Skip to main content
Partner logo
Mobile Icon Link Mobile Icon Link Mobile Icon Link Gamecocks+

Dec. 27, 2006

The USC basketball team, 7-2, hosts UNC Asheville, 4-7, on Thur., Dec. 28 at 6 pm and then Jacksonville, 4-8, Fri., Dec. 29 at 8 pm. USC Head Coach Dave Odom met with the media on Wednesday to preview the games.

Dave Odom previewed the next few days:

“We enter a really important time for us. We are up to the max in terms of games in short order. It’s a great time for some of the guys that have earned playing time to get some, but we have to be very serious about these two games. I am very pleased with the way the team came back. I was really worried about how they would do and they are in good shape with 4-5 days off. We have worked extremely hard on our defense the past two days and our offense. We are beginning to understand what we are capable of doing on defense.

“The 6 pm starts on Dec. 28 is new for us, but really important. It gives us a bit more tie to recover for the next day’s game. I’ve been friends with the Asheville coach since I’ve been in basketball. They could be the tallest team in the country. They have a 7’6 kid who can dunk without leaving the floor. They have a veteran team coming back. We have to be ready for them. You have to put your best foot forward, put the fight to them.

“The last two days we have practiced four times by the end of the day today. I like the two-day deal back-to-back. If you win a game in the SEC Tournament, you have to play back-to-back and we hope we don’t get tripped up on it.”

How did the back-to-back games happen?

Odom: “We tried to get Jacksonville at a different time, but they will be north of Jacksonville and they wanted to make one trip instead of two trips. The only day we could get them to play was on the 29th. When the bowl came up on the 29th, we tried to get the game changed to the 30th, but Jacksonville couldn’t do it.

“I saw an opportunity to do it (play back-to-back games) and took advantage of it. It’s really easier in the SEC Tournament because I’ve never seen Jacksonville play.”

Do you change the way you coach on Thursday?

Odom: “Everything is game determined. I am not going to lose one trying to win another. We will play Asheville as it’s our last game. We have enough time to get rested by the next week. Everything is determined by what is needed in this first game.”

How does conditioning play into it?

“I think it’s a factor. When you have four days off, you lose a little bit. But I was very pleased with the way the guys came back. They came very spirited and ready to go.”


“We do have a problem with an injury. Chad Gray, 10 minutes into yesterday’s practice, stubbed his toe literally. He has turf toe according to the doctors and that’s not a good thing. He will not play either night. He’s in a walking boot and will be re-evaluated at the end of the week. There is a possibility we could redshirt him now. That’s something that will be determined later in the week. I am not going to sacrifice a whole year for 10 games. They know what it is, what the treatment is and will look at it after it’s calmed down over the weekend.

“It’s so disappointing, so disappointing for our team and for him. It’s almost surreal. You feel bad about it for the kid, for the team. The kid’s been through a lot. We have to be there for him. The only good thing I can find that makes me feel better is that we never had him. You can’t miss what you never had in a game. We had the hopes of having him and we may still, but at least we didn’t change our way of playing. But we will remain optimistic until the end.

Brandon Wallace and Tre’ Kelley also met with the media. Their comments follow.

Brandon Wallace

How is it playing two games back-to-back conditioning wise?

Wallace: “We should be alright because our practices are a lot longer than games. We only play 40 minutes in games and practice is 2 hours. We want to get back in the grove. We just want to win and get back on the winning track. I would much rather play than practice. That’s the way I am looking at it.”

Disappointed for Chad Gray?

Wallace: “You always feel bad for a guy who has tried so hard. You are pulling for him. I am sure he is going to go on. We are going to go on. He will be ok.”

What effect does his injury have on you? He was going to give you some rest during games?

Wallace: “He played two seconds in one game so it’s like he was never really there. We will be looking for him in the SEC now.”

What was your best Christmas present?

Wallace: “Money. Money is always good.”

Tre’ Kelley

On playing back-to-back games?

Kelley: “I think it’s going to be about focus and concentration. Coming off a break, with two practices a day you have to focus. You have a different focus than going into a game and then a practice. It’s a different mind-set. You have to concentrate and focus on the game.

“The games are quicker up and down. You are running back and forth and back and forth in games. The coaches may stop the play from time to time in practice. After games your legs are dead. It’s different.”

You played four straight days in Nashville to make the SEC Final last March. What was that like? What did you learn?

Kelley: “You have to get your rest. Turn the tv off, sleep. You have to get your rest so you can come back the next day and play.”

Disappointed for Chad Gray?

Kelley: “We tried to bring him a long. We didn’t have the mindset that help is coming along the way. We played nine games without him. We got use to it. Now it was a matter of bringing him along. But it’s an unfortunate situation for him. He will have to rehab as much as he can and get back on the court.”

Best present for Christmas?

Kelley: “Spending time with my family and friends.”