Monthly Archives: March 2012
The TRC crew returned with Unleashed – Episode 21, and covered among other things:
- The hiring of Frank Martin
- Adding Kansas State to the list of schools/places that suck (along with CTU)
- Eric Hyman props
- Some in-depth spring practice observations (I’m not kidding)
- This week in Dabo
- If Cheech Marin has been added as a coach at UGA
Listen up! It’s a good episode, I’m not kidding about that either.
- How in the world we passed over Tommy Amaker for Frank Martin
- The strange case of Ray Tanner pinch-hitting Michael Roth
- Women’s basketball (just kidding)
- Carolina’s Pro Day
- This week in Dabo!!!
Listen live, or listen later, right here:
If all goes as planned – and as Gamecock fans we know to be extremely cautious with our expectations and emotions – Frank Martin should be announced as the new head basketball coach at South Carolina tomorrow morning. This is an outstanding hire for USC, and anyone who thinks differently is just plain stupid (but I respect your stupid opinion).
Let’s begin by looking at some of the other names mentioned during the search:
- Tubby Smith – blah, this ain’t 1998 people, and it may not have panned out that well even if it was.
- Tommy Amaker – double blah. Sure, he got Harvard to the tournament this year, but his stint at Michigan was a disaster.
- Shaka Smart – If he didn’t go to Illinois, there was no way he was coming here. Aside from Smart’s Final Four last year, Martin’s resume is still more impressive.
- Jeff Capel/Steve Alford – Medium-sized names, but a second chance at the big time was not what we needed to offer here.
- Gregg Marshall – Ah, here we go. You want to get some feathers ruffled, this is the topic to do it with. Hey, I don’t deny Marshall has done a great job at both Winthrop and Wichita State, but he would still be my second choice at best here.
As for Martin, he took a moribund Kansas State program that had gone to two NCAA tournaments in 15 years, and proceeded to take them to the dance in four of his five years. His tournament teams won at least one game each time they participated (a fact that should not be lost on the University of South 1973! Carolina) and in 2010 took the Wildcats to the Elite Eight where they were upset by Butler.
Martin is an ace recruiter, having brought talent to KSU from Florida, Texas, New York and Ohio among other states. He landed McDonald’s All-American Michael Beasley and Parade All-American Bill Walker to Manhattan, Kansas. He took lightly recruited guard Jacob Pullen and developed him into a Devan Downey-like point guard on his team that went to the Elite Eight. With the much-lamented dearth of talent in the state of South Carolina, it will be interesting to see if he can lure the same type of thoroughbreds to Columbia. (BTW, on a local radio show today former Texas coach Tom Penders said of Manhattan, KS – “Even on a nice day there’s a 40 mile an hour wind blowing dirt in your face.” That must’ve taken quite a salesman. Columbia sounds like Turks and Caicos compared to central Kansas. Side note: No offense Omaha, we still love you and want you to move to South Carolina but understand you have commitments.)
Frank Martin is an A++ hire for South Carolina. A guy with a national brand (the media loves him), a proven winner at a high level, an outstanding recruiter, and an intense teacher of the game.
Many people were calling for a “Spurrier-like” hire for our basketball program. Given our realistic options, I’d say Frank Martin is just that.
On to the sweep…
I’d rather be lucky…Gamecock Man over at Garnet and Black Attack beat me to writing about it, but one of my predominant thoughts once the Frank Martin hire started to look realistic was “lucky”. Lucky because if Martin and Kansas State AD John Currie had even a decent relationship, Martin would’ve never even peeked southward at our job. It appears Currie and Martin had a strained relationship at best, and once Currie suspended Jamar Samuels from the NCAA tournament shortly before the Wildcats’ first round game, the relationship was irreparably damaged. Eric Hyman pounced, and Martin apparently saw a shiny new arena and better support and resources in South Carolina, and jumped at the position.
Mad props to the Tar Heel. Speaking of Eric Hyman, we spend quite a bit of time giving our AD the business over various issues, but he deserves quite a bit of credit for this move. It has been fast, stealthy, efficient, and hopefully tomorrow…FINAL.
Almost Pro Day. Gamecock Pro Timing Day is Wednesday, and we will all be on the edge of our seats to see if C.C. Whitlock can perform well enough to work himself into the late rounds of the draft. Oh, and Stephen Garcia will be in town too. I hope he has some good, Christian handlers with him (not Baptists though, which I’m sure goes without saying).
Redemption Time. Alshon Jeffery gets a chance Wednesday to reverse his fortunes after a disastrous non-performance at the NFL Combine. He needs a big day to move back into the upper half of the second round. A monster day could get him back into the first round, but even with that the doubt he has created may be too much to overcome.
