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March 14, 2014

Frank Martin

Sindarius Thornwell

Brenton Williams


Tennessee テや 59
South Carolina テや 44

THE MODERATOR:テつ We'll go ahead and get started with an opening statement from coach and then take questions for the student‑athletes.
COACH MARTIN:テつ Real proud of my guys.テつ Real proud of their commitment to building our program, to going out there and fighting.
A lot of credit to Tennessee.テつ Cuonzo's got those kids playing well.テつ I told my assistants last night I think they're playing better than anyone in our league right now, and I think Florida is real good.テつ They're a very good basketball team.テつ They're playing their best at the right time of year.
But at the same time I'm proud of my guys.テつ We went into their building a month ago, whatever it was, and they treated us like a redheaded stepchild.テつ And today we fought.テつ Today we didn't back down.テつ We just didn't have the oomph that you need to defeat this kind of an opponent on a day that we didn't make shots.
We got beat to loose balls.テつ We got 15 offensive rebounds, but we couldn't get points off of them, and that's a big part of what we do.
THE MODERATOR:テつ Take questions for the student‑athletes.

Q.テつ Brent, your thoughts on your final college game and what this season has meant for you.
BRENTON WILLIAMS:テつ I'm proud to have been a part of the team, this being my final game playing for South Carolina.テつ Before the season had started, I met with Coach Frank and I wanted to stick around and help him lead this program into the right direction.
I'm proud of the young guys that came in and they made progress as the year went on.テつ I see they're going to be a good basketball team in the future.

Q.テつ How tired do you think you guys were today?テつ Just trying to get shots off your legs, just didn't seem to be there today.
SINDARIUS THORNWELL:テつ I think it was tough on us, with us playing our third game in a row.テつ We just didn't have the energy.テつ Like coach said, the oomph to get things going.テつ And that hurt us against a good, good Tennessee team.

Q.テつ With your foul trouble, how much out of rhythm did that make you in the game?
SINDARIUS THORNWELL:テつ It's frustrating seeing I can't be out there with my team and help my team.テつ I tried my best to stay out of foul trouble, but it's real frustrating being on the bench, sitting for a long time and coming in and trying to get going after I done sit just about the whole first half.テつ But I try to sit on the sideline and cheer my team on.

Q.テつ Wanted to ask both of, what does this sort of run at the tournament mean for South Carolina basketball?
BRENTON WILLIAMS:テつ It shows what this team is capable of doing.テつ During the year we had our ups and downs, but I think towards the end of the year we started to make strides going into the right direction.テつ That's what the coaches were trying to illustrate to us, showing what we're capable of doing if we do what we need to do.
Today we were on the short end of things.テつ But this program going into next season, just having confidence about themselves and the guys getting better over the summer and guys getting ready for next year.
SINDARIUS THORNWELL:テつ It was a good confidence builder.テつ We have the majority of our guys coming back, besides Brenton.テつ It was good for us to come in and get things going for us at the end of the season and hopefully it will carry over in the offseason, during the summer and preseason.テつ Come November, we can build off this and try to keep momentum going.

Q.テつ How helpful will it be to get a couple of these games under your belt and know now what it takes to play in the SEC tournament?
SINDARIUS THORNWELL:テつ It's good.テつ With us being mostly freshmen and sophomores, it's good.テつ We know what it takes.テつ We know how hard it is to get a win playing against good teams.テつ It just motivates us during the preseason, offseason, and all that.テつ We just know we will just push each other harder.テつ We just got to do extra.テつ We got to do more than enough to pull these wins out.
THE MODERATOR:テつ All right.テつ We'll excuse you to the locker room and take questions for coach.

Q.テつ What about Tennessee makes them so formidable right now?
COACH MARTIN:テつ Their perimeter size.テつ If you would have said to me, Frank, which team would you rather not play in the tournament, I would have said Tennessee.テつ Not taking anything away from Florida, Kentucky, or anyone else.テつ It's just their perimeter size really, really bothers us.
We got some good shots today.テつ We must have missed seven, eight shots at two feet and in.テつ You don't make those, you start depending on perimeter shots.
They're long, so we had to drive them.テつ Then we drove them, then we couldn't convert on the drive and couldn't create fouls.テつ We have got to get to the foul line and we didn't do that today.テつ That's because Tennessee's size on the perimeter makes it hard to score over when your guards drive them.
Then they put McRae and Richardson on Brent, and they're almost a foot taller than him.テつ They just chase him around.テつ When he does get separation, they run him off the line.テつ They don't accept him getting open shots.
Then like I said, we still got 15 offensive rebounds, but we couldn't convert.テつ We couldn't score.テつ We couldn't score inside today.テつ If you can't score inside, it's hard to win.

