. She got a little bit of it all, as No. 4 seed South Carolina cruised through the first round of the NCAA women’s basketball tournament on Friday, thrashing No. 13 seed Belmont, 74-52, in Halton Arena. Two weeks after being upset in the SEC tournament quarterfinals by Arkansas, USC (22-9) used withering defensive pressure in the second quarter and explosive offense in the third quarter to cruise by the Bruins. All three of the team’s captains — junior guard Tyasha Harris, senior guard Doniyah Cliney and senior forward Alexis Jennings — scored in double figures, as did the team’s leading scorer, junior guard Te’a Cooper. Belmont (26-7) gave Staley’s team a little bit of trouble early, racing out to a 6-2 lead as the Gamecocks vigorously defended the 3-point line and allowed the Bruins to penetrate inside. South Carolina, however, imposed its will with an 8-0 run, powered by four points from Jennings as she simply out-muscled the smaller Belmont squad inside. Cliney added four points as well, but Belmont managed to close the gap to 16-13 at the end of the first quarter with a 3-pointer from senior guard Darby Maggard. Into the second quarter, USC’s defensive pressure, which had been sorely lacking against Arkansas, began to impose itself. On the very first Belmont possession, the Gamecocks forced a shot clock violation. It was the first of seven turnovers the Bruins had in the quarter, including another shot clock violation, compared to just one made field goal, a 3-pointer with 3:23 left before the half. Those three points tied for the fewest South Carolina has ever allowed in a quarter. On offense, however, the Gamecocks couldn’t quite blow the game wide open, turning the ball over five times after not doing so once in the first quarter. The steadiest option remained Jennings, who was simply too big and too strong for the Bruins to handle inside. She finished the half with nine points and seven rebounds. Sophomore guard Bianca Jackson also chipped in four points to make the lead 29-16. After halftime, the Bruins managed to jump-start their offense a little bit with a 7-2 run. However, the Gamecock offense also began to pick up steam, making six of their first eight field goal attempts, including the team’s first 3-pointers of the day. With 4:36 left in the quarter, Jennings was fouled while making a layup, sparking an 8-0 run that gave the Gamecocks a 21-point lead and effectively broke the game wide open. Carolina scored more points in the third quarter (31) than it did in the first half. Senior guard Bianca Cuevas-Moore and junior forward Mikiah Herbert Harrigan, who have both cycled in and out of the starting lineup all year and played key minutes for Carolina, did not play in the first half. Herbert-Harrigan checked in late in the third quarter as South Carolina’s reserves began to cycle in, while Cuevas-Moore never played. Next: South Carolina will play the winner of No. 5 Florida State-No. 12 Bucknell on Sunday in Charlotte at a time to be determined.
  17. Evaluating the Frank Martin era at South Carolina. What’s possible for his future? March 22, 2019 THE STATE Three hours before South Carolina learned that officially its 2018-19 basketball season was over, Gamecocks coach Frank Martin shared a story on Twitter about incoming freshman Trae Hannibal and added “My man” with a fist emoji. In the days since USC was left out of the NIT, Martin has been relatively quiet — while buzz builds around him. Two prominent college basketball voices threw his name into the mix for the UNLV job. A writer for the Las Vegas Review Journal tweeted that Martin was contacted about the Running Rebels opening, “but financial terms don’t appear to make sense for him at this time and talks likely won’t proceed.” It’s all made for fodder among fans across message boards, talk radio and social media. What’s the best way to properly evaluate Martin’s seven seasons as South Carolina’s coach? Is he happy in his current job? Would he leave? Jeff Goodman, lead college basketball analyst for WatchStadium.com, listed Martin among his candidates for the UNLV gig shortly after the Rebels fired Marvin Menzies. Fox Sports’ Doug Gottleib tweeted March 18: “If I’m UNLV, why not see if Frank Martin wants a fresh start? Helluva coach, great with Vegas kind of kids.” (For the record, former USC All-American Sindarius Thonrwell replied to Gottleib, “Cut it out my coach ain’t going no where.”) Martin is 129-106 after seven seasons in Columbia, and all signs point to he’ll be back for an eighth. Martin is third all-time in wins at South Carolina. He led the Gamecocks in 2017 to their first NCAA Tournament win in 44 years — and then to their first Final Four, ever. USC has won 10 or more SEC games six times since joining the league in 1991, half of which have come under Martin, including this past season. (Note: The SEC schedule went from 16 to 18 games in 2012-13) “The feel of the South Carolina program,” Goodman told The State, “would be that it’s a football school, which Frank was able to take them to the Final Four, despite some of their shortcomings in terms of tradition and resources compared to other schools in the league, things of that nature. “I mean, what he did was ridiculous.” But a small portion of the fan base also likes to look at what he hasn’t done. The ‘17 Big Dance came after an NIT appearance the year before. Those are Martin’s lone postseason appearances at Carolina. The Gamecocks are 33-32 since the Final Four run — and the departures of Thornwell (Los Angeles Clippers) and P.J. Dozier (Boston Celtics). “Your margin for error when you’re at South Carolina is slim,” Goodman said. “It’s slim. You don’t get pros every year. You lose a pro, it hurts. It hurts more. “You get to a Final Four and then people think you’re going to be going to the NCAA Tournament every year at South Carolina. That just doesn’t happen. “But he got you a Final Four. If I had told any South Carolina basketball fan, ‘All right, we’ll give ya a Final Four, but you’re not going to go to the tournament for eight years,’ they’d probably sign up. “On one hand, it’s not like he set the world on fire every year. So you can look at it objectively and be like, ‘All right, he had one really good year.’ And then on the flip side, you’re like, well, it’s a really hard job. He did get them to the Final Four.” Martin, the 22nd-highest paid coach in America, is signed to South Carolina through 2023. He’s on pace for 219 wins by then, second only to Naismith Hall of Famer Frank McGuire at USC. But to accomplish such a feat, he’d have to stick around. “I think Frank Martin would leave for the right situation,” Goodman said. “He’s not gonna leave for just anything. I know he loves his boss, I know he loves the area, everything like that. “But again, if there was a better situation that came up, where they was probably more support overall, yeah, I could see him leaving if it was a top 10 or 15 school or something that was more about basketball. I think there’s a chance.” South Carolina ranked fourth in the SEC this season in attendance. The average of 11,472, however, is only the fifth-highest of the Martin era. On March 9, after USC rolled Georgia to clinch fourth place in the SEC in front of an announced crowd of 11,927 at the 18,000-seat Colonial Life Arena, Martin was clear on where his program stood — and the perception battles it still fights. “We’ve fought to build a culture here,” Martin said, “and we continue to fight to build it. It’s not there. ... Too many people around here want to speak about our bad days and they don’t want to speak about the totality of the good days. And that’s unfortunate. “But when I talk about apathy, and I’ve talked about that a lot over the last seven years, that’s what I’m talking about. ... I’m extremely proud of where we’re at. I just think that needs to be told and people need to stop talking about South Carolina like we’re still irrelevant like we were seven eight, nine years ago. We’ve earned the right for people to put us in the conversation with the successful programs in this conference.”
  18. Senior Rooster

    Scott Davis: Parched in March

    Scott Davis: Parched in MarchThursday, March 21, 2019 If it’s late March, then it probably means South Carolina isn’t playing basketball. At least if you go by, oh, the last eight decades or so. In the last 20 years, the USC men’s team has made the NCAA Tournament just two times. That’s an average of one, single, solitary Big Dance every decade, in case you’re like me and need help with the math. For a school in a Power 5 conference, there’s no getting around those numbers. They are downright breathtaking (and not in a good way). After the Gamecocks failed to make either the NCAA Tournament or the also-ran NIT, the March postseason drought now seems as everlasting as the tides, the summer heat, sunrise and sunset. But hey, everybody has a rough 20 years or so now and then. To put it in perspective, Vanderbilt has been to the Tournament eight times in the last 20 years. Mississippi State has been seven times, Auburn five. These aren’t schools like Kansas or UCLA I’m referring to here – these are typical, middle-of-the-pack SEC programs, the kinds of competitors that South Carolina simply needs to be keeping pace with. Frank Martin has only been South Carolina’s coach for the last seven of those 20 years, so he can’t be held responsible for the NCAA fortunes (or lack of same) of Dave Odom and Darrin Horn before him. He also had nothing to do with the utter and profound lack of an NCAA Tournament tradition in Columbia that stretches for decades before his arrival (and before his birth as a human being). His single NCAA Tournament appearance at Carolina was one for the ages, as well – it ended in the Final Four, of all places. By every measure, the program has improved substantially since he arrived. And yet, this program is not now a consistent Tournament team after seven seasons under Martin, nor does it appear on the cusp of becoming one. South Carolina still seems like…well, a place with a basketball team that is involved in March Madness once every 10 years or so. If you’re a basketball fan and you love South Carolina, you’re used to this. You’re used to feeling excited about the start of the Tournament and simultaneously deflated that it never includes you. You’re used to briefly switching your allegiance to whatever mid-major Cinderella scores a few upsets and looks poised to make a shocking run. You’re used to Duke doing Duke things, and North Carolina’s Roy Williams prancing and glowering on the sidelines, and exuberant announcers shouting things like “These guys just won’t go away!” regarding upstart underdogs. You’re used to everything except seeing the Gamecocks on a television screen. You’re used to it. But you never get used to it. The Bubble Bursts As I mentioned in this newsletter last week, coach Martin spent the days leading up to the SEC Tournament making an argument that I’m not sure I’ve ever heard a coach make before. Instead of making a case for his team to make the NCAA Tournament, he strongly suggested that they at least belonged on the bubble for making it. I agree. They belonged on the bubble. But they weren’t even held in high enough esteem to make it that far into the equation, as evidenced by the stark reality that the Gamecocks weren’t invited to the lowly NIT after they went one-and-done in the SEC Tourney. Martin has spoken often – and forcefully – about the apathy that he believes surrounds South Carolina basketball. Apathy? Sure. Yes. Amen. This is a program that has made two in NCAA Tournaments in 20 years. I’m going to go ahead and agree that fan enthusiasm is not at an all-time high for a program that almost never goes dancing in March. There are all kinds of reasons why tournament appearances haven’t become the norm during Martin’s tenure. Injuries. Unexpected departures. So-so talent in the South Carolina recruiting territory. You’re going to hear lots of different folks give you lots of different reasons why Carolina can’t ever become a Tournament regular, even though it’s just not all that difficult for most schools of USC’s size and resources to routinely dance at this time of year. But I don’t think most fans are expecting South Carolina to become the next UNC or Duke (or even the next Virginia, or even the next Wichita State). I think they’d just like to enter each season with a belief that there’s a 50-50 chance their club could make the NCAA Tournament. Just like fans of almost every other Power 5 school in the country.