Last place don’t feel too good. However, I feel better about our baseball team after this past weekend at Florida. Being able to win one game and take the other down to the wire against Florida was, in my estimation, a step in the right direction. UF is by far the best team in the country, and the way we played most of the weekend tells me we are still upper echelon, even with our abundance of youth and inexperience. The record will take care of itself as long as we can stabilize the Saturday and Sunday starters. The season don’t start until June, folks.
Jesus loves CTU. That’s the only explanation I can give for the report that CTU is a finalist for the nation’s number one recruit, DE Robert Nkemdiche. At various points his leader has been Alabama, LSU and Ole Miss (one of these things is not like the other because his brother plays for the Rebels). After a couple of visits to the upstate with teammates, now a trifecta (Nkemdiche and his two teammates) for the kitties doesn’t seem to be out of the realm of possibility. We can make fun and taunt and put flaming dog poo on his porch, but somehow Dabo is doing something right on the recruiting trail. (cough…$$$$$…cough…oh, Robert, looks like you dropped something)
70-33. Just felt the need to add that after semi-complimenting Dabo.
Girl power. Congratulations to Dawn Staley and the Lady G’s for their impressive season and deep run in the women’s tourney. TRC has now surpassed our quota for writing about women’s basketball by 300%.
Yay for us.
As most of you have already heard/read/screamed like a little girl about, the University of South Carolina Board of Trustees called a special meeting for Tuesday morning at 10:00 am. Per numerous media outlets, this meeting will involve an executive session (i.e. closed to public) discussion regarding a “contractual matter.”
What, you may be asking, is this innocuous-sounding “contractual matter”?
Based on our well-placed and nonexistent sources, we are confident that the meeting will almost certainly be about one of the following:
- The re-hiring of Darrin Horn. Based on the not-so-subtle jabs he’s currently taking at us (ouch and ouch!) we’ve rethought the firing and are begging him to return. Oh, and Calipari thinks he’s the right fit for the job.
- An amendment to the HBC’s contract, requiring him to wear a shirt in public. Once was funny, but the second time is like peeking at your old man in the shower. Or worse, your mother.
- The addition to campus of an actual Dave Odom Memorial Credibility Warchest, which each of our major sport’s head coaches will be required to fill. With gamecock championship banners. And soon.
- The firing of Ray Tann . . . I can’t even type it. It’s that beyond ridiculous.
- The hiring of Ray Tanner as Athletic Director. Now that came off the fingertips nice and sssmmoooottthhh.
- Approval of construction of a bronze statue outside the CLA of Gregg Marshall for his lifetime contribution to college basketball.
- Clarification of the Spur position. Is it an outside linebacker? Is it a safety? The BOT’s limited football acumen needs satisfying AAARRGGGGGHHHHHH!!!
- Deeding CTU back over to the ACC. Turns out that owning them is boring. Oh, and they smell like the low piece of the pasture, if you know what I mean.
- The reinstatement of Stephen Garcia.
- Approval of the contract that will make Frank Martin the head basketball coach at South Carolina. One second thought: naw, couldn’t be something that good.
Everything we know at TRC, listed as quickly as we possibly can:
- Tubby Smith is a great choice for South Carolina’s MBB coaching vacancy. In other news from 1998, There’s Something About Mary is hilarious, Dale Earnhardt (Senior) finally own the Daytona 500, and these cute little Beanie Babies are really gonna be worth something someday.
- Our Baseball team is horrible. And our Baseball team is great. Or something, but clearly Price is a closer and Koumas is a starter.
- WBB coach Dawn Staley is kinda hot. There, I said it. And I don’t mean like she’s a hot coaching prospect. Oh, and we’re in the Sweet Sixteen, so she’s also a hot coaching prospect.
- Spring Practice is BORING this year. Which is good, I guess. And probably 90% attributable to the fact that Stephen Garcia has exhausted his eligibility. The other 10% is attributable to the fact that all our starters are on the sidelines watching.
- If you aren’t already, you need to be following the college football sub-reddit. If you aren’t familiar with reddit, then here’s a good sample: a hilarious look inside what trends are disturbing some of the other CFB fanbases.
What could possibly cause Bruce Ellington to announce one week he’s giving up football to play basketball exclusively, then turn around the following week and say he’s reconsidering his decision?
My guess is he went back and watched 2004’s most excellent sports movie Friday Night Lights, and specifically the scene where Boobie Miles realizes his football career is over:
Video note: Public Enemy jacket, mid-top fade, acid wash jeans – like looking in a mirror from 1988.
OK, maybe the thought of never playing football again spurred by a movie scene isn’t it. My guess is 23 immediately regretted his decision, and decided to talk to the HBC about it. To the HBC’s credit he apparently didn’t try to talk Bruce into anything, probably helped him sort through all the pros and cons, and told him to sit on it a for a few days before making a final, final, final decision.
My personal feeling is he made the right decision when he chose basketball only, but I admit that’s the selfish fan in me speaking. Ellington is exciting on the football field, but his 317 yards from scrimmage and 2 TD’s can be replaced. He has great potential as a kick returner, but so do three or four other guys on the team.
