SEC Basketball Notebook: Gamecocks looking to capitalize on Final Four run

Justin Rowland, Publisher
Cats Illustrated

South Carolina basketball fans were on cloud nine when their Gamecocks made one of the most improbable Final Four runs in NCAA Tournament history back in March.

But now they're hoping for an encore. Nobody believes South Carolina is a Final Four frontrunner in 2017-18. Not without Sindarius Thornwell and P.J. Dozier. But Frank Martin, on Monday's SEC Summer Basketball Teleconference, spoke about the opportunity presented by his program's unlikely run.



"Business as usual around here," Frank Martin said during his opening comments on Monday's phone call with reporters.

Yeah, right. For South Carolina basketball in 2017, nothing seems to be business as usual.

Then again, with Frank Martin, it might not be that surprising.

Martin, the unflinching disciplinarian who sticks to his approach in good times and in bad, this time of year is about setting a tone. Every time of year is about setting a tone. Now it's about summer workouts, recruiting and "raising money for cancer," he said.

Martin was asked, as was just about every SEC coach on Monday, about his thoughts on the state of one and done in college basketball.

"First of all, it's too complicated an answer," Martin said, before offering his "cliffnotes" response (he's never been in favor).

"I don't believe anyone should ever surprise anyone the opportunity to work," he said.

Frank Martin hasn't been personally impacted by 'one and done' too much recently, but there's a chance that could become more likely after last season's tournament run.

With prosperity on the court, one would have to hope, the opportunity exists for improved recruiting.

"Anytime you have the opportunity to play on that platform (at the Final Four) it opens up doors," Martin said. "It has more people speaking about you. It validates that you can win at South Carolina. It doesn't necessarily make recruiting easier. What I've tried to explain to people is our recruiting pool got bigger."

But Martin is quick to emphasize that he's not just going to automatically recruit a five-star kid over a four-star, when he might not have had a shot with the former in the past. Better athletes, more skilled basketball players - that's all great.

Martin just emphasizes that he "still has to find the right guys and build relationships. ... (They) don't want to take somebody that's real talented that doesn't fit here."

So while the recruiting pool has expanded, Martin's tough, no-nonsense approach certainly won't be changing.

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