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March 24, 2017

Frank Martin

Duane Notice

Chris Silva

Sindarius Thornwell

New York, New York

South Carolina - 70, Baylor - 50

THE MODERATOR: We'll get started with a opening statement from coach.

FRANK MARTIN: I want to credit the teams in our league in the SEC for preparing us for the kind of games that you have to play at this time of year. Those coaches, those players that we fought against every single day got these guys prepared to harden, to understand how hard and how disciplined you have to play to have a chance to win at this time of year.

So, very proud of our guys, obvious reasons. And a lot of credit to Baylor, we defended real well today. We have been real good defensively all year, we were on point definitely today.

THE MODERATOR: Questions, for the student-athletes, please.

Q. I think this the first Elite 8 ever for South Carolina. Can you just kind of put into perspective what that means for the school and the program?
SINDARIUS THORNWELL: It just means a lot. Just means a lot for the fans that we always keep saying for everybody that's been supporting us for so long, for supporting the program so long, that follows the program that hasn't seen as much success, it just means a lot for them and for us and the feeling is great.

DUANE NOTICE: Pretty much what he said. It's a great thing, great win for the program, it's a good feeling when we continue to make history and I think once we got a taste of it we kind of got addicted and want to continue doing it. So we're going to do everything in our power to make sure we do that.

CHRIS SILVA: That's a great feeling, to be here, and to keep winning, we're not done yet. We don't want to be just here, we want -- we're hungry, we want to keep winning.

Q. Chris, can you describe in a few words your journey and how you got from where you were five years ago to where you are now and what that has been like for you.
CHRIS SILVA: It's been incredible. Going from where I came from, Gabon, to living out here, I mean that's a lot, a lot of places, a lot of people that I met during the process and I'm just enjoying the process.

Q. Sindarius, a lot of people watching the game tonight will see you on Sunday and say, who is this team? South Carolina is almost never in the second weekend, has never made an Elite 8. So what did you show tonight? And for people that wonder what South Carolina's all about, can you kind of inform the nation?
SINDARIUS THORNWELL: Just how hard we play. We try to give everything we got every game and the way we play the game, we play the game the right way. We have been doing it all season, it's just now y'all gave us a stage to do it and we're just showcasing what we have been doing all season.

Q. What was the defense early on Motley? Was there a little bit of everything in that defense or were you switching in and out on him?
SINDARIUS THORNWELL: No, it was just whoever was on him, don't let him go middle. And on the dribble just the help side come from the baseline and that was really it. And we stayed aggressive and made his catches hard and we knew that he like to score in the paint and let his catches be extended outside, that way he got to take more than one dribble to score; he can't just turn and shoot over the top of you. So we tried our best to make it hard for him.

CHRIS SILVA: Yeah, everything he said, and we didn't want, we wanted to box him out and we knew he was long and athletic and we didn't want him to get on board, so we wanted to box him out.

Q. Can you just talk about the size versus speed strategy that you guys seemed to employ? And when did you first hear about that and how much did you believe in it?
SINDARIUS THORNWELL: I don't get the question. Their size? Talking about their size? We knew they were big and long. We just tried our best to attack them and just to play hard. We knew that it -- for them it starts with the first shot, it was the second shot with them. And we knew when the shot went up, we all had to find a body and put our body on somebody to make, so we could get the rebound. We had to limit their second chances.

DUANE NOTICE: We knew they were a very long and big team and for us we wanted to make sure we took care of the basketball. On a team like that traditionally long, it's hard to get the ball in the paint and in the zone. We played inside out and when the shots presented themselves we were able to capitalize and we wanted to make sure we kept them off the glass.

Q. Did you get a sense, it was 15-15 and then it was over pretty quickly. Did you get a sense that they were getting frustrated, you were kind of getting in their heads defensively at all?
SINDARIUS THORNWELL: I felt like we were in their heads the whole game, but they're great team and we knew they were going to go on a run. It was just a matter of whether we were going to sustain that run and keep it going. And whenever they went on that run and the TV timeout happened and that's when we settled down and I think I hit a three and Duane hit a three. And that's when the lead got extended and that's when we knew that we took that run and just we just had to finish the game then.

Q. How important was it to get off to a good start in the second half? You guys dominated the latter part of the first half. Just talk about that little start of the second half and how important that was to you.
DUANE NOTICE: Basketball's a game of two halves so we knew that the first is 0-0, we talked about it at halftime. And what was essential for us was to make sure that we won the first four minutes. That's our motto every time we come out, we want to make sure we win the first four minutes before the first media timeout. We knew that we were playing defensively well, and but they knew that they were a good team and when we had that punch in the throat, we were able to handle that and finally get it back and that's what it was.

Q. Talk about the defensive effort for all 40 minutes for the game. Seems like you never let up.
SINDARIUS THORNWELL: Yeah, we pride ourselves on our defense. We know that's our bread and butter and we know we have a good defense and we go out and guard. We know it's a 40-minute game, and we know teams are going to make runs, but we can't take our foot off the pedal, we got to keep the pressure on and keep guarding.

