home jobs contact us
Our Clients:
Browse by Sport
Find us on ASAP sports on Facebook ASAP sports on Twitter
ASAP Sports RSS Subscribe to RSS
Click to go to
ASAP Sports e-Brochure View our


March 19, 2017

Frank Martin

Chris Silva

Duane Notice

Sindarius Thornwell

Greenville, South Carolina

South Carolina - 88, Duke - 81

THE MODERATOR: We're joined by South Carolina.

COACH MARTIN: Unbelievably proud of my guys. You know, they put up with me, which is not easy to do. And they've become mentally tough, as mentally tough can be. For us to be able to play against a team like Duke and play so well on the big stage says a lot about the character of our team.

I've got unbelievable respect for Duke, for Coach K, for how they play, for what he's done for the game. I've told him this in private: He impacted a young high school coach who was the son of Cuban immigrants to want to do this for a career. And it's an unbelievable moment for me personally. But so proud of these guys.

THE MODERATOR: Questions for the student-athletes.

Q. If you could each take a turn, as it got down to the final minutes, did you ever allow yourself to think that you were moving on or was it just about the next possession, next play?
SINDARIUS THORNWELL: Next play. The game still wasn't over. As long as there's time is still on the clock the game is not over. We play to the 00:00. The whole time as the time was winding down was to finish the game, one possession at a time, just finish the game and make our free throws.

DUANE NOTICE: Like Sindarius said, with the time on the clock felt like an eternity was going by. We wanted to make sure we stuck to our principles and we kept our composure. The coaches did a good job to make sure our emotions didn't get too high.

CHRIS SILVA: Like Sindarius and Duane said, when the game was going on, if the clock wasn't over, the game wasn't over. So we was focusing on making our free throws and following the game play.

Q. Sindarius, what changed after going, like, shooting, like, 2-out-of-22 to the end of the first half, and then score points 65 in the second half? What clicked for you guys?
SINDARIUS THORNWELL: We just made shots. Got the ball inside. Chris did a great job of just posting up and we just fed him. And he played good for us the second half. Chris was the difference in the second half. He showed up big time for us.

Q. Sindarius, the other night you set up here and talked about how much it meant just to win a game in this tournament for this program and this university. Now that you're going to the Sweet 16, how does that advance what you guys want to do with this program?
SINDARIUS THORNWELL: We're not satisfied with just winning one game or this game. We're in it; why not win it? Why not us? We feel like we can compete with anybody in the country.

And the goal is not just to win one game or, you know, just to win two games, the goal is always to win it all. If you win it, why not win it all? And that's our ultimate goal.

Q. Duane, what can you say about the pressure that you guys put on them? 18 turnovers, I think, and did you see them getting rattled by that?
DUANE NOTICE: That's just something that we've been doing all year. Playing under our coach, he does a great job, tremendous job making sure we understand that defense is our focal point.

And we don't want to let our foot off the gas. When it comes to our defense, we want to make sure we get into people and pressure them. So when our defensive intensity is up, it translates to the offensive end.

Q. Chris, can you talk about your second half? Sindarius said he thought you were the difference. What was the second half like for you? What was different for you in the second half?
CHRIS SILVA: Like Sindarius said, I was just posting up. They fed me the ball. I was making the move and attacking the basket. I was posting up. They did a great job finding me and giving me the ball, and I was just making a play to the basket.

Q. Sindarius and Duane, could you both talk about what Felder has given you the last two games, what he's been contributing?
SINDARIUS THORNWELL: He's big. He has the heart of a giant. He doesn't care who we're playing. He doesn't care how big the guy is, whatever the guy, the athlete, the guy have or nothing, he just have a heart that he won't stop. He won't stop. He won't back down for nobody. And for him to be a freshman and to give us that spark off the bench is tremendous. And he plays a big part of our team.

DUANE NOTICE: Like Sindarius said, Ra is a guy, he's very confident. He's electric. It's kind of radiating through the team when he's confident we're all confident. It's big for him to come into these big stages as a freshman and play on both sides of the ball.

