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Oct. 22, 2008

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. – First-year head men’s basketball coach Darrin Horn joined junior guard Devan Downey and junior forward Dominique Archie at the annual Southeastern Conference Men’s Basketball Media Day on Wednesday at the Birmingham Marriott. The Gamecocks rotated through the opening session of the 2008 Tipoff with fellow East Division foe Tennessee and Auburn from the West Division, fielding questions from local and national media and various television outlets on the upcoming season, summer preparations and the recent start of official practice.

Below are excerpts from Horn, Archie and Downey from interview sessions at SEC Media Day on Wednesday.

Head Coach Darrin Horn
“I’m really fortunate to be at a great place with great people. For me, growing up in Lexington (Kentucky) with Kentucky being dominant, to be a coach in the SEC is a great thrill.”

“I know that I am focusing on the positives. One of the biggest we have is the SEC. I think that you have to recruit well and you have to do it for consecutive years to be able to perform. We’re excited about the challenge and the opportunity to do that. We’ve seen what Florida and Tennessee have done in recent years and our mindset is `that if they can do it, why can’t we?’ We have a lot of positives in place. We have a great facility, a passionate fan base. People are crazy about Gamecock athletics. It truly is the state University.”

Dominique Archie * Junior * Forward
On the difference of this year’s team from last season’s squad…
“The main difference is our mentality. We want to be winners. Last year we lost a lot and accepted it.”

On teammate Devan Downey’s intensity level…
“Devan’s (Downey) intensity level causes everyone around him to raise theirs. It doesn’t matter who is on the court with him or how tired he is, he always plays the same way.”

Devan Downey * Junior * Guard
On new South Carolina head coach Darrin Horn…
“Things are different. He (Head Coach Darrin Horn) is the most demanding coach I’ve ever had. He makes us work hard; and not just at basketball. He demands the best of us in the classroom and in our personal lives. He wants us to be the best both on and off the court.”

On his role on this season’s team…
“My role is to provide as much leadership as I possibly can and to do whatever I can to win basketball games. I’ll do whatever it takes.”

South Carolina begins its 2008-09 campaign with an exhibition contest against Division II powerhouse Kentucky Wesleyan on Nov. 7 before hosting Jacksonville State in its regular-season opener on Nov. 14.