DUANE NOTICE: Defense is our staple and we can't control if the shot goes in, we can't control the referee making calls, but what we can control is our hustle heart and effort and control how hard and intense we are on defense. So throughout the year we pride ourselves on our defensive schemes and we want to implement them every chance we get.

CHRIS SILVA: Everything in our defense starts with Duane on the ball, pressuring the ball and that gives us time in the back to like get back on line and be aggressive. So, yeah, we believe our defense works, so we did a good job being aggressive.

THE MODERATOR: All right. Thank you. We'll excuse the student-athletes and take questions for coach.

Q. Your team clearly won the defensive battle tonight. When you coach and teach your team defense, what's more important, technique or attitude?
FRANK MARTIN: First of all, a lot of respect to you. That's a heck of a question. I've been doing this a long time and that's the first time anyone's ever asked me that. That's a heck of a question. Attitude comes first. We got to have guys that are going to believe in our mission, that are going to believe in what we want to do. Once they believe, then we can teach them the technique. It all starts with our mindset. We have got guys that are completely bought into what we do.

Q. That was obviously a pro-Carolina crowd. There were a lot of fans that came out tonight. I'm curious, where does that atmosphere rank in terms of some of the home crowds that you've seen this season?
FRANK MARTIN: You guys are just starting to watch our fans. You don't understand how good our fans are. Everyone thinks that our fans only come out to watch the Gamecocks play football, and our fans are crazy. Our fans love their school. I'm just telling you. We're good, because we have created a home court environment at home. Our guys love playing for our fans, our fans love cheering for our guys. We were 13th, I said this a couple times, I don't mean to be repetitive it just -- I think that everyone thinks that we have been playing in an empty gym and all of a sudden our fans showed up. We're 13th in the country in attendance. You go see a volleyball came game at South Carolina, it's sold out; a soccer game, sold out; women's basketball, it's sold out. It's crazy, our fans absolutely love our school and they have unbelievable passion for our school. Our fans and our players and I said this five years ago, are fully invested into each other right now. Our fans are taking this ride with us and eventually we're either going to party together or we're going to cry together. It's one or the other. There's not another alternative there. But that's the way it needs to be. We -- in fact, I want fans to cry when I cry. I want them to be mad when I go home mad. That's the only way you know that you got something going on.

Q. We talked about this a little when you came up here and played Seton Hall about who you are and what you put into teams. The toughness. In all your years of coaching, is this the closest your teams have come defensively what you might consider perfection and do you consider your style beautiful?
FRANK MARTIN: When you mean my style, because this is not about me. When you mean my style, I'll answer your second question first. My style would mean how our team plays?

Q. Yeah.
FRANK MARTIN: It's beautiful to us. Which is what matters. I'm sure there's people don't like it. That's their prerogative. They play, you know, if they're a coach, they can coach however they want. If they're a fan, they can root for a team that plays the style they like.

For us, we love it. This is what gives us our edge. After the first -- I don't know, somewhere late November, when we played Michigan, I can't remember, that's what I'm trying to figure out when it was. I left that game, I said, this team has a chance to be, has a chance to be the best defensive team I've coached. That was my thought process when I got home and broke that film down.

My concern had been our big guys, because they're so young. Not that they can't do it, they're just so young. But hopes are like tonight Kotsar, probably, I don't know, I don't think he scored, he took on Motley. That was his matchup. I think he did a heck of a job of not letting Motley get going in the game. But it's the best defensive team I've coached in college basketball. As a head coach. No doubt.

Q. Have you heard from anyone this week any like words of advice from any guys that reached out, maybe Spurrier or anybody like that?
FRANK MARTIN: Here's the great thing about coaching -- yes, he has called -- here's the great thing about Coach Spurrier. He's done this, so he understands that the last thing he needs to do is be getting in people's heads about basketball.

But now, if you sit down with him in the off-season coach will coach some basketball now. He loves ball. We all at South Carolina, we have an unbelievable deal. I mean I talked -- at South Carolina whether it's Coach Tanner, who is not my boss, but he understands sports and athletes and moments. Dawn Staley, Steve Spurrier, just think about the resources I have to kind of lean on, to how to manage certain things. Not so much X and O, but manage certain things at this time of the year.

I'm fortunate, you see this is the thing about me, I'm not smart enough to figure things out, so I need to listen. I've been in this moment before as a coach, I told you I'm not very smart, I can't even subtract and I'm a math teacher. Seven years ago, I mismanaged the practice between the Sweet 16 and the Elite 8 game. I'm not making that mistake this time. I learned. I'm not making that mistake. That's not going to guarantee that we're going to win on Sunday, but because I've been in this moment before, luckily it's not 2 in the morning and it's not a double over time game, but I'm going to manage that. But I've got great resources, Hugs, Andy Kennedy. I just, I'm the luckiest human being on the face of the earth because of the people that I have access to that help me every single day.

THE MODERATOR: Thank you, coach.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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