Gamecocks basketball — turning it around

On the West Coast, on Saturday night, the USC women’s basketball team tipped off against No. 1-seeded Stanford. Head coach Dawn Staley delivered on the promise she showed as a player at Virginia, and a coach at Temple. Who would have expected that last year, or the year before, or for most of the past decade that the Gamecocks would have been 40 minutes of playing time away from an Elite Eight spot?

Stanford won, as expected. But what the Carolina women’s program has become wasn’t. After upsetting Purdue in the previous round, the AP reported, “There have been a lot of great days this season for the Gamecocks, who won at Tennessee for the first time, made their first appearance in the Southeastern Conference tournament semifinals and earned their first NCAA bid since 2003. By advancing on Monday, they matched the 2001-02 team for the school’s most wins in the SEC era.”

A decade ago, The State‘s Neil White, in his “Talk of the Town” column, joked that excitement over the female ballers made Gamecock fans completely forget about football — filling the old Coliseum. And why not? That same devotion was won by the men’s team, until they both went on long slides that claimed more than one head coach’s job.

But, Staley’s leadership and her ability to rebuild the program are undoubtable. Some people seem to be predisposed to winning at the college level. Perhaps Staley is one of those people. Bear Bryant said, “I ain’t never been nothin’ but a winner,” but he still turned down an offer from the Miami Dolphins because the NFL wasn’t for him. Speaking of Alabama and coaches, Tide men’s basketball coach Anthony Grant is the godfather of the eldest son of the new Gamecocks’ men’s coach.

Frank Martin, formerly of Kansas State, made it official on Monday when he accepted the gig at USC. As a matter of fact, K-State put a wallop on the Tide in December, so it’s not as if he’s coming into the job blind. Even Martin’s cohorts on CBS  — when he stepped in during the NCAA Tournament — were pushing him to make the move.

“Martin joked that he had basketball studio analysts Charles Barkley, Kenny Smith and Greg Anthony urging him to take the job before he left. ‘That’s how much respect people have for South Carolina basketball,’ Martin said.”

Martin’s been to the Tournament three of the last four seasons and he has a trip to the Elite Eight on his resume. Could USC athletics director Eric Hyman be putting together a powerhouse of coaching staffs? The growth is there in basketball, and before you call Gamecock hoops “the Mojave Desert of college basketball,” like Tony Kornheiser did on “Pardon the Interruption” this week, football was in an even worse position.

After six years of the Head Ball Coach, he “got over,” as the kids say, and the gripes following last season aren’t coming from those in garnet, but from Clemson partisans whose team is claim to the 2011 ACC Championship.

Putting together a well-rounded, top-flight athletic program is one of the hardest goals in college sports. But of all the stereotypes of the Carolina fanbase, eternal hope is one. And there’s plenty of that around Columbia these days.



by J.L. Mann Cromer, Jr., who served as the only true independent member of the South Carolina General Assembly from 1990-1998. Currently, he is a general practice attorney in Columbia, S.C., concentrating in probate and estate planning, criminal defense and personal injury law.

With Wes Wolfe. He wrote for 11 newspapers in five states and is the marketing coordinator for ACEC Virginia.

Posted in Legal Advice

17 thoughts on “Gamecocks basketball — turning it around

  1. Matt Tischler on said:

    Bubba, I thought you were a Clemson fan?

    • Bubba Cromer on said:

      I am but don’t forget I went to USC Lawschool. And I have always been crazy for my girl Dawn Staley! Can’t wait to see ‘em on the House Floor before we adjourn!

      • VeeNut on said:

        107, you are confusing two tgnihs. DC’s finances and MLS’s TV deals. They do not relate. MLS’ local deals are a separate thing and are fairly similar in almost any market regardless of size, so DC’s local deal will be similar to the deal they have now with Comcast, the same with most teams in MLS outside LA and NY, Dallas, KC, RSL for example. So local TV money is irrelevant for the most part, imo. As for national TV, those contracts are league wide. So, ESPN game of the week includes whatever team in whatever market at the same basic rate. Again, market rating is somewhat irrelevant. MLS franchises are franchises, though, so their finances matter enormously, however. If DC United the franchise can make more money in their own stadium in Baltimore controlling thier revenue streams much more efficiently than renting from DC Events, then the DC United franchise is stronger, ergo it’s place in MLS is stronger, irrelevant of it’s market share . As for it no longer being DC United if it moves to Baltimore? True. As for it losing 60% of it’s fans? Probably not. Sure, maybe 30-40% refuse to drive to Baltimore, but 10-20% will flee, but the team will add Baltimore and North fans, so if 40% come from Maryland already, add in the NOVA 10-20%, plus 10-20% from Baltimore and North, they’re at 60-80% capacity the first year, with plenty of room to grow from there. RFK is failing. No business plan assumes they can sustain themselves there past a couple years. If DC continues to hem and haw, DC United will leave. Guaranteed. Best case scenario is that they move local. Worst is they are gone forever. Hope Buzzard point works out, but if not, better Baltimore United than no team at all.