Q.テつ Quick take, but how brave a team that went from 1‑9 to 6‑5 to end the year?
COACH MARTIN:テつ I couldn't be prouder of our guys.テつ We're at Texas A&M, and we had spent two and a half months developing a style of play because of our personnel, and after that game we had to revamp everything.テつ Our whole thought process, our continuity, we had to change because we didn't have a point guard any more.テつ We didn't have a point guard to play the system that we had implemented.
Duane and Sindarius did a great job.テつ Brent kind of spread his wings and grew as a player.テつ Like I'm telling you, just check a month ago.テつ A month ago we stepped on the floor against the same Tennessee team and there was a mismatch.テつ Today we fought.テつ Today we got shots.テつ Today we grabbed rebounds.テつ Today we fought them on defense.テつ It just wasn't there.

Q.テつ You made the comparison with Florida and Tennessee.テつ What do you think Tennessee would have to do against Florida tomorrow to be successful?
COACH MARTIN:テつ Not turn it over.テつ Florida's coming after you and they're relentless with their pressure.テつ If Tennessee's guards handle Florida's pressure, their inside play can create a problem for Florida.
But I think that's the key thing tomorrow.テつ Tennessee's defense sets, it's hard, it's hard.テつ I told my team this in the locker room here after the game, and just to give them perspective, that's the same Tennessee team that came into our building last year, and we had older players, and that Tennessee team didn't have the fight, the resolve, the discipline, that this Tennessee team has.
That's not a knock on last year's team.テつ It's just what happens when your core guys stay together and they're a year older, a year more battle tested.
Now we have got first year guys and they got the same group of guys.テつ Those guys are on a mission.テつ That's what happens when you let time kind of take care of itself.テつ Those guys understand what Cuonzo wants from them.テつ When you watch them play, they're doing the same thing all the time, just like Florida.テつ That's why those teams are so good.テつ They got older guys.テつ That's going to be a heck of a matchup.テつ It's going to be an interesting, interesting one to watch.

Q.テつ What's the expectations for your program going into your third year next season?
COACH MARTIN:テつ I don't live like that.テつ My expectation is to make our players better.テつ My expectation is to make sure my guys don't get in trouble, that they grow as men, go to class, continue the process.テつ I don't sit around.
I said it the day I got hired, I don't have a five‑year plan.テつ I don't know what that means.テつ I don't know how to work that way.テつ I work on today and now today's over.テつ Now we have to figure out how to attack the next day.
I know this, if our young kids accept work and accept responsibility, they're going to become better men, they're going to become better students, they're going to become better players.テつ If they do that, all that other stuff will take care of itself.
I don't get wrapped up in the future and prediction or any of that stuff.テつ I'm extremely proud of where we're at right now.

Q.テつ You knew what Jarnell Stokes was going to be like and yet sometimes even if you know it's hard to do anything about it, I guess, isn't it?
COACH MARTIN:テつ Well, you got to kind of pock your poison with them.テつ You start committing to Jarnell Stokes too much and then their baskets count three, not two.テつ You got a guy in McRae that averages 19 a game, and last time we played I think he was 6‑7 from the 3‑point line because we're trying to double the big fellow all the time.
We, that's a nice ring tone.テつ Thank you.

Q.テつ Sorry about that.
COACH MARTIN:テつ That's all right.テつ I'm going to have to put that one on my phone.
But Jarnell's good.テつ He's a much better player right now than he was a year ago.テつ Much better.テつ Last year if you doubled him, he didn't pass it very well.テつ Now when you double him, he knows it's coming and he has become a much better passer.テつ He used to not finish as well as he finishes now.テつ That's what you look for.
That's a credit to that staff, credit to those kids that they have all, they're on the same page and they're just pushing forward.
THE MODERATOR:テつ Thank you.
COACH MARTIN:テつ Thank you.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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