SEC Basketball Media Day: South Carolina

Formerly with Kansas State,newly-hired South Carolina coach Frank Martin will begin the challenge of rebuilding a Gamecocks program gutted by offseason departures. South Carolina had two starters transfer following former coach Darrin Horn’s firing, including Anthony Gill’s move to Virginia and Demontre Harris’ in-conference switch to Florida. Martin must also start the season without possibly his best scorer as point guard Bruce Ellington (11 points per game) doubles as a wide receiver on the football team.

South Carolina coach Frank Martin:

On what made the opportunity to become South Carolina’s head coach so enticing:

There are a lot of similarities. People tend to forget that you couldn’t get a seat in the Frank McGuire Coliseum back in the day. We are rekindling that passion and reconnecting that great past with the

present. I saw a lot of the same passion for their school when I with people who had a history with South Carolina. People that work there, that didn’t graduate from there, the way that they spoke of their fans and their alums and the passion that they have for their school. There were a lot of similarities there with the kind of passion that Kansas State people have. I think I said it the day I got hired; I like challenges. I’ve been taking challenges my whole life. I was just kind of intrigued by it and thought that I would take a chance and give it a go.  

On how he sells South Carolina basketball to recruits:

Here is the deal, good players want to play for schools where their fans care. When you go to a football game and there is 85,000 people in your stands and you go to baseball and there is 9,000 people and you go to volleyball games and it is standing room only, it is pretty clear and evident that the people at South Carolina care. They don’t just care for a sport. They care for their school, they care for their teams and we make sure we let people that we are recruiting know how much they care. Sometimes things happen. This is a business. Every other multi‐million dollar company in the world depends on grown people. College athletics is the only multi‐million dollar corporation in the world that depends on 18 and 19 year olds. Sometimes it’s looked upon as the job not getting done when it’s not that far off. It’s just that you’re dealing with kids. I think that all of us sitting around this table right now would agree that if we thought back to when we were 18 and 19, we weren’t very intelligent. We didn’t make too many good decisions. Heck, I still don’t make any good decisions at 46. It’s that passion that people have for our program is coming through loud and clear.  

On if there were any surprises after taking the South Carolina job:

I don’t want to say that anything surprised me. You know it’s just getting to know the whole landscape because every place is different. I’ll tell you what surprised me, I had an AD change about an hour into my job it felt like. I’ll say this, Darrin [Horn] did a heck of a job. There is a foundation in place. The wins and losses aren’t where people wanted them to be. I know that the kids weren’t happy with the wins and losses. I’m sure that Darrin and his staff weren’t happy with the wins and losses. There is a lot of structure in place that has allowed us to come in and build rather than have to recreate a foundation. A lot of times we get confused. We think that we are leading a company or leading a university. You aren’t leading a company or a university. You are leading people. I’m excited about the people that we are leading. It’s been a pretty smooth transition. I don’t know if I’m surprised by anything.

Courtesy of SEC Digital Network