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June 10, 2015 • Volume 37 • Issue 9 • $1.50

Carolina: Investing in student-athletes ACTION REQUIRED: Don’t miss a single issue of Spurs & Feathers (please visit page 5)


2 • Spurs & Feathers

Spurs & Feathers Published by Aiken Communications, Inc.

Contact Us: 326 Rutland Drive N.W. PO Box 456 Aiken, SC, 29801 To subscribe: Please call 800-559-2311; annual subscription price is $50 Ellen Priest Publisher Aiken Communications, Inc. Tim O’Briant General Manager tobriant@spursandfeathers.com (803) 335-1400 Ext. 500 Brian Hand Executive Editor bhand@spursandfeathers.com (803) 335-1399 Ext. 506 Ed Girardeau Contributing Editor/ Advertising Account Executive ed@spursandfeathers.com (803) 646-9807 Dee Taylor Advertising Director (803) 644-2371 Kathy Boyette Advertising Sales Manager (803) 295-3654 kboyette@spursandfeathers.com Brooks Rogers Advertising Representative (803) 446-4022 brooks@spursandfeathers.com Reporters Kyle Heck and Collyn Taylor Photographers Allen Sharpe and Jenny Dilworth Mary Watson Graphic Designer Cover Design: Tim O’Briant (photo of former women’s soccer player Sabrina D’Angelo receiving The President’s Award at the 2015 Gamecock Gala by Allen Sharpe) Postal Information: SPURS & FEATHERS (USPS 12779) (ISSN 7454368X) is published 20 times annually. The frequency is monthly from December to February, bi-weekly in March, monthly in April, bi-weekly in May, bi-weekly in June, monthly in July and bi-weekly from August-December. SPURS & FEATHERS also publishes two slick-paper magazine issues — one in April and one in August. The annual subscription price is $50 for non Gamecock Club members. Members of the Gamecock Club receive a discounted subscription as a member benefit. Spurs & Feathers is published by Aiken Communications, Inc., 326 Rutland Drive NW, Aiken, SC, 29801-4010. Periodicals postage paid at Columbia, SC Postmaster: Send changes to SPURS & FEATHERS, PO Box 456, Aiken, SC, 29802.

June 10, 2015

Upcoming Events: Gamecock Club

The Darlington County Gamecock Club Annual Summer Pool Party Will be held on Thursday, June 25, 2015 at the Henderson residence 1220 Fox Hollow Drive, Hartsville SC. Gamecock sideline reporter Langston Moore will be our guest speaker. Gamecock Club and Spurs & Feathers personnel will be in attendance to give you the latest. Cocky is also scheduled to appear with the Independence Bowl trophy. This event will be outdoors covered with swimming available. Social/swimming starts at 5:30 p.m. The meal will be served at 6:30 p.m. followed by our guest speaker. Admission is $15.00 for adults and includes a steak meal. Children under 12 - $5.00 (hot dog and chips). All Gamecock fans are invited to attend! For tickets or information contact Jimmy Griffin at (843) 332-8761 or griffjf@ msn.com. If you plan to attend reply before Friday, June 19. Midlands Preseason Football Kickoff Hosted by the Lexington County Gamecock Club When: Thursday, July 30th Where: Seawell’s Restaurant Featuring: Assistant Coaches from the USC Football Staff Price: $30 per person More information to follow. Email lexingtongamecockclub@gmail.com or gamecockclub@sc.edu with questions. Horry County Gamecock Club 20th Annual Golf Classic Will be held on August 8, 2015 at the Grande Dunes Resort Club. Registration begins at 8 a.m. with a shotgun start set for 9 a.m. The fee is $75 per player (includes green fee, cart fee, buffet lunch and a raffle; will be fourman, captain’s choice). Make checks payable to: Horry County Gamecock Club and mail registration to: Horry County Gamecock Club – 1202 Hart St. – Conway, SC 29526. Direct your questions to (843) 902-0558 or EMAIL - jmishoe@dew.sc.gov Sixth Annual My Carolina Club of Charlotte Golf Tournament The event will be held at the Ballantyne Resort and all are welcome to attend. They provide golf, breakfast, lunch, adult beverages, gift prizes, and more. Golfers and sponsors are needed. Sign up online at http:// www.mycarolina.org/s/842/site2014/interior1col-noname.aspx?sid=842&gid=1&pgid= 6482&content_id=8454. Todd Ellis will be joining them along with other surprises. Charleston County Gamecock Club Upcoming events Save the Date! Football Season kickoff party will be August 14 at The Cotton Dock at Boone Hall Plantation.