  19. How would you rate the 2018/2019 season and why? Don't be shy, speak what you feel eigher way. Coaching grade? Recruiting grade? Which players can take the Gamecocks to postseason play next season? Can they make a run to even get to the Big Dance or NI? Season grade? What do you want to see? What do you expect next season?
  20. THE DAILY CROW | Is next season “tournament or bust” for Gamecocks HC Frank Martin? iTunes Buzzsprout Stitcher Spotify Google Play
  21. It’s official: South Carolina to host in Charlotte, stick close to home for NCAAs March 18, 2019 South Carolina women’s basketball will be a No. 4 seed in the NCAA tournament, hosting the first two rounds in Charlotte, North Carolina, and playing No. 13 seed Belmont in the first round on Friday. The official NCAA bracket was released shortly after 5 p.m. Monday, two hours earlier than scheduled, because the games were inadvertently leaked earlier in the day on an another ESPN broadcast. USC-Belmont is set for 1:45 p.m. Friday on ESPN2. Should they win, the Gamecocks would then face the winner of No. 5 Florida State-No. 12 Bucknell on Sunday. Beyond that, USC (21-9) would play the Sweet 16 and Elite Eight in Greensboro, North Carolina. A matchup with No. 1 overall seed Baylor potentially awaits in the Sweet 16. Iowa is the No. 2 seed, and North Carolina State is the No. 3 seed. South Carolina’s first two rounds of the tournament will be played at Halton Arena, on the campus of UNC-Charlotte, while Colonial Life Arena hosts the opening rounds of the men’s tournament. The Gamecocks were granted a waiver by the NCAA to play there in February.
  22. The SEC Conference Tournament is one of the most competitive and exciting in the country. The top four teams advanced straight to the quarterfinals, so today we look at a South Carolina team that surprisingly earned a bye agains an Auburn team coming off a convincing second-round win. Let’s take a deep dive on Auburn-South Carolina (3:30 p.m. ET) in the SEC quarterfinals. Auburn (23-9) is coming off an 81-71 win over Missouri in the second round of the SEC Tournament. The Tigers covered by a half point, but have been very average against the spread. Auburn is 14-12-2 ATS including just 5-8-1 on the road. South Carolina (16-15) enjoyed a surprisingly successful season, earning the No. 4 seed in the tournament at 11-7 in conference play. The Gamecocks are 14-13 ATS this season but 5-0 ATS in the last five games against Auburn. These two teams met on Jan. 22, and South Carolina won 80-77. The Gamecocks used their SEC-best 3-point defense to hold the Tigers to 28% (7 of 25) from beyond the arc. That is an essential skill, since Auburn produces a conference-best 45.2% of their points from 3P range. This held true in Auburn’s opening win against Missouri, making 12 three-pointers against the Tigers. Betting Odds: Auburn Tigers vs. South Carolina Gamecocks Spread: Auburn -8 Over/Under: 147 Time: 3:30 p.m. ET TV: ESPN Mike Randle
  23. The first bit of news South Carolina’s produced at the SEC Tournament is good news March 14, 2019 Frank Martin told reporters Thursday night that he anticipates A.J. Lawson returning to the floor Friday afternoon when the Gamecocks face Auburn in a quarterfinal game at Bridgestone Arena. Tip-off is approximately 3:30 p.m. The game will air on ESPN. “The anticipation is that he will play,” Martin said. Lawson, who was named to the All-SEC freshman team Tuesday, missed USC’s previous three games after spraining his left ankle late in the Alabama loss on Feb. 26. He returned to practice this week, including a Thursday morning session in Nashville. Lawson’s playing status will be confirmed, Martin said, after a Thursday night session. Hassani Gravett, the SEC’s Sixth Man of the Year, has replaced the injured Lawson in the starting lineup. That will remain that way Friday, should Lawson be available or not. “I’m going to stick with the five guys who have been starting the last couple games,” Martin said of Gravett, Tre Campbell, Keyshawn Bryant, Felipe Haase and Chris Silva. “If A.J. had had two, three, four full practices under him, I’d probably go back to where we were before. But with all the unknown ... if (Lawson) was an older player that understood how to play after an injury or dealing with an injury — let’s not say after an injury — that’s a different dynamic. Being the first time he’s ever hurt himself in any way, we’re bringing him off the bench and will manage the game accordingly.” Standing in its way is a guard-dominated, pressing Auburn bunch that could potentially wear down the thin Gamecocks. With Lawson, USC has available eight scholarship players. “If A.J.’s available and he can give us a solid number of minutes,” Martin said, “and I feel he’s in a comfortable place in the flow of the game, then we’ll just manage that accordingly. But for some reason, even if he is available, he’s just not very aggressive out there ... and we gotta kind of limit ourselves to Hassani and Tre playing 36 minutes each, then we gotta figure that one out.”
