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March 15, 2007

By Brian Clifton, USC Media Relations

Zam Fredrick’s road to University of South Carolina did not come as most would have expected. Raised by a former USC legend, Zam’s father (Zam Fredrick) set numerous records throughout his time at USC and even led the nation in scoring in his final season with the Gamecocks. Having such close ties to USC, you would think the younger Fredrick would have followed in his fathers footsteps to play for his alma mater. When signing day arrived, the 6 foot 1 inch combo guard surprised South Carolinians and signed with ACC power, Georgia Tech.

“When I talked to Coach Hewitt I felt comfortable,” the younger Fredrick said, “I was comfortable with the situation and with my decision.”

Most people with in the state, especially USC supporters, thought it was a sure bet that the younger Zam, who set the state high school record for points in a career with 3,481, would carry on the family legacy and play for the Gamecocks. Most thought Fredrick’s father would have an overbearing influence on him to stay in state and play for his former team. But that was not the case.

“My father never really pressured me to come to USC. Most people think he did, but he left it up to me and I was comfortable with Georgia Tech” said Fredrick.

In his first season on the Yellow Jackets roster, Fredrick played sparingly as he backed up two of the best guards in the country at the time, Will Bynum and Jarrett Jack. As a freshman Fredrick played in 19 games, averaging a modest 1.6 points and 0.8 assists, a far cry from his high school days where he averaged 34.5 points and 5.5 assists per game.

Entering his second season with Georgia Tech, Fredrick knew his role had changed from a backup player to now one of the starters at the guard position. His obvious talent would be showcased on a perennial powerhouse team in the one of the most elite conferences in the nation. While picking up major minutes for the Yellow Jackets, Fredrick finished the year averaging 10.6 points per game and 3.9 assists while compiling a 40 percent field goal percentage.

The numbers Fredrick put up in his two seasons were very impressive considering the talent not only on the Georgia Tech team, but in the conference as a whole. When asked if his experience in the ACC would help him translate into a better player in the SEC he felt that his time at Georgia Tech helped him grow in multiple aspects of his life.

“Playing well in the ACC not only gives me game time experience in a great conference but it also gives me a much stronger confidence level as well. I know I can play at any level and be productive,” said Fredrick.

Fredrick was an established player in the ACC but regardless of playing time, but something was still missing. He had more responsibility than ever before, a son. While living more than four hours away from his son and family, Fredrick contemplated whether or not he was doing the right thing by staying in Georgia when he could be at home supporting his loved ones. After months of deliberation, he made a decision; he was coming home to South Carolina

“I wanted to come home to have my family and friends support me. I wanted to be close to my son and my family, and ultimately you have to handle your responsibilities,” he said.

Fredrick brings a winning mentality, very similar to that of Tre’ Kelley, and also will spark a fire in the Gamecock basketball team with his tenacious attitude on and off the court. Fredrick, along with sophomore transfer Devan Downey, will help tremendously with the loss of Kelly to graduation and more than likely the NBA. With the tandem of Downey and Fredrick in the backcourt, it should make the transition from life without Kelley much easier. Both Fredrick and Downey have played together in the past which should help the Gamecocks when the 2007 season begins.

“Devan and I played AAU ball together and I completely respect what he does and his style of play,” said Fredrick. “I’ve seen him put up big numbers in high school and in college. We’ve grown really close since coming to USC; we are like brothers now and I believe that will help us next year when the season comes around.”

The talent that Fredrick brings to the Gamecock basketball team next year has most Carolina fans thinking big, not only for next year but for the future as well. Zam has similar views for the upcoming season as well.

“I have no personal goals for next year,” Fredrick said, “only to win as a team. I’m going to come in and do what the coaches expect me to do and I’m going to hit the ground running. I’m going to do whatever I have to do for USC to win.”

With Fredrick’s confidence and God-given talent showcased on the court next season, the forecast for the Gamecocks is looking very bright.