They will have food, drinks, a band, a live and silent auction, Cocky and the cheerleaders and a few guest speakers. More information in the near future. Greenville County Gamecock Club 2015 Bus trips --Time and location for departure - TBA --Sign up today! First come, first served! Sept 3rd .. Bus trip to USC vs UNC in Charlotte, NC. $40 per seat Sept 19th .. Bus trip to USC vs Georgia in Athens, GA. $40 per seat Nov 7th .. Bus trip to USC vs Tenn in Knoxville, Tenn. $45 per seat *Price includes bus ride - box lunch - drinks coolers are allowed - call for info! *You may call and place your name on any bus trip! Contact T. Wayne @ 901-8462 or Dan @ 244-3739 Florence County Gamecock Club Upcoming events The Florence County Gamecock Club will hold their annual Kickoff Luncheon on August 27 and Tony Morrell of TheBigSpur. com will be in town. They will also present their proceeds from their golf tournament to Gamecock athletics that day. Gamecock Cruisers Football and Presidential library tour This fall the Gamecocks have back-to- back away games at Texas A&M and Tennessee. I am putting together a trip that starts on Tuesday October 27th with everyone returning home on Sunday November 8th after the game in Knoxville. The trip will include a stop over in Dallas-Fort Worth hopefully for a Dallas Cowboys game at Jerry’s world. The only dry camping will be the two nights at A&M. I have tentatively reserved spots at the various campgrounds for10 coaches but can add more. If you are interested please let me know ASAP so I can add reservations as needed. Here is our schedule: Oct 27th - Hoover, Alabama Oct 28th - West Monroe, LA. Home of Duck Commander. Oct 29th - Canton, TX. Start of First Monday Trade days weekend Oct 30th & 31st - College Station, TX we will Dry Camp in visitors RV lot next to the

George Bush Presidential Library November 1st & 2nd - Grapevine, TX. Easy drive to Cowboys Stadium, George W Bush Presidential Library, and Fort Worth Stockyards. (Did I mention my favorite Mexican restaurant is in Grapevine) November 3rd - North Little Rick, AR We will be camped across the river from the Bill Clinton Presidential Library. November 4th - Nashville, TN. Location of the President Andrew Jackson Home. November 5th, 6th, & 7th - Knoxville, TN. Will include a day-trip to Sieverville, TN in the 6th. Hope you will plan on joining us. If you have questions I can be reached at 678.427.3850 cell or wmichaelmcmanus@cs.com. Regards, Mike McManus Carolina Football Fans Texas A&M Trip This November the USC Football team will be making a historic trip to College Station, Texas to play the Aggies. My wife and I are co-ordinated a great motorcoach trip for the game. The trip will be 11 days and 10 nights with accommodations in first class motel facilities and includes 20 plus meals and various side excursions, including a tour and visit of the Alamo in San Antonio, the George Bush Presidential Library in Dallas and the Fort Worth Stockyards. Here is our itinerary: Oct. 24 - Columbia, SC area to Mobile, AL. Oct. 25 - Mobile, AL to Lake Charles, LA Oct. 26 - Lake Charles, LA to San Antonio, TX. Lodging at a Drury Inn on the world famous Riverwalk. Oct. 27 - San Antonio, TX - Tour of Alamo and other sites. Oct. 28 - San Antonio, TX - Fort Worth, TX with lunch stop in Austin, TX. Oct. 29 - Fort Worth, TX with tour of Stockyards and Bush Library in Dallas, TX Oct. 30 - Fort Worth, TX to College Station, TX - Tour of Campus, then overnight in Huntsville, TX Oct. 31 - Huntsville, TX to College Station for game, return to Huntsville for overnight. Nov. 1 - Huntsville, TX to West Monroe, LA - Home of Duck Commander. Nov. 2 - West Monroe, LA to Pell City, AL. Nov. 3 - Pell City, AL to Columbia, SC area with stopover lunch at the Blue Willow Inn in Social Circle, GA. Would love for you to join with us as there are only six seats available on the deluxe non smoking, climate controlled, satellite equiped and rest room motorcoach. To request a flyer or brochure call 803-530-8910 cell or carolinafans@earthlink.net e-mail. Thanks, Don Weathers


