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Oct. 14, 2014


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COLUMBIA, S.C. – South Carolina junior forward Mindaugas Kacinas sat down with this week for our web series, “Starting Five With Mindaugas Kacinas.” The series will highlight a different member of the Gamecock men’s basketball team with each edition. One of the team’s most experienced players heading into the 2014-15 season, the junior has seen action in 65 games during his career and finished last season averaging 5.6 points and 5.1 rebounds per game.

Q: Why did you choose to attend South Carolina and play for Frank Martin?
A: Even when I was back in Lithuania I knew a little bit about Frank Martin. He is an awesome coach. It wasn’t just going to be about basketball, it was going to be a school of life. I knew I was going to learn a lot of things and it would be very beneficial.

Q: Was it beneficial staying in Columbia this offseason compared to going back to Lithuania?
A: Most definitely it was. I gained a lot of weight and the coaches can tell that I’m a lot stronger than last year.

Q: What professional player did you most enjoy watching while growing up?
A: I really enjoyed watching Dwayne Wade play back in 2006 when he won his first title. I wanted to be like him.

Q: What has it been like playing alongside Laimonas Chatkevicius?
A: It’s been very helpful because anytime I’m sad or homesick, I can always talk to my friend who I have known since I was little kid. It’s very cool. I really enjoy being here with him on the same team so far away from home.

Q: What was it like growing up and watching European players making it to the NBA?
A: It was beneficial because if they can make it, then why can’t I make it. That’s my mindset because they were in my shoes in the past so I’m pretty much doing the same thing as they did.

South Carolina continues its preseason for the 2014-15 campaign through the month of October, before hosting Benedict College on Oct. 26, for an exhibition contest at Colonial Life Arena. Admission is free for that matchup, which starts at 4 p.m. ET.