From Brian Bowen's uncertain basketball career to recruiting within the Palmetto State for the class of 2019, South Carolina head men's basketball coach Frank Martin had plenty to discuss in a press conference Friday morning at Williams-Brice Stadium.
Since South Carolina’s 2017-18 campaign concluded in March with a 17-16 record, Martin and his staff have recruited plenty of talent for the upcoming season, including T.J. Moss, Jermaine Couisnard, Alonzo Frink, Keyshawn Bryant, Georgetown grad transfer Tre Campbell, and George Washington transfer Jair Bolden.
“I felt that we needed some experience; I really like our freshman guards coming in," Martin said. "I didn’t want to go into the season with so many freshman guys, and Tre ... is an interesting deal. Very good player, I watched him play a ton when he was in high school ... unlike the new wave of thinking, life is not about just showing up and doing whatever you want to do. It’s about coexisting and structure with other talented people and he’s shown he’s willing to do that.”
Bolden has been on the radar for Martin and his team since the day he decided to leave George Washington. Not only will South Carolina have Bolden to depend on, but also Moss and Cousinard. These players both bring a high skill level to the game.
"There’s an excitement that those older guys bring to the table every day that makes young guys learn how to do things and have to compete at a higher level," Martin said. "I like their demeanor.”
With the NCAA deciding Brian Bowen will not be able to play for the Gamecocks in 2018-19 after leaving Louisville, Martin acknowledged the uncertain future of the 6-foot-7 small forward on the court.
“Brian flew to Chicago for the combine,” Martin said. “He was in Chicago for six days. From Chicago he flew to five different cities for five consecutive NBA workouts. That’s 11 straight days of work ... If Brian was here, he would not have done that for 11 straight days in the offseason. That’s what pros do ... That’s how much he loved and continues to love his experience here and what this was all about.”
Currently, Bowen’s future for 2018-19 remains uncertain. However, Martin acknowledged that there are plenty of options for the 19-year-old, such as joining the G-League or playing outside of the United States for one season.
“As far as what’s in store, the reason for pulling out of the draft now is so he can be eligible for the draft next year,” Martin said. “Whether he plays in the G-League, or overseas, those are decisions that will be made by him and his agent as to what’s the best situation.”
With a few remaining scholarships available for Gamecock basketball, Martin stated “good news” is forthcoming regarding them being filled.
“I’d like to sign a guy that’s good enough to play in the NBA,” Martin said. “The plan is to fill it, we’re in there pretty good with some guys that we’ve been recruiting for a while and it’s a matter of guys just making a decision. I’m excited about the possibilities for that last scholarship. We might get good news there pretty soon.”
The significance of recruiting within South Carolina plays an essential role in Martin’s job, despite basketball being “overshadowed” by football and baseball.
“Recruiting the state is very important to me," Martin said. "This state is very underrated in basketball at the grassroots level. We have some very good coaches in this state at the grassroots level. It’s not that there’s not good players in this state, it’s that they get overshadowed because of the attention to football and baseball ... Anyone that tries to argue with that, just doesn’t want to think clearly.”