Spurs & Feathers • 3

June 10, 2015

Frank Martin ‘extremely excited’ about Gamecock basketball by brian hand Executive Editor

Frank Martin came to South Carolina from Kansas State because he knew the experience would be second-to-none. He knew the fans would be behind his program for the most part in the midst of a tough rebuilding job and he also knew mostly everything he needed to be successful could be found at the University of South Carolina. Everything is never perfect, but three years into his rebuilding project the pieces are in place. “Three years later, I am much more certain that we’re going to get the job done than the day I said yes to the job … we’re extremely excited,” Martin said recently to the Kershaw County Gamecock Club. This past season, South Carolina closed things out with a 17-16 overall record and proved particularly down the stretch once again that it’s only a matter of a time before South Carolina starts competing for SEC championships and NCAA Tournament appearances. “I think in today’s day and age that we all forget how difficult it is to win one game, let alone have a winning season,” Martin said. “Winning one game is extremely hard.

photo by allen sharpe

You’ve got to build a culture and it takes time to get others to understand your vision.” During Martin’s first season that culture seemed a long way into the future. “That first year was interesting. I believe I

aged about 14 years in 12 months,” Martin men’s basketball program and he is driven joked. daily to provide that type of product. A great deal has changed since then and “The only thing that drives me every day heading into the summer of 2015, Martin is - (and) it’s the only thing that’s ever driven pleased with the commitment of his players. me - is to compete for the championship of “As far as our players go, it’s the first time whatever league you are a part of. That’s this time of year that we’ve got a group of the only thing I care about. That means that guys that understand,” Martin remarked. we’re going to continue to fight to become “What do I mean by that? Well, unfortuan SEC champion. That’s our goal. That’s nately they’ve experienced losing and that’s our fight. That’s our drive. And whenever part of it. Well, they’ve also experienced we’re fortunate enough to experience that winning. They’ve experienced what helps us once, then the drive is going to be to do it win and they’ve experienced what helps us again and it’s never going to change,” Marlose … so they’ve got their arms around the tin said in late March. whole experience.” Martin knows that South Carolina fans will be there every step of the way Couple the returning Gameand that’s why he could not be cocks’ understanding with a strong more excited to be the head men’s incoming group that includes a basketball coach at the University McDonald’s All-American in P.J. of South Carolina. Dozier as part of a recruiting class “Here’s a credit to the fans,” that is a consensus top-40 class Martin noted. “In basketball, and Martin believes things are there’s not another University in shaping up quite nicely. “As last year evolved, I thought All Gamecock the country that drew more fans when you combine women’s and we had to improve our athleticism basketball men’s basketball than our fans. and that’s one of the things that we coverage tried to address in recruiting this sponsored by We drew more fans for both men and women than any other Uniyear and we’ve done that,” Martin Yesterdays versity in the country. That should said. give you a thought process of why we the Martin knows that the current students at coaches are so excited to be here.” South Carolina have never seen a winning

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4 • Spurs & Feathers

June 10, 2015

photo by allen sharpe

South Carolina invests in the student-athlete experience

by brian hand Executive Editor

Director Ray Tanner said. “Through ‘The Gamecock Student-Athlete Promise’, our mission is matched financially with personnel and The mission for University of South Carolina programs. It takes a tremendous amount of athletics is pretty simple: Gamecock athletics resources to provide these opportunities, which develops our student-athletes intellectually, helps our student-athletes achieve success on athletically, socially and culturally to compete and off the playing field, in college and in life.” relentlessly for championships and to attain The student-athlete experience goes well high levels of achievement at the University beyond what the Gamecocks do on the field, and throughout life in harmony with our Unicourt, pool and other areas. versity’s vision. Everything at South Carolina is set up to That simple mission statement is pretty promake sure that Gamecock student-athletes found in itself, but at South Carolina the actions have a top-notch experience whether it be with speak louder than words. academics, facilities, comprehensive health South Carolina is utilizing its money for the care, overall life skills and much more. most part to enhance the student-athlete exIn fact, the Gamecock student-athlete promperience with 93 percent of everything South ise was developed to ensure that the experience Carolina athletics does being put towards this at South Carolina is second-to-none. endeavor. From an academic standpoint, the Dodie Broken down, 93 percent of the department’s Academic Enrichment Center is committed to money goes towards enhancing the studentsuccess in the classroom with academic adviathlete experience. The remaining amount sors, learning specialists, tutors and academic goes to the University to support academic mentors. scholarships and to increase the athletic departThe athletics department also offers the Caroment reserves. lina degree completion program that provides “We are proud of our commitment of defunding for any former scholarship studentveloping student-athletes at the University of athlete to complete his or her undergraduate South Carolina,” South Carolina Athletics degree.

