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Oct. 21, 2005

Columbia, SC – With basketball season a week old, South Carolina head basketball coach Dave Odom talked about the Gamecocks pre-season practice and why he’s looking forward to the exhibition with USC-Aiken on Thu. Nov. 10 at 7:30 pm at the Colonial Center.

Q: How has practice gone in the first week?

Odom: Beginning Oct. 15 we went through a period of five days of double session – early morning and late afternoon. After thinking over and viewing practices in total, I was extremely pleased with the work ethic, the approach, the commitment and concentration of our team each and every day. We have improved a lot over the course of the first week, including the conditioning. We have a few bumps and bruises, but nothing significant. I might have gone one day too long without giving them a day off. We might have been better served to give them Wednesday off instead of Thursday. They tired rather badly on that last day; the effort was good, the execution just wasn’t there.

We worked on our offense quite a bit in those first five days. We will now turn our attention to learning the defense. We will start to put the team defense in today. We will work on that in the practices over the weekend and next week.

We will just practice once a day this weekend. Typically we would practice twice a day on the weekend, but with the Homecoming activities and the different things going on this weekend, we decided to practice just once a day.

Q: What are some bright spots this past week?

Odom: Everyone has played well and played up to the level we had hoped they would. They are much improved over a year ago. Our strength right now is our perimeter game and we are working on the post play in our total scheme. Antoine Tisby has played extremely well. The two newcomers, Keving Palacios and Ousmane Konate, both have played hard and at times very well, but they are a little further behind because they don’t know the schemes as well. They will catch up as they go along.

Conditioning is a bit of a problem for both Keving and Ousmane. We are encouraging Keving to lose a bit of weight. Ousmane, although he is heavier, the biggest problem with him is his foot. He had off-season surgery and because of that we have to be careful it doesn’t become inflamed. We have him practice two-three days on, one day off – regardless of what the team does to give him a bit more rest.

Rocky Trice has had an exceptional week. Tarence (Kinsey) has played well. Renaldo (Balkman) has played well. Bryce (Sheldon) is beginning to show us he is catching onto the system. Dwyane Day has also shown quite a bit of improvement since last year.

Q: Is the leadership where it needs to be right now?

Odom: It is developing. I am pleased with it as it starts to develop. It will develop over time.

Q: The team will play USC-Aiken on Nov. 10 as an exhibition at the Colonial Center. Is this an important game for both programs?

Odom: This type of game is good for the state – it’s good for both programs. It gives USC-Aiken significant exposure throughout the state and in the capital city playing in our arena. I am sure there will be a big crowd there. The Gamecocks have a very strong following with the Aiken area with Tony Kitchings (Aiken, SC), Brandon Wallace (Jackson, SC) and Dominique Archie (Augusta, GA) all came from there. There is strong interest in that area with the Gamecocks. This is a good follow-up for us after playing USC Upstate in an exhibition last year. It’s good for us to bring in local teams like this to keep the basketball in the state.

Notes: Coach Odom will work in the television booth with Mike Morgan and George Rogers on the USC-Vanderbilt pay-per-view telecast on Sat, Oct. 22. He will be in the booth in the second and third quarters and talk to Mike during half-time about the Gamecock basketball season … Brandon Wallace and Tre’ Kelley will be joining Coach Odom at SEC Media Day in Birmingham on Wednesday, Oct. 26.