    • Tomas on said:

      You dont just gain a south carolina aeccnt When you move there you will DEVELOP one But you cant just force yourself to have one Unless you pretend to have oneReferences :

  2. Patrick on said:

    It was great to see the spirited performances from the Lady Gamecocks and I’ll always enjoy watching the SEC show its superiority even in a sport we don’t traditionally excel in. Still looking at Kentucky to haze the rest of the country in Men’s basketball and of course the USC Baseball team to possibly threepeat. Anyways great effort from the Lady Gamecocks and I hope it continues next year.

    • Hector on said:

      By September 25, 2009 – 11:16 AMDoug, thanks for the kinds words and glad you chased as well with South Carolina. Tonight’s game is tough, and I will not be doing a write up for it. Nevada might be one of the most disappointing teams out there right now. Missou, meanwhile, people are excited about still after their opener vs Illinois. Man, I hate laying road chalk, but also dont know if we can trust the Wolfpack here if anything, more than 60 points might be scored, so I might put a small play on the Over 60.5. You know, just to keep me interested while working on writeups for tomorrow’s games.

  3. Shep Headley on said:

    Eric Hyman made the statement that the Men’s basketball team will join Dawn’s, Steve’s and Ray’s teams as being relevant nationally with the hiring of Coach Martin.
    South Carolina just announced to the SEC to get ready.
    I think we just found a pulse in the Colonial Lifeless Areana and look for it to be rocking soon with something other than opposing fans, country music and Tractor Pulls.
    Always good to be a Gamecock, but this is a great day.

    • Irma on said:

      AAAAAAA i loved the first video! It’s so sweet and my favorite song too! I loved where you kept fliatong in the air from all the jumps :)And the second one is soooo much better faster and to the beat!Awesome vids, Amanda!

  4. Rod Simmons on said:

    I’m also happy to say that there will be some new Alabama nested Gamecock fans next door! Our neighbor’s son (Scott Greenawalt) is the strength coach under Frank Martin. I guess I’ll need to get them a new mailbox flag!

  5. James Hartman on said:

    AlthoughI am happy for the ladiy cocks (an oxymoron), Syracuse is out of the NCAA final four and I am in a state of mourning.

  6. John on said:

    It was good to hear they finally have a credible coach, now just have to find some players that will accept the coaching and work hard. I sure hope the new coach brings some scrub brushes to wash the stink off the court from this year. It will take a few years to build a program because few of the elite players want to come to a losing program.

    • Anabelle on said:

      you guys are wrong about a deadline for the idtasum. MLS will not leave the DC market. Why? money. Where will the league get the big bucks it wants and needs? only from a major broadcast deal. There is little, if any, probability the league will leave the DC Media market it is the #9 market by size and the wealthiest by income. Any broadcast deal will be seriously diminished if the league is not in this market.and no, league is not going to leave # 9 for #25 Baltimore (or even St Louis at #21) the drop off in size and wealth is tremendous; tens of millions of dollars in a broadcast deal different. If the league leaves the DC market it will lose almost all those fans as it will no longer be DC United. 60% of the base is from NoVa we aint going to Bodymore to watch a team that isnt ours this isnt baseball. Furthermore, the time and cost to the league to re-establish a team here, wether new or re-located, will be prohibitive.No, the league will subsidize the crappy idtasum deal for as long as it takes it is far less expensive than leaving the market and trying to come back.

  7. Aaron Tankersley on said:

    I love it! I went to K-State before graduating from SC. This came from Jom Rome;
    Jim Rome (@jimrome)
    3/27/12 9:32 AM
    Frank Martin to South Carolina?! Chuck Norris wears Frank Martin pajamas. Frank Martin can swim through land!

    • RJ Sacbuoy on said:

      Let me introduce you to my little friend – Bruce Ellington? Not drinking the Frank Martin Kool-Aid. He got fired as a high school coach for having a roster full of players with fake addresses. In his last game at KSU, one of his best players was ineligible for taking money from from an AAU coach. Enjoy the wins while they last, but brace for the fallout – this is Joe Morrison all over again.

  8. Pat Chisum on said:

    I don’t know about the rest of you, I am super excited about all the scarface references that are now in play.


  9. Bill Rabon on said:

    I am excited about the posibilities. However, I have seen this hype before. I am a Gamecock born and bred. I am a Gamecock educated and bled. However, I have seen South Carolina chew up coaches and spit them out. I haven’t lived in Columbia in many years, but I do remember that legislators and many alumni meddled in and interfered with the athletic program and in my opinion prevented it from reaching its potential. I hope Frank Martin will be allowed to turn our program around. I hope he is strong enough to put some people in their places and do what is necessary to bring South Carolina back to the level it was in the days of Frank McGuire and even higher. Congratulations Coach Martin and South Carolina. GOOOOOO GAMECOCKS !!!

  10. Martin on said:

    I couldn’t see the first video baeucse it’s uploaded as private. If you change it to unlisted instead, you’ll be able to share it but it won’t be visible on your youtube account.I loved the second video, I kept wishing it’s be faster, baeucse the movement would be more visible that way, especailly when the twins were running around.My favorite part was at the beach, and ALL of your jumps!{commenting from my other blog, baeucse blogger won’t let me use selfiemagic for some reason :( }

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