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March 13, 2013

Bruce Ellington

Lakeem Jackson

Frank Martin



THE MODERATOR:テつ Begin with South Carolina.テつ We'll ask Coach Martin for some general thoughts on the game and then we'll take your questions just for the two student athletes and then we'll excuse them back to the locker room and then we'll finish up with Coach Martin.テつ Coach, would you begin?
COACH MARTIN:テつ Yup.テつ Just lot of credit to Mississippi State.テつ Rick has done as good a job as any first year coach has ever done to keep those young kids, because they're all a bunch of freshman, to overcome the injuries, the adversity of dealing with losses and to keep those kids so enthused and excited beside playing the game and playing it the right way, a lot of credit to them.テつ Lot of -- as a fan of the game, it's fun to watch bunch of young kids get through a season and still have so much enthusiasm for the game.テつ That's a credit to those kids and those coaches.
THE MODERATOR:テつ We'll take your questions.テつ Just for the two student athletes at this time.

Q.テつ Lakeem, they put off that little 13-point run in the first half after you two guys tied it.テつ Seemed like you guys never really got that.テつ Were they doing anything that you didn't expect on defense?
LAKEEM JACKSON:テつ No, I think -- we prepared for it, we knew it was coming.テつ We just didn't take care of the ball as well as we should have.

Q.テつ Any other questions for either student athlete?テつ Bruce, if you wouldn't mind just your general thoughts on the game, please.
BRUCE ELLINGTON:テつ Like Coach said, you know, give it up to Mississippi State.テつ They fought and they played hard.テつ It's unfortunate that Lakeem, this is his last year, last time wearing a USC uniform.テつ It's pretty hard for him and we just got to, you know, hopefully build on this next year and the guys coming in, learn from the mistakes we made in this game, just continue to fight.
THE MODERATOR:テつ All right, fellas.テつ Thank you.テつ You can be excused.テつ Return to the locker room.テつ We'll continue on with Coach Martin.テつ If you have a question, please raise your hand.

Q.テつ Frank, you mentioned it was fun to watch a team like Mississippi State go through so much and play so hard.テつ Did you see the enthusiasm that you wanted to see out of your guys tonight?

Q.テつ Coach, how would you characterize your team's performance not just tonight but also throughout the entire season?
COACH MARTIN:テつ We -- I think we accomplished a lot of good things.テつ Obviously everyone remembers your last timeout.テつ You get judged by that a whole lot, but we took a step forward.テつ We laid down a thought process, a style of play.テつ We obviously didn't play that way today, but won more conference games, won more regular season games.テつ We finished higher up in the standings.テつ We played in tournament over the holidays and won that, so we -- for a first year, we did some good things.テつ People like to be excited about you had a chance to win some games, that means you played hard.テつ That's part of it.
We didn't win them.テつ We've got to learn how to do that. テつWe had an opportunity to close out some games, and we didn't do that as the season went on.テつ It's okay.テつ The job is a long, hard one, and I fully understand that and we're not ready to take any shortcuts because that doesn't help you get anywhere.

Q.テつ Frank, you got within four a couple times there in the second half.テつ Mississippi State kind of was trying to get you guys back in it.テつ Did you just kind of feel like you couldn't get over the hum?テつ What were you telling the guys?テつ Why don't you think you were able to cut in a little bit more?
COACH MARTIN:テつ Couldn't pass the ball.テつ It's a four-point game and we come up with a long rebound and we're off to the races and they reach around behind, knock it loose from Bruce.テつ They take it and dunk it on the other end, come back, stick a three and now a four-point game is all of a sudden nine and they're feeling good again.テつ We started reeling and really never recovered from it.テつ We did a real bad job of passing the ball.
We never attacked their zone, but I don't -- I don't want it to get to our inability to do things.テつ It's more about Mississippi State, you know.テつ They did a great job.テつ They played with tremendous character, enthusiasm.テつ They're a bunch of freshmen now that dealt with adversity all year, and to see them play even with that nine-point lead and a minute to play, they refused to give us a three.テつ They ran out and blocked that corner three shot.テつ That shows unbelievable desire and competitiveness from those kids.
You know, I'm proud of the job our guys did over the course of the year and what we tried to do this year and -- but this moment should be about Mississippi State, not our inability to do something.

Q.テつ Coach, how would you compare your first season in the SEC to the time that you spent in the Big 12?
COACH MARTIN:テつ As far as what?

Q.テつ Just what makes the SEC different from the Big 12, you know, the two conferences?テつ What makes your time so far at South Carolina different than your time at Kansas State?
COACH MARTIN:テつ It's pretty much the same, you know, two league that are very underappreciated by the national public as far as the kind of basketball that it plays.
I've prepared teams to play in NCAA games, I've prepared teams to play in conference tournaments and this league, I don't want to here all that nonsense it's inferior.テつ That drives me nuts.テつ For all those people that say that league is inferior, I'd like to see them come coach a game in the league and how inferior they think it is.
It's quality basketball, quality coaches, year-in, year-out and very similar to the Big 12.テつ Very underappreciated nationally for how good basketball it plays.

Q.テつ Frank, I'm wondering what you take from this season as a learning experience, as a coach or in any other way.
COACH MARTIN:テつ A big bottle of Pepto Bismol.
You know, the players aren't the only ones that learn.テつ Us coaches have to learn every day, too.テつ And we have to learn because we're in a new place.テつ We're trying to create a thought process to find success in the new place while understanding the process and the culture and the people that we're working with and for right now, and we have to grow basketball at our school.
I think, you know, attendance was better this year than it's been.テつ Our guys had great moments.テつ We had some games where we really, really played well, but we didn't do that enough.テつ That's part of building.テつ Part of creating thought processes is I believe being able to always take a step forward.テつ And what we can't do is get too wrapped up on today's moment and overlook all the good that was done over the course of the year, all the positives that were taken.
And it's a hard league, it's a hard league and some great coaches and players in this league, and we have our work cut us for us to build our program so we can figure out a way to get that upper half and make that goal of compete for an SEC championship realistically one day.

Q.テつ Coach, some of your victories this season came against some of the comparatively stronger teams in the conference while some of your losses, including tonight, came against some of the weaker teams.テつ As a coach that's starting off in the league, when you try to emphasize to a team winning the games that you have to win kind of line of discussion, to have losses against some of the weaker teams comparatively like Mississippi State, like Auburn, does that stick with you a little bit longer having struggles against some of the weaker teams comparatively speaking?
COACH MARTIN:テつ I don't mean to be rude, but you go tell Mississippi State that they're a weak team, you know.テつ You tell me that my team is weak, you and me are going to have a long conversation one night.テつ You prepare your team to play every game the same way.テつ You don't as -- as a coach, you don't sit there and tell your team you lost to an inferior opponent.テつ Every team practices, every team tries, every team has tremendous pride.テつ Every team plays through their structure.テつ It's hard to win a game.テつ I don't care whether or not you're 29-1, or 1-29.テつ Winning the game on the schedule regardless of who the opponent is is hard.テつ To ever refer to another team as weak, that's disrespectful to those kids and those coaches.テつ That's not right.テつ I don't think that way.テつ I'm not trying to pick on you.テつ I don't think that way.テつ I go game to game and I understand how difficult it is to succeed.テつ Never do I take winning for granted.テつ Takes a lot of work to win a game regardless of who the opponent is.
THE MODERATOR:テつ Got time for one more question.テつ Anyone?テつ All right.テつ Thank you very much.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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