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Oct. 20, 2003

The Gamecock men’s basketball team practiced twice today. USC will not practice on Tuesday, will practice once on Wednesday, prior to hitting the courts twice daily on Thursday, Friday and Saturday.

Tre Kelly sprained his ankle in practice on Saturday afternoon. He did not practice on Sunday or Monday morning, but came back to practice this afternoon.

USC head coach Dave Odom felt the team was a bit sluggish at the 6:00 am practice this morning, but came back in the afternoon for the 4:00 pm practice much more alert and played as they learned quite a bit in the morning. “We were much sharper mentally this afternoon,” said Odom. “We worked on fast breaks and half-court sets this morning. This afternoon we started work on building our man-to-man defense.”

Odom said their shooting has already improved due to more mature guard play. He said the team will work on shooting drills at the beginning and the end of each practice, while last year they worked on shooting drills only once during practice.

“We are much faster and quicker with our guards,” said Odom. “We will have to continue to improve in this area because we won’t begin the season with an established low post game because we don’t have much experience at that position (without the services of Rolando Howell for the first 12 games).”

Odom feels like the team is responding very well and seems especially determined to have a turn-around season. “They are working very hard,” said Odom. “Many times seniors get bored at the beginning of practice, but this year they have to stay tuned both physically and mentally because the younger players are challenging them. We had hoped this would happen.”

Odom continues to be pleased with the play of sophomore Tarence Kinsey, who he says has picked up the level of his game significantly in the last week. He is also excited about the play of junior-transfer Josh Gonner who has is learning the system well. “He needs to finish his lay-ups, but he seems to enjoy playing at the 22-25 foot range,” added Odom.

Odom said Mike Boynton continues to show great leadership and has improved in every area of his game.

“The post players had a good day today. As Paulius gets in better shape and his legs get stronger, he shows more balance,” said Odom. “John Chappell is our best inside shooter right now. Carlos Powell is also playing very steady and has improved his defensive abilities quite a bit.”