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Dec. 8, 2006

South Carolina head coach Dave Odom talked to the media on Friday afternoon to preview the Baylor game. USC travels to Waco on Sat., Dec. 9 for a 6 pm contest. He was later joined by seniors Brandon Wallace and Tre’ Kelley.

The following are some of Odom’s comments:

“Obviously the game against Baylor qualifies as one of the worst scheduling jobs of all time. When I scheduled the game it was the end of the spring, in May, and you think you will have a full compliment of players. As it’s turned out we are three or four players short of what we thought we would have when we made the schedule. On top of that, I am going to choke three or four Big 12 head coaches I called to talk to them about the game. They said it was a good idea. After watching Baylor on tape, it was not a good move on my part. I would pay to see them play Clemson. I think Clemson is a really good team. This crowd is quick on the perimeter and shoot well on the perimeter. They have three really good guards. They are quick and they can drive. They really do have a good team. They play zone, they play man, and they do it all.

“All that’s the bad news, but the good news is we have a great opportunity to upset a really good team on their home court. That’s what I am focused on and that’s what I want my team focused on. I look forward to the challenge and I am excited about it. This is what I’ve tried to get my team focused on with the games in California and at The Citadel.

“Outside of the win itself, the best thing about the Charleston game was that we won the game, but Dominique didn’t score and Tre’ didn’t score but four points. That proves we can win games without some of our most productive offensive players scoring.

“Another note was Brandon Wallace. I’ve been waiting a long time for him to play a complete game and to rise to the charge as a leader. He is a leader right now. He is handling the ball well and reaching out to his teammates. I want to give him a lot of credit for that. I am really pleased with that. We have two guys who can reach out to their teammates – I don’t want Brandon to take a leadership role in place of Tre’, but beside him.

“The Baylor game is an important game in a lot of ways. We have exams next week and then 3-4 days of practice before we play Princeton. We want to close the pre-exam period with confidence.

“The big key in this game is going to be tempo, tempo, tempo. If they get their average and we get ours, it’s not much of a game. We have to control the tempo on our offensive end and our shot selection becomes very important. We will have to run the clock down when we have the ball.

“Hopefully this is our last game without Chad Gray. I am not saying he will save us, but he will help. There is nothing he can do until after graduation (Dec. 18) and that’s if it’s all in order. But we have a very difficult assignment tomorrow night and that’s what we are focused on.”

Comments from senior Brandon Wallace

On playing at Baylor

“They are a pretty deep team. They have a McDonald’s All-American coming off the bench. I am looking forward to it. Right before exams it might be something I dread, traveling, but when we come back we can focus on the exams. I have never been to Texas.”

Are you going after the career blocks record? Can you get it?

“I think so. I need to have a season like last season and that will be enough to get it.”

USC is 5-2. What are some things this team needs to improve on?

“Rebounding and defense. In the past we had a pretty good defense so that we could depend on it. Now we have to concentrate on it more.”

“We know Tre’ will be the point guard, but other than that we are looking to find the right combination of people. We have to find people that are consistent.”

Comments from senior Tre’ Kelley

On Brandon Wallace stepping up as a leader

“As point guard you have a lot of things on your shoulders and it’s great to have another guy who brings the same thing to the team. It was something I expected from him. He’s been in every game I’ve been in and every practice I’ve been in. He wants to win. He is a great competitor. He has stepped up and spoken as a leader.

“We are the best of friends off the court. We compliment each other in everything we do. I am trying to have all assists in the world and he is trying to have all the blocked shots in the world. When that person is your friend, it gives you a lot of confidence.

“As I leader, I don’t try to get as hyped. I scream some things, but he brings the most physical fire and verbal fire on the court. He is always yelling and he is always pumped. I am laid back. We are individuals. When I have something to say, I like to talk to my teammates individually in my room, but he is the guy that gets everyone involved.

“We have spent a lot of time together. We lived together in the dorms. We have just been around each other a lot and learned each other’s personalities. As leaders we look to each other and expect the same things. As freshmen we wanted to have an impact on the team. We talked about how I would have an impact and how he would. I think the leadership is really kicking in.”