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Oct. 6, 2006 will feature each of the Gamecock Basketball players throughout the pre-season with its own version of HOOP DREAMS.

With the college basketball season set to tip-off with practice the next day, the South Carolina men’s and women’s basketball teams will host HARDWOOD HOOPLA 2006 as part of Spend an Evening with the Gamecocks on Fri., Oct. 13 in the USC Basketball Practice Facility/Volleyball Competition Facility (see for more details).

Today talks with Bryce Sheldon, a senior guard from Anaheim, Calif. Sheldon, nicknamed `B Easy’, chose USC over Fresno State after attending Fullerton College. He averaged 13.2 mpg, 4.1 ppg, 0.6 rpg and 0.6 apg last season. He had an added presence in the Gamecock line-up as the season wore on as a shooter as he made at least two 3s in 10 games, including 4 3s twice.

USC: What are you looking forward to most about the upcoming season?

BS: I’m definitely looking forward to us gelling as a team and for us to prove all he doubters wrong. There are a lot of people writing us off because we lost Renaldo (Balkman), Tarence (Kinsey), Rocky (Trice) and (Antoine) Tisby.

USC: What do you enjoy doing when you have free time?

BS: I love to sleep and take naps. I also like to relax and watch DVDs. I’m not too active. I try to just lay low.

USC: How did you spend your off-season?

BS: The off-season was exciting because we worked hard all summer. We got a lot of shots up everyday, got extra conditioning and got ourselves in shape. I think it’s going to help us a lot this year.

USC: You and Tre’ roomed together this summer. How was that? Any good stories?

BS: There are a lot of good stories that we will keep between the two of us (laughing). It defiantly brought us closer together. We laughed a lot. He has a really outgoing personality when you get to know him. Tre’s a very good cook. He has his own special recipe for chicken shake and bake. I am all microwave and I will cook pasta here and there.

USC: You look like you’ve lost weight? After working out so hard in the off-season so you feel like you are in good shape?

BS: I am in the best shape since I have been here. At practice last year I would get tired easy. This year I felt like I needed to lose a few pounds to get quicker and defiantly get in better shape. I ran all summer long with Matt Jennings on the treadmill. I would also run stairs with Tre’ with weighted vests. I also tried to eat healthy. When I went home in August I continued to run and just didn’t sit around. I wanted to stay in shape.

I have tried to cut out all the fast food. Now that I have my own apartment I am cooking a lot of pasta dishes and I eat a lot of salads. My favorite dish to make is my Grandma Carol’s pasta dish. It’s a home recipe – it’s a cold pasta salad with celery, onion, light mayo, sweet pickles, but the rest a secret. It’s so good.

USC: What did you do to prepare for this season?

BS: I took it as a challenge. Being my senior year, I looked at it like it’s the last go-round for me, Tre and Brandon. We’re definitely going to give it our all. In the preseason and the off-season we worked so hard, so we’re ready to get this thing going.”

USC: What do you do to prepare for games?

BS: I always like to read scouting reports over a few times and watch a lot of film. Mentally, I like to just know I’m ready to play. I always make sure to get enough sleep, and I stay focused on what we have to do.”

USC: Do you have any pre-game rituals?

BS: I always take a pre-game nap. I also always have to put my right sock on first before a game.

USC: Who are your role models?

BS: I consider everyone in my family a role model because they’ve always supported me. No one probably ever thought I’d be here except for my mom and my family. Coming from California to South Carolina is a big jump, and they’ve always been there to support me.

USC: What made you want to come all the way South Carolina? BS: I came on a recruiting visit and really enjoyed it. The coaching staff is amazing. The players welcomed me with open arms. My father lives in Manhattan, so it’s a chance to get close with him. I love the fans and the whole Gamecock Nation.

USC: With so many new players, you guys have worked to bond together a lot in the early going. Do you hang out quite a bit off the court?

BS: We do hang out quite a bit off the court. We are a family. At the Auburn game (ESPN, Sept. 28), Tre’, Evka, Mitchell, Brandon and I were up in the student section standing, jumping, screaming and interacting with the fans. There was a guy two rows in front of us that every time a song came on he would dance. He was a great dancer, he knew all the dances – he would do a pop-lock – everything. It was great; fans were yelling at us and giving us high fives so it was a good feeling. I know a lot of the football players from East Quad so it was good to see them play well.

USC: What has been your favorite moment at USC?

BS: Winning at Florida. We went in there as the underdogs and basically did it for Renaldo and Tarence because they’re from Florida. Another fine moment was winning the NIT and getting my first ring as a basketball player. The first day of practice last year was also memorable. It was my first year at a big-time college. I just remember getting excited to play in front of 15,000 fans instead of playing in front of 250 where I was playing before.

USC: Was it a big adjustment coming from a junior college?

BS: At junior colleges there’s not a lot of fan support. It’s really just your family and friends that are at the games. It’s an adjustment coming from California to Columbia. It’s kind of like night and day. Most importantly, the fans are so great here.

USC: What’s one thing most people may not know about you?

BS: I’m a mama’s boy.

USC: Is there anything else you’d like to share with the Gamecock fans?

BS: We’ve worked extremely hard, we’re gonna play our best and we’re gonna go out on top.