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Oct. 15, 2014

Buy Season Tickets | Reserve Appointment To “Select A Seat” And Purchase Season Tickets At Oct. 26 Exhibition vs. Benedict

COLUMBIA, S.C. – The South Carolina men’s basketball team held its annual media day on Wednesday, as third-year head coach Frank Martin and members of the team met with local media in the Coliseum Practice Facility. Martin held a press conference, discussing the preseason, team practices and the season ahead, before team members stationed in the Coliseum took photos with media outlets and discussed the upcoming season.

South Carolina also announced earlier this week plans to hold an open practice on Friday, Oct. 17. The event will be free and open to the public, and will be held at the practice facility (the Volleyball Competition Facility) located at the corner of Blossom and Assembly streets. Doors for that event will open at 5:45 p.m. ET. Students should bring their Carolina ID card to receive loyalty points for attending.

The Gamecocks host Benedict College on Oct. 26 for an exhibition contest at Colonial Life Arena. Game time for that matchup is set for 4 p.m. ET, with the game to be broadcast on the SEC Network +.

Media Day Quotes

South Carolina Head Coach Frank Martin
Opening Statement
Six practices in, I really, really like our team. What’s that mean between now and March, I have no idea. I really like our team. I like our guys, I liked them before we started practice and a lot of my feel for them is based on how they approached the offseason, and for where we’re at has reinforced that for me. Knock on wood, health is always something you don’t see coming and have any control over. If that stays on our side, I think it’s going to be a fun group of guys to watch play.

On if he’s seen any major surprises
Demetrius Henry is a lot better than he was last year because he’s removed from the pressure. We all sit there with freshmen and we, including me, think that it’s a lot easier than it is for freshmen. When you’re a freshman and you have a bad day, it gets exposed real bad when you’ve never been through it before. The next day it doesn’t get any easier. You just don’t get an easy day so it’s hard to regain confidence, especially when you’re going through it for the very first time. That kind of happened with him. He wasn’t physically ready. He wanted to be, but he just couldn’t do it.

On the team’s fitness through the weight room
I’ve been through it with Scott Greenawalt for 10 years. When guys buy into what he does, and if they last in our program, that means they bought in. The growth that they show as athletes is phenomenal. The weight room is not just about making muscles grow, the weight room is about conditioning your body to stay healthy and to be able to handle things, and here’s the part that no one talks about with the weight room, mentally it gives you strength.

On Sindarius Thornwell adapting so well last season
He’s a guard. He’s bigger and stronger than the average guard. Demetrius [Henry] at 205 pounds is a lot smaller and skinner than the average front line guy. People are different. Sindarius had some real bad moments statistically, but he was bigger and stronger so he could withstand those moments better.

On the freshmen this week
I’m happy all the way across with our freshmen. [Marcus] Stroman and [TeMarcus] Blanton bring in excitement and toughness and enthusiasm that when you see freshmen have it, you get excited that those guys are going to be a part of what you do for a long time.

On not having to rush any freshmen into playing compared to last season
As a coach you have a comfort when you think you have guys who are good enough to understand it. The problem with freshmen is when you’ve never been in the fire with them and they don’t really know you and you don’t really know them. In our sport, between April and September, everything is hunky-dorey because everything is about making the individual better. Come October, it’s all of the individual stuff that goes out the window. It’s about whatever you did to get better and implement it into a team setting.

Junior Forward Mindaugas Kacinas
On his thoughts on the opening week of practice
We did a pretty good job in the first week of practice. We’ve been going hard. We still have a long way to go, new things to learn, but I think we’re on a good track.

Junior Forward Laimonas Chatkevicius
On how his strong finish last season has prepared him for this year
I tried to keep the same mindset and just play as hard as I can. I have to help my team win. It felt really good the way we played at the end of the season and I hope to keep that up this season.

Sophomore Forward Demetrius Henry
On what he focused on this summer to help prepare him for year two
The biggest thing was the weight room. I basically lived in the weight room this summer. It brings confidence and also makes you better. I just lived with Coach Scott [Greenawalt] and I think that was the biggest thing during the offseason for me.

Sophomore Guard Sindarius Thornwell
On what he learned as a freshman that has helped him prepare for year two
I learned how to understand the game rather than in high school it was just score, get the ball and go. Now I know how to run offensive plays. Also the conditioning level, I know how to push myself now, whereas last year when I was tired, I was just tired and I wanted to come out of the game. I’m in better shape this year.

Sophomore Guard Duane Notice
On how spending time on his fitness and in the weight room during the summer has helped him thus far
I just lived in the weight room, just getting more accustomed to my body and just get to that form that I used to be in before I got here. Shedding a few more pounds has helped me be more explosive on the court and that’s the biggest thing I wanted to do this summer. I’m just excited to show everybody what I can do this year.

Senior Guard Tyrone Johnson
On his goals for this season
My goals individually, I want to be the best player that I can. I want to be the best point guard in the SEC. Those are my goals. I say that with a passion, not because I’m back on the floor, but because I take pride in whoever steps in front of me, that I’m better than them, not in a cocky way, but with confidence and the will to believe in myself and believe in the role of being the point guard and the team leader.

Junior Forward Michael Carrera
On his tenacity for rebounding and why he’s a good rebounder
I guess it comes from my dad. He was the one who taught me how to rebound and how to play my game.