Q. Sindarius, do you guys have to convince yourselves you could win this game? What was the mindset to get into a positive frame of mind when people were saying you couldn't win, couldn't win?
SINDARIUS THORNWELL: We wasn't paying no attention. The whole time we felt like we can win. The only people that mattered is the people in our circle, the people that's at practice with us, the people that's been with us from the jump. They've seen us grind, that's been through everything we've been through in the season.

Those are the only people that matter, that's the coaches and us players. We just try to stay with each other and focus with what we have, and nobody else really matters.

Q. When the brackets first came out, you guys are now advancing, when the brackets came out everybody was talking about Duke and Villanova regional at the Garden. A few teams crashed that party. How do you feel about being one of those teams?
SINDARIUS THORNWELL: It's big. We are just having fun. We was just happy to be in the tournament. It didn't matter who we played or anything. We just celebrate -- we're enjoying the moment and just going out and giving it our all every game and controlling what we're controlling. And it's our defense and everything else. Didn't matter who we played. We're just going out and competing and giving everybody our best shot.

Q. Sindarius, how easy or difficult will it be to try to keep this even-keeled approach going to the next round, going to the garden to play Baylor?
SINDARIUS THORNWELL: It's going to be hard. It's one more thing we can to add on the list that the school hasn't done. But we'll be all right. The coaching staff is going to do a good job of keeping us level headed, keeping our composure down and keeping us focused on the task at hand.

THE MODERATOR: Thank you. Questions for Coach Martin.

Q. Coach, Rakym had such a big impact in today's game. And his season numbers, he had some good games but obviously didn't put up numbers like this. Why did you trust him so much in tonight's game, and what kind of season has he had overall?
COACH MARTIN: For a freshman point guard, he's been phenomenal. He's been a spark off the bench for us all year. We've won games because he comes in there and he's aggressive and, like the guys said, he's fearless of the moment. He loves the big stage.

I needed a New York City point guard. I like New York City guards. That's why I went and found Rakym. We're lucky he has family in our state. This was his dream school. Recruiting him might be the easiest recruiting job I've ever been a part of, the easiest.

And he's become like a son to us, the coaches. He's like a little brother to Sindarius and PJ. You learn a lot about your freshmen the way your seniors helped them. Our seniors go out of their way to help him. And it's been like that from day one. So I know our seniors respect him. I know I respect him. He gets a little immature on us sometimes, but he's a freshman. Heck, when I was 18, I wouldn't be able to handle the moment the way he does, so a lot of credit to him.

Q. You said it was the easiest recruitment you had why was that?
COACH MARTIN: It was his dream school. I had one phone call. Committed without visiting. Unbelievable. Some of these guys you recruit them for three years and you don't get them. One phone call. That's all it took. And he wanted to come. I said, whoa, relax I've gotta do a little legwork here.

And he was in from our first conversation. And that's why he's so committed to what he's doing. In his heart, he wanted to be a Gamecock. There was no questions asked. And that's why he is so committed and so proud to be playing at the school that he dreamt of playing growing up.

Q. In the last 10 minutes or so how much did the last five years have you thought about it and how much you fought to get to this point?
COACH MARTIN: A lot. A lot. We've got an unbelievable group of seniors. Those three guys are phenomenal. When they were freshmen -- Bruce Ellington is a great leader. He wasn't around. And he was with us for like two weeks. And then declared for the draft, which I told him he had to do.

And no one was there to help those guys. And they had teammates that didn't want to deal with the difficult practices and they didn't want to deal with structure and discipline. Didn't believe in what we were trying to convince them that we can become. Those three guys stood tall every single day.

And that's why I'm not surprised that we played the way we did in the second half. Those three guys, think about it, a lot of you guys ask me questions during the year if I was going to sit Duane Notice. You guys happy I didn't sit him?

