April 21, 2010
Scouting South Carolina
Entering the tournament as the No. 12 seed, the Gamecocks are 9-12 overall and 1-10 in SEC play this season. That record is not entirely indicative of South Carolina’s overall effort this season as many of the Gamecocks’ biggest SEC matches have come down to the wire. South Carolina fell just shy of an upset of then-No. 14 Ole Miss when the Rebels won the third sets of the last two matches on court. The Gamecocks fell to then-No. 10 Kentucky by a single point. Then-No. 8 Georgia narrowly escaped Columbia with a 4-3 win when the Bulldogs’ No. 4 player rallied back to win a third-set tiebreaker. The Gamecocks have struggled in the middle of the singles lineup most of the season, regardless of which players have manned those spots. South Carolina did not get a point out of the Nos. 3 and 4 singles positions in SEC matches this season whereas the top two spots accounted for 11 total points and the bottom two added six during the 11 league matches.
Gamecocks in the SEC Tournament
South Carolina is 8-18 in SEC Tournament matches since joining the league in 1992. The Gamecocks advanced to the semifinals in 1999 and reached the quarterfinals eight times, including four of the last six years.
Vote for Pedro
Ranked No. 31 in the country this week, senior Pedro Campos enters the SEC Tournament with a 17-2 singles record, including a 9-1 mark in SEC action. Campos put together a 16-match win streak heading into the final match of the regular season, tying the third-longest successful stretch in school history. Ranked 79th heading into the month of April, he opened the final month of league play with four wins over nationally-ranked foes, including two top-30 foes, to jump up to No. 31 in the April 13 rankings. Playing in the No. 1 singles spot in the regular-season finale, Campos closed the SEC slate with a 9-1 record, becoming just the fourth player in school history to post that good of an SEC record and just the second to do it playing higher than the No. 4 position in the lineup. This season, only six other players in the SEC matched or bettered Campos’ 9-1 slate in league play, only two of which play a higher spot in their teams’ singles lineups – Alexandre Lacroix (Florida, #1) and John-Patrick Smith (Tennessee, #1).
Moving Up the Charts
South Carolina seniors Pedro Campos and Diego Cubas are etching their names among the program’s all-time elite as they close their careers in the Garnet and Black. Cubas ranks among the Gamecocks’ best doubles players, winning 60.5 percent (49-32) of the matches in his three-year career to slot into 17th position. Campos has played one season longer than Cubas and slots into the program’s top 20 in singles wins (13th, 84), doubles wins (16th, 58) and combined wins (17th, 142). His 84-41 career singles record puts him in 15th place in school history with a .683 winning percentage.
South Carolina head coach Kent DeMars announced his retirement at the conclusion of the 2010 season. For the many contributions he has made to the programs he has led as well as to collegiate tennis as a whole, DeMars will be inducted into the Collegiate Tennis Hall of Fame in May. In his 26th season at South Carolina, DeMars has amassed a 390-290 record and led the Gamecocks to 18 NCAA Tournament appearances and six conference championships. South Carolina played in the national semifinals in 1989 and twice advanced to the Sweet 16. Seven Gamecocks have earned a total of nine All-America selections while 29 achieved a combined 43 all-conference recognitions. DeMars was the 1989 NCAA Division I National Coach of the Year and is a seven-time NCAA Region II Coach of the Year selections. Twelve of his South Carolina teams have finished the season ranked among the nation’s top 20. He was inducted into the South Carolina Tennis Hall of Fame in 1996.