In a press conference Thursday, South Carolina men's basketball assistant coach Chuck Martin said he has been impressed with how the team has responded to the challenges that have come during the offseason due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
"They’ve been committed to trying to create a bubble, when we got together a few months ago, sustaining the bubble and then having a positive outlook," Martin said. "Not worrying about the things that we can’t control, but really focusing in on the things that we can.”
Redshirt sophomore guard Jermaine Couisnard and sophomore center Wildens Leveque said the team is always looking for ways to learn from each other and help each other improve.
“We’re not where we want to be, but I know we're going to get better every day," Couisnard said. "We just keep on at it every day.”
Couisnard said he felt like he improved a lot during his freshman season but is still looking to become a better leader for the team.
"I was just learning, game after game, the stuff that I usually wasn’t doing in the beginning of the season and that I have to be more vocal to be a leader on the court and off the court," Couisnard said.
Leveque said he has been happy with the amount of confidence and experience he gained coming off his freshman season with the Gamecocks.
"I just felt like I grew on being confident and just playing my role, playing up and down the court, rebounding, finishing," Leveque said.
According to Martin, fans might overlook the depth the team has in every position this year.
"I feel like we've got enough bodies to sustain some of the challenges that all coaches around the country encounter," Martin said. "The coaches and the staffs and the teams that can figure out those challenges are the ones that have success."
He said he has been especially impressed with the amount of depth they have at the forward position after senior forward Maik Kotsar graduated at the end of last season.
"You've got Alanzo Frink, you've got Wildens, you've got Jalyn [McCreary], you've got Ja'von Benson," Martin said. "You've got size and depth; so now, hopefully, you can do it collectively, as opposed to just relying on Maik or Chris Silva."
Frink has seen a lot of improvements during the offseason, including working hard on improving his footwork and understanding the game, Martin said. Frink has also put in extra work in strength and conditioning to increase his stamina on the court.
According to Leveque, the team has been having fun both on and off the court while being safe and is excited to play again after almost five months in quarantine.