Martin discusses halt of normal team operations, season thoughts –

Posted: March 19, 2020 at 12:44 am

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Just like every other college basketball coach in America, Frank Martins job has come to an abrupt halt due to coronavirus concerns and precautions.

On Tuesday evening he joined local sports radio host Heath Cline and guest Carey Rich on 107.5 The Game.With campus closed and athletic facilities shut down at South Carolina, Martin was asked what the last handful of days have been like for him since the Gamecocks returned from a canceled SEC Tournament in Nashville.

Its not what Im used to, Martin said. The way our calendar is laid out, you're programmed. You know you coach, coach, coach and then your season is going to come to an end in March with the exception of one or two teams. Whenever that day is you go right to player meetings and from player meetings you are on the road selling (your program to recruits). All of a sudden Im at home doing all of the stuff my wife has been beating me about for the last five years that I havent done. Its a weird feeling, it really is.

With the doors to the Gamecocks basketball facility closed, Martin has not been able to meet individually with his players yet, something he normally does the week after the season ends. A.J. Lawsons thinking about pursuing the NBA goes hand-in-hand with that. Due to closures, Martin has not able to sit down with his sophomore guard.

I have not spoken to any of our players about (the NBA), Martin said. I have not been able to engage our players in NBA conversations because there is no answer. There is no clarity. What I do know right now is everyone is at a standstill.

Below is more of what Martin had to discuss with Cline and Rich during the uninterrupted 20-minute radio segment. His thoughts on the Gamecocks 2019-20 season and how he is managing his personal life amid coronavirus concerns is included.If accessing this story from Planos Proving Grounds message board, please click the link below to read the entire story.

CLINE: Have you had a chance to do anything with your guys, a group session of anything yet?

When we were traveling to Nashville I was already feeling uncomfortable about everything going on, the fact I had to stay at the hotel not knowing who had slept in those beds before we checked in. I had all kinds of thoughts going on. As soon as I got word that the tournament was being stopped my whole objective was to get the players some clarity as to what was going on and get them home so they could be with their families and I could go about doing my due diligence with my family and my staff and make sure they were ready to go deal with their families. As much as I love basketball, with all due respect to the university and the game of basketball, I love my wife, my mother and my children a little bit more.

RICH: What was your initial reaction when they decided to cancel not only the tournament, but the duration of the college basketball season?

When everything hit I was on scramble mode. I have a responsibility that these parents trust their children with (me) along with being away from my wife and my kids. I have a son in college and two at home with my wife. Im trying to figure out how to do my job and still be there for my family. Over the last 24 hours it has finally hit me.

There is disappointment. Our kids had battled so hard to give us a pretty darn good season that we were right there and had an oppournity to compete, which is the one thing I will always remember this team for. They never gave in to injuries to bad days to a public opinion. They grew up because they believed in each other. We were right there. We were, I thought, two wins away from being right back in the middle of that tournament. It wasnt meant to be. There is disappointment because I knew how much those kids grew up and how much they believed in each other.

A.J. is so much better right now than he was last year. Its not even funny. Hes more prepared as a human being and hes a better player. Jermaine Couisnard, to know what he went through last year and see him go through his journey this year and get to where he is at; then the year Maik Kotsar was having, its just so many things that disappointment is the one word that comes to mind. But I fully understood (to cancel the tournament). Im at peace that what needed to take place took place and I have no resentment whatsoever.

RICH: Have you had the opportunity to step back and reflect on this years season?

Yeah when you are out back working on your yard and cleaning your deck and cleaning your garage by yourself you have a lot of time to think. (The season) was frustrating at times because we were so young. Its not frustrating because we have bad guys. Its just immaturity. Freshmen dont understand how hard they have to work every day to have a successful day. They dont comprehend that until they live it. At times it was a little frustrating.

There are games I wish we could have back, but there are also incredible moments. Just like Clemson gets no credit for playing us, we get no credit for playing them. We went into Clemson and beat Clemson, the same building Duke and Louisville didnt win in. We went in there and won by double digits. We went into Virginia and won. We went into UMass with Keyshawn Bryant just off the injured list and in the lineup and we won when we were continuing to discover ourselves on the road.

Then you carry that over and have that bad loss to Stetson. Then you start league play and were down Couisnard and lose to Florida at home. We go to Tennessee and lose on a bang-bang play. We come home and make a shot to beat Kentucky and go on a run. At the end we had some opportunities against some real good teams; a one possession game at Mississippi State, a one possession game at Alabama, the loss to LSU at home without Justin Minaya and Jalyn McCreary to a concussion and we just didn't play well. We had chances and then lost to Vanderbilt to close out the season. With all of that said I had the time of my life coaching this team.

CLINE: Were all trying to kind of figure this out. For you, what do you do now?

Ive been texting with the players for the last two days. They taught me how to do this group chat deal. Im able to text with them. I text an English paragraph and they text me emojis back. Im trying to figure out of those are good or bad.

Im not big on having individual player meetings the day after the season. I dont believe in that. We both need to take a step back and take a deep breath. I dont like waiting until when we are going to have to wait (this year). These meetings I like to have in person and not on the phone. As of right now the earliest anyone is coming back on campus is April 15th. Thats still up in the air.

Ill continue to communicate the best I can until were given the green light to get them back around and have my usual end-of-year player meetings, which I thoroughly enjoy. Its a great way to communicate with young people, not just them understand me, but me understand them as we go through this together.

Recruiting is going to be unique. Its going to be like it was back in the day, where there is no April recruiting. Everything is going to be on the phone. We have to make sure were happy and in a place from a recruiting standpoint were full and not scrambling, trying to replace somebody.

At the end of the day, basketball and what were ranked and what my record is, all of that stuff to me is irrelevant. My whole thing is everyone is safe and were all making sure were in a good place because were dealing with an unknown.

If you told me to fight a grizzly bear, Ill fight the grizzly bear. If you told me take a bullet, Ill take a bullet. If you tell me to live through a hurricane or tornado, Ive done them both. Dealing with this (virus) unknown, Im not big on dealing with unknown. It drives me nuts. Right now my whole thought process is friends and family and people I care for, our players and their families. Hopefully in the near future this too shall pass and were all healthy and we can worry about basketball again.

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Martin discusses halt of normal team operations, season thoughts -

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March 19th, 2020 at 12:44 am

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