He is critical to the success of our basketball program. His sophomore numbers were similar to his freshman numbers, but the games and practices he missed hurt both the team and his personal development. I don’t blame the guy for doing it, mind you. Again, I’m just being a selfish basketball fan who really wants to see this program get turned around in a hurry.
I fully expect his final decision to be football and basketball again. And I’ll be excited to see him do both, even if I disagree with it.
On to the sweep…
The Rumor Mill. Eric Hyman made an interesting statement when announcing the new basketball coach search, essentially saying “whatever rumors you hear, they ain’t coming from me or my department.” But it has also not stopped the mill from turning.
Gregg Marshall is fading, asking for too much money. Frank Martin (LOVE) is the hot name today, even though he’s been out recruiting for Kansas State since their elimination from the NCAA tournament. Tommy Amaker is a top candidate. Tubby Smith is going to get a good look. Shaka Smart would be on the list, but he appears to be headed to Illinois. Steve Alford’s season at New Mexico has put him in the conversation.
All of the above appear to be nothing more than rousing from the rabble that run blogs and post on message boards. If Hyman is to be believed, nobody knows nothin’. And frankly that’s the way I like it.
If I were a betting man, I’d take the field over anybody listed above.
Falling Skies. I keep up with our baseball team pretty closely, but I have to admit on opening day when I looked at our roster I was taken aback. While we have a deep starting pitching staff, and some veterans out of the pen, many days our lineup consists of anywhere from five to seven newcomers. Talented newcomers, no doubt, but newcomers nonetheless.
That didn’t make the weekend sweep at the hands of a fired up Kentucky team any easier to take, though. So far this team is lacking timely hits and its play in the field has left a lot to be desired. With a home series with #1-ranked Florida on the horizon things certainly don’t get any easier.
There is definitely reason for concern, but nobody needs to panic just yet. There will be bumps in the road, but as the lineup gets settled and some of the freshmen get more acclimated to the college game this team will win on a consistent basis.
I can see this team hosting a regional, but probably not a super. But with Roth, Price, Holmes, Webb et al on the mound, I still like our chances to get back to Omaha.
And if we are 1-5 or 0-6 after this weekend, don’t go trying to buy fireraytanner.com. This program is built to win for many years to come.
MMT&A. Are you a fan of MMA/UFC? First, The Ultimate Fighter on Friday nights on Spike TV is a serious adrenaline rush. I recommend. Second, watch this promo of the March 3 fight between Ronda Rousy and Miesha Tate. Then watch the entire fight itself.
Now that’s entertainment.
Yesterday something significant happened in all the major sports. Well, maybe not women’s basketball, but since they announced an NCAA tourney bid the day before, we can cut Coach Staley and her charges some slack.
First the big news. As in BIG NEWS. After only 18 months of needing to do it, AD Eric Hyman quickly moved to relieve MBB Coach Darrin Horn of his duties. In listening to the press conference yesterday, I was struck by how reasonable and deliberate the AD sounded, which must mean I fell asleep and dreamed the whole thing, or its time to up my welbutrin script. Again.
One thing Hyman made clear was that money would not be a problem in the search for a replacement candidate. Despite hinting that the Horn hire was necessitated by a much weaker financial situation four years ago, the AD stressed repeatedly that the Gamecock front office was now willing to pay whatever “the market” required to hire a top flight coach. [If you will recall, "the market" is a rough equivalent of what it took to "put a smile" on Cecil Newton's face during the sale of his son to the Auburn Tigers. But I digress. . . ] At the risk of interrupting my longstanding Anti-Hyman meme in this space, I think we can relax and trust our resident Tarheel to get it right this time. Maybe. /pops another welbutrin tablet.
As if this wasn’t enough, yesterday was also the first day of Spring Practi-football, football, FOOOTBAAALLLLLLL!!!- and as is usually the case, the news came fast and furious: Jadeveon Clowney isn’t going to class, Kenny Miles isn’t NOT going to practice, and Marcus Lattimore can now run in a straight line. Oh, and Devonte Holloman is playing
safety spur safety spur safety spur again, and that allows Demario Jeffrey to slide over to will spur will spur will spur will, his more natural position (despite all the coaching changes, its nice to know that nothing has really changed).
Other mini bombshells, such as Corey Robinson to
DL OL buffet DL OL and Qua Gilchrist to fullback, deserve a mention, if for no other reason than to mention those two cats for the first time in the history of TRC. Deangelo Smith, last years Taqiy Muhammed Award winner, (awarded by TRC staff to the most dominant performer in a scrimmage environment) was, at least for now, named first team wideout.
At the Quarterback position, this spring promises to look exactly like the last five – no Stephen Garcia.
In news of a more mundane nature, the baseball team defeated Charleston Southern 5-2, and the Softball squad dropped both sides of a double header to the Bizzaro Dawgs.