Q. Not to put a damper on your game, but this tournament was moved from North Carolina because of HB2. And as a lot of fans and some players were entering the arena, they were met with Confederate flags. I wanted to know what your thoughts on that?
COACH MARTIN: It's unfortunate, but it's America. And you think we all agree on everything? Our state is united. Our state believes in peace and harmony. That's why this event is being held in our state right now. Our state's progressive. Our state has incredible people that's about moving forward.

But it's America. We have freedoms. People have freedoms to do whatever they want to do with themselves and their property. It is what it is.

There's things out there that I don't like. But I can't force people to do what I want them to do. All I know is this unbelievable university and state has taken in a son of Cuban immigrants that's married to a Jamaican woman, has mixed kids, and they've treated me like I'm one of their own from day one.

I wouldn't want to coach in any other state or on any other group of people, for any other bosses than the ones I've got. Our alums, our community is a beautiful, beautiful place. It's a united state. Unfortunately things like that happen but we live in the United States of America. And we don't all agree on things.

Q. You guys shot 71 percent from the floor in the second half, 4-of-5 on 3s, 90-something percent from the line. Where did that kind of offensive fluidity come from? Have you seen that a lot in practice? Could you see that kind of shooting?
COACH MARTIN: You know, you're asking the question so I'm not coming down on you. I'm tired of answering as to why we don't shoot more. I'm tired of answering that question. We wouldn't be in the Sweet 16 if we were a bad offensive team.

Now, do we shoot 71 percent, what did we shoot, 71 for a half? No, nobody does. But that's why they call this thing March Madness. I was extremely happy at halftime. I told our guys, someone's gotta have courage and make shots.

Today we settled for some 3s that we didn't need to settle for. We did today. Yesterday we didn't. Today we did. We stopped that. And we got production from our big guys at the rim, which then made their defense collapse and allowed us to then get better looks.

Then, again, we don't shoot -- was it the Alabama game that we were 3-for-30 or something in the one half? Like 71 percent is an abnormality? 3-for-30 is an abnormality. We're somewhere in there. We're better on defense but we're a good defensive team. And we play better on offense. That's why we're playing next week. If not we wouldn't be in this tournament to start with.

Q. Not to go back about your offense again, but you scored seven baskets in the first half. But you held them to eight. Are you going to the locker room thinking we've got the tempo and we've got a way we can guard them that can give us a chance here?
COACH MARTIN: Our guys were very, very nervous. This is a new platform. It's the first time in the history of our university that we're going to the Sweet 16. Our guys were nervous to start the game. They were a little too -- I was nervous for our guys to start the game.

Once the half started to settle down, I was happy with how we were defending. I thought we shot some quick 3s that we didn't need to shoot. Unlike yesterday, yesterday I thought we shot good 3s. Today that was not part of what we were trying to do.

I think at halftime -- we're very positive. You can't have these kids that have been through what they've been through for four years to build this program, and go in at halftime and doubt in who they are. We were very positive at halftime, like we are 99 percent of the time.

And they responded. They came out. We attacked the paint. Duane Notice drove the ball, got it to the rim. PJ made some shots. And then Ra Felder jumped up and made that 3, and that made everybody feel better. And Duane makes one and Sin makes one and everybody felt better.

But at the end of the day, in the second half we didn't pull the trigger on the 3s and we attacked the rim. And we as coaches kept telling the players, they're in a little bit of foul trouble; they're attack the rim. They're in foul trouble.

And I gotta say, you guys have asked about Chris Silva, second half. I'm harder on Chris Silva than anyone on our team because he can be so good and he's just learning the game. He played like a grown man in the second half, not like a little sophomore but a grown man. And a lot of respect for Chris the way he accepts coaching every single day.

THE MODERATOR: Thank you, Coach.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

ASAP sports

tech 129
About ASAP SportsFastScripts ArchiveRecent InterviewsCaptioningUpcoming EventsContact Us
FastScripts | Events Covered | Our Clients | Other Services | ASAP in the News | Site Map | Job Opportunities | Links
ASAP Sports, Inc. | T: 1.212 385 0297