  24. All-SEC teams are out. A pair of South Carolina seniors get high honors March 12, 2019 South Carolina won’t be headed to Nashville without any star power. Ahead of its tournament, the SEC announced Tuesday its coaches’ picks for all-league teams and individual honors Here’s how the Gamecocks fared ... Hassani Gravett is the SEC’s Sixth Man of the Year. The senior guard is averaging 11.6 points. He leads the SEC in 3-point field goal percentage in league play (43.9). He joins Duane Notice (2016) and Brandis Raley-Ross (2009) as Gamecocks who have won this award. Chris Silva is an All-SEC first-team selection for the second straight season. The senior forward is averaging 14.8 points, 7.5 rebounds and 2 blocks a game. He’s the eighth Gamecock to make All-SEC first-team more than one year — and first to do since since Devan Downey in 2010. He also made the league’s all-defensive team. Silva made All-SEC second-team among media voters. A.J. Lawson is an All-SEC freshman team selection. The guard’s averaging 13.9 points, 4.4 rebounds and 3 assists. He’s the first rookie Gamecock to be recognized this way since Sindarius Thornwell in 2014. South Carolina begins SEC Tournament play Friday in a quarterfinal game against either Auburn, Georgia or Missouri. ALL-SEC AWARDS (COACH-VOTED) FIRST TEAM Daniel Gafford, Arkansas PJ Washington, Kentucky Tremont Waters, LSU Breein Tyree, Ole Miss Quinndary Weatherspoon, Mississippi St. Chris Silva, South Carolina Admiral Schofield, Tennessee Grant Williams, Tennessee SECOND TEAM Bryce Brown, Auburn Jared Harper, Auburn Nicolas Claxton, Georgia Tyler Herro, Kentucky Keldon Johnson, Kentucky Skylar Mays, LSU Terence Davis, Ole Miss Jordan Bone, Tennessee All-Freshman Team Kira Lewis Jr., Alabama Isaiah Joe, Arkansas Andrew Nembhard, Florida Tyler Herro, Kentucky Keldon Johnson, Kentucky Naz Reid, LSU Reggie Perry, Mississippi State A.J. Lawson, South Carolina All-Defensive Team Donta Hall, Alabama Daniel Gafford, Arkansas Ashton Hagans, Kentucky Tremont Waters, LSU Chris Silva, South Carolina Coach of the Year: Kermit Davis, Ole Miss Player of the Year: Grant Williams, Tennessee Scholar-Athlete of the Year: Skylar Mays, LSU Freshman of the Year: Keldon Johnson, Kentucky Sixth-Man of the Year: Hassani Gravett, South Carolina Co-Defensive Players of the Year: Tremont Waters, LSU & Ashton Hagans, Kentucky ASSOCIATED PRESS ALL-SEC AWARDS (MEDIA-VOTED) FIRST TEAM (listed alphabetically) Daniel Gafford, Arkansas PJ Washington, Kentucky Tremont Waters, LSU Quinndary Weatherspoon, Mississippi State u-Grant Williams, Tennessee SECOND TEAM Jordan Bone, Tennessee Jared Harper, Auburn Admiral Schofield, Tennessee Chris Silva, South Carolina Breein Tyree, Ole Miss Player of the year: Grant Williams, Tennessee Coach of the year: Kermit Davis, Ole Miss Newcomer of the year: Tyler Herro, Kentucky u-unanimous selection

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