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Dec. 14, 2006

Columbia, SC – Not going to the Liberty Bowl? USC Head Coach Dave Odom, who met on Thursday with the media and his comments follow below, is inviting fans to come watch the second half on the jumbotron at the Colonial Center followed by Gamecock Basketball vs. Jacksonville! For those fans that are going to the bowl game or will be out of town for the holidays, they are encouraged to bring their unused tickets to the Princeton game (Dec. 20). They can also drop their tickets off at the Colonial Center ticket office. USC will then donate them to the Boy’s and Girl’s Club and a number of other local school children who otherwise would not be able to attend the game.

On the 29th, USC will open the Colonial Center at 5:30 pm for fans to watch the second half of the Liberty Bowl. The concession stands will be open with slashed prices on selected items. Cocky and the cheerleaders will be on hand to help cheer on Steve Spurrier’s Gamecock football team as well. USC will have special giveaways for fans during the second half of the Liberty Bowl, including tickets and Gamecock gear.

There will be a special table set up at the front door for fans to drop off their unused tickets for the Dec. 28 and 29 games at the Princeton game (Wed., Dec. 20). In addition, beginning Fri., Dec. 15, fans not using their tickets are encouraged to bring their tickets off at the USC Ticket Office at the Colonial Center. USC will donate the tickets to children who otherwise would not be able to attend the games, including the Boy’s and Girl’s Club, the Salvation Army, etc. It’s for a good cause!

The basketball game, which was scheduled to start at 7 pm, will now begin at 8 pm or 15 minutes after the football game ends. The game will be shown on tape-delay on CSS at 10 pm that same night.

Odom met with the media on Thursday and made these comments:

“Each year around the holiday season we take special care when making out our schedule with regards to many things. This year we have been able to work out a schedule that is fan friendly due to the Liberty Bowl on the 29th. Being able to open the Colonial Center at 5:30 to let fans watch the second half of the football game before the basketball game will work out for a number of people. We will have reduced concession prices, etc. It won’t be a distraction to the basketball team. We will be able to shoot and get ourselves warmed up. It will actually enhance our warm-up. I think our players will have fun with it.

“Bringing the unused season tickets for the 28th and 29th is a really good idea. We will collect the tickets and our staff will divide them up and get them to people who normally wouldn’t go to the game. If we have 12,000 fans going to the Liberty Bowl, I would be surprised if there weren’t 5000 that also have basketball tickets. They won’t go to waste and they will be in Gamecock fans hands. It’s also nice to be able to give at this time of the year. I am encouraged by it and appreciate the university working with us on this.

“We should always have a box at the ticket office where people can donate their unused tickets. I wish we had that ongoing, particularly during the holiday season when people tend to scatter.

“We will hopefully have two big Gamecock victories that night and everyone will be really excited!”

The media also asked Coach Odom questions following the announcement:

Media: Will you be able to sustain the momentem of the Baylor win with so much time off between that game and the Princeton game (Dec. 20 in the Colonial Center at 7 pm)?

Odom: “I think so. We are challenging them in practice every day and our practices have been very good. I am pleased with the progress of our team. Offensively we are doing what we need to do to be getting better. We are adding some things. As long as you aren’t standing pat, you are challenging them both mentally and physically then I think you have a chance to continue to improve.

“We took Sunday and Monday off from team practice with some individual work on Monday afternoon. We have practiced Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday and then we will take Friday off. We will go back it Saturday – Tuesday and then we play on Wednesday against Princeton. We will practice the morning of the 21st and then they will leave at Noon that day. They will be off from the 21st at Noon until 2 pm on the 26th. That’s a really long break for a college basketball team.”

Media: Any update on Chad Gray?

Odom: “We are still going through normal admission protocol. He has finished his exams. The final transcript is being processed and delivered to admissions. He will be available on the 20th if he is admitted in school. We have to go through the process. I feel good that the university will review, but beyond that we will see. Reports are that he did very well at Midlands Tech. Hopefully our university will agree.

“As soon as we know an answer, we will let you know. He has come by some practices in the past week more regularly because he feels that it could be imminent.”

Media: Is he someone that could help immediately or do you see him as someone that has to go through the growing process like Dominique (Archie)?

Odom: “Dominique was in a different situation because he had so many older guys in front of him. We haven’t seen Chad play with our group yet. It’s the same as a student enrolling at mid-semester and being responsible for the whole semester. That’s what he is faced with and that’s what we are faced with. If he is admitted and he is on our team, the most he would have is one day of practice and then the Princeton game on Wednesday night. How much he would play that night depends upon the game and other factors.

“I am not thinking about redshirting him. I think he is ready to play and he is certainly good enough to help us in some way. It’s up to me and him and our team to figure out which way that is.”

Media: What position do you expect for him to help you in?

Odom: “I think he is a lot like Dominique. Size wise they are about the same height, he might be 7-8 lbs. heavier than Dominique. He will play the 3, the 4. He is somewhere in the frontcourt. It’s hard for me to say what his role is, but basically it will be the same as the rest of the players and coaches on the team – help in anyway you can help, any role you can fill. His role at the end of the day is to help the team at the end of the day as best as he can be. I know that’s vague, but that’s really what it is.”

Media: Brandis Raley-Ross was named Freshman of the Week again by the SEC. He was a kid that didn’t get a lot of publicity coming in. Has this been a pleasant surprise?

Odom: “I think when we put out our list of signees in the spring and I know I certainly said at the beginning of fall practice that he was the most ready to help us. He was out the first 7-8 days of practice so he was a little bit behind when we played South Carolina State and on our California trip. He still have a lot of work to do, but the thing about him is that he is not afraid to take a big shot, make a big drive, rebound the ball against someone bigger.”