chart by eric nichols

That basically lifetime guarantee to South Carolina student-athletes has paid huge dividends as former Gamecock running back Marcus Lattimore can attest. “This whole University and this whole community have just been amazing,” Lattimore said. “I’m definitely prepared for life.” In the ever-changing world of college athletics particularly at the top level of NCAA Division I athletics obviously facilities play a huge part. South Carolina head football coach Steve Spurrier believes the efforts the athletic department has made in these areas has helped not only with the on the field product, but also allowed the Gamecocks to recruit top players to

enhance the student-athlete experience. “The facilities are such that we can recruit the top players in Georgia, North Carolina, Florida and other states (in addition to South Carolina),” Spurrier noted. “The new facilities have been crucial to our recent success.” On and off the field of play, South Carolina is working hard as well to make sure that the student-athletes have everything they need to be as healthy as plausible. “We’re always trying to make sure that we are on the cutting edge and that we’re doing the right thing for our student-athletes all of the time,” South Carolina football athletic trainer Clint Haggard said. Really the student-athletes as they should be are the most important thing for the South Carolina athletics department. That’s why the department offers life skills education like bringing in guest speakers like Janet Judge, a sports lawyer who advises schools on a variety of issues throughout the country. “It’s important to educate student-athletes not only in the classroom and on the field, but it’s also important to help them be good citizens and grow as leaders so they’re better prepared after college,” South Carolina Senior Associate Athletics Director Judy Van Horn said.


Spurs & Feathers • 5

June 10, 2015

ACTION REQUIRED: Don’t miss a single issue of Spurs & Feathers

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amecock Club members: Your membership to Spurs & Feathers is paid in full from your Gamecock Club dues and includes access to electronic versions of the publication and the printed newspapers and magazines. However, US Postal regulations require that you confirm your desire to receive the printed products via the US Mail to maintain bulk mail status. If you wish to access all the news and information provided by Spurs & Feathers as it happens via spursandfeathers.com, no action is required. To continue receiving the newspapers and magazines in the mail, you must opt-in and confirm that selection. You can do so by going to mailmyspurs.com or by calling 1.888.440.8062 toll free. Your response is required by July 15, 2015 to avoid any interruption to your mailed subscription.

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6 • Spurs & Feathers

June 10, 2015

Total team effort needed to make seat selection happen

by brian hand Executive Editor

“People want football seats.” Those simple words by Gamecock Club Executive Director Patrick McFarland are exactly why the yearly seat selection process is so important. “For new members and even current members sometimes it can be a little confusing and what we do this time of year is really try to help people walk through the process,” McFarland relayed. “They’ll call us and ask for assistance and we’ll call them at their reported time if requested and let them know exactly what is available. That can be a little daunting sometimes for somebody that just joined or somebody that has never been through the process, so we are all hands on desk this time of year.” All hands on deck indeed. The Gamecock Club and really all of the South Carolina Athletics Development Office spend a great deal of their time from the end of May until the end of June making sure that members at all levels get the seats they desire that are available. In fact, the Gamecock Club and Athletics Development Office have dubbed their conference area inside the Rice Athletics Center “season ticket control central.” Per policy, seat selection is based on giving level in addition to priority points at the giving level and those at the Lifetime, Diamond Spur and Platinum Spur levels received the first opportunity to purchase tickets on Tuesday, May 26. On Tuesday, May 27, those at the Golden Spur and Garnet Spur levels were given their turn to purchase tickets and Spurs & Feathers had the unique opportunity to sit in on the experience at “season ticket control central.” The second day of seat selection more than proved the all hands on deck aspect as shortly before things got underway at 9 a.m. almost all of the Athletics Development Office and the Gamecock Club was at “season ticket control central” making sure everybody had everything they needed for what would be another long day. Assistant Director of Athletics Development Wayne Hiott took the first call of the day and was asked on the phone how things were going. “Things are going so well that Champions Club and 200 level seats are sold out,” Hiott noted to the caller. “Season ticket control central” featured six computers and a big flat screen television on the wall that displayed the IOMEDIA Virtual Venue of Williams-Brice Stadium that they and those they were on the phone with were utilizing to see exactly where tickets could be available and what was best for them. The IOMEDIA Virtual Venue through the Ticketmaster system is fairly easy to use and is so fine-tuned that there is even an image on the

