Greg and Doug McDermott, Jim and Buddy Boeheim and Doc and Austin Rivers are a few father-son, player-coach combos. This season, Gamecock men's basketball head coach Frank Martin and his son, senior forward Brandon Martin, can be added to that list.
Brandon played three seasons at USC Upstate before transferring to South Carolina to play for his dad.
“I wanted a new change and thought playing for my dad would be cool,” Brandon said.
In his three seasons at Upstate, he played 56 games, but only saw action in the first three games of his junior season. He was a contributor during his first two seasons and averaged about 6 points, playing 14 minutes.
The decision for Brandon to transfer took a lot of thought for both him and Frank.
“He told me ‘It was always a dream to play for you,'" Frank said. "And he’s been great."
Frank and Brandon said they both understand their player-coach relationship does not define their father-son bond.
“When the lights come on here in a month and he doesn’t play as much as he wants to play, I’m sure he’s not going to be real happy with me, and that’s ok,” Frank said. “What I’ve told him is, ‘Let’s work really hard at not allowing the player-coach relationship to eliminate the father-son relationship.’”
Frank said he will not give special treatment to Brandon.
“He doesn’t want me to treat him differently as a player because he’s my son, which is the right thing to do, and I don’t want him to hold grudges with me as a coach because he’s my son,” Frank said.
Martin said being part of the same team gives father-son bonding time a whole new meaning. They can spend time together studying the game, learning and adjusting.
“For his first three years in college he’d ask me to watch film, and I’d be like 'I’m not watching film because I don’t coach your team,'” Frank said. “But now I get to do it and it’s pretty neat."
Brandon said he's already noticed Frank's different demeanors when he is coaching and when he is off-duty.
“The coach is more amped up and more of a perfectionist, but the dad is more cool, calm and collected,” Brandon said.
Both said the transition to working on the same team has been smooth so far.
“It’s been going pretty good. Just trying to learn and adjust — it’s a big adjustment,” Brandon said.
Brandon said he wants to bring toughness and the ability to play hard to the team. He said he considers himself someone that wants to be a great teammate and will do whatever is asked of him.
South Carolina will begin its season by hosting USC Upstate — Brandon's former team — on Nov. 9. Brandon's first game with USC Upstate was against South Carolina in Colonial Life Arena. Now, in the first game of his senior year, he will play his former team in the same location.
“It’s kind of funny — I was talking to my former teammates about it the other day. It’s crazy, when I started I was a freshman and we played South Carolina, now I’m a senior playing Upstate,” Brandon said.