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.