photo by brian hand

virtual Williams-Brice Stadium video board. “It’s pretty detailed,” Hiott stated. There are only roughly 55,000 season tickets available at Williams-Brice Stadium every year so it is extremely important that the Gamecock Club and the Athletics Development Office work hard to explain things on the phone. “It’s important to explain everything thoroughly. We want them to have a great experience throughout this process. Communication is really key,” McFarland said. South Carolina Membership Services Coordinator Jordan Gardner knows how important this process is on their end and to members as well. “There are plenty of dreams to be made today,” Gardner mused. Assistant Director of the Gamecock Club Jay Brown, Gamecock Club Assistant Hayden Lipham, Coordinator of Premium Seating and Events Blair Cauthen, Gardner and Hiott were pretty much in “season ticket control central” all day with Associate Athletics Director of Development Steve Eigenbrot and McFarland dropping by regularly to see if anybody needed anything. Senior Associate AD/Development and Gamecock Club Jeff Crane would also call in regularly to ask if there were any questions and if he could help in any way possible. In addition, Director of Athletics Development Elaine Arnold made sure to check in and help with special requests as did Director of Membership Services Lindsay Sprague, Membership Services Coordinator Carolyn Outslay and Coordinator Stewardship and Development Communications Kendall Belk. Gamecock Club Assistant Tracy Murphy would also come into “season ticket control central” to make sure things were working well and to see if she could

help in any way. Dan Stahl, General Manager with IMG Learfield Ticket Solutions for the University of South Carolina property, and his staff were also working hard with the Gamecock Club and the Athletics Development Office to make sure the process went smoothly. All of these individuals in addition to Director of Athletics Development Jack Wilson and Special Assistant to Development Clyde Wrenn were helping in this area as well, while also working hard to still manage their normal daily work schedule. Watching everything unfold was incredibly impressive as everyone helping was proving to be quite the multitaskers. The group helping with seat selection a great deal of their time even made advance calls to Gamecock Club members to make sure they remembered their selection time and also kind of give them a heads up of what was going to be available. And this was not just confined to those that gave a great deal of money as Lipham even was working with a Century level Gamecock Club member and explaining how things would work when their seat selection was available June 16-19. Lipham of course did not know exactly how things would work out and what would be available then, but nevertheless he was more than willing to talk with the individual. Lipham’s efforts were indicative of the hard work of all of those helping out in the Gamecock Club and Athletics Development Office. “We care about all of our members,” Gardner said. “We’re tracking Roost members even this far out.” By around noon on Wednesday, May 28, all of those involved realized that they were going to

work without remembering they needed lunch if they did not take the opportunity to order so Cauthen ordered some food for the group. This was even more important because what was about to come would set the tone for the rest of the afternoon as they would take a staggering 22 calls from 1 p.m.-1:45 p.m. After the tough stretch was over, Cauthen articulated just how tough it really was for the group. “It was crazy,” Cauthen said. That craziness would continue for the rest of the afternoon as names on a board that featured over 60 names kept getting crossed off. As the names were getting crossed off the group was also working together when they got off the phones letting others in the room know what tickets had opened up and where. For those in the Gamecock Club and the Athletics Development Office it was incredibly rewarding though because like Gardner mentioned they were fulfilling dreams. In fact, one Garnet Spur level member was so excited he had Cauthen send him pictures of his seats. The selection process on Wednesday, May 27, was supposed to conclude around 4:30 p.m., but the group ended up working closer to 6 p.m. because they wanted to make sure that everybody had everything they needed and that they were ready to do it all over again the next day. The first couple of days of seat selection had been so hectic that Eigenbrot even asked Cauthen at the end of the second day, “have you left this room?” Eigenbrot’s joking question was indicative of the type of total team effort and commitment to the cause shown by all involved. “We want to make sure they have the best experience possible,” McFarland said.


Spurs & Feathers • 7

June 10, 2015

Carolina announces Three Gamecocks spring 2015 GPAs recognized by Phil Steele

South Carolina athletics media relations

University of South Carolina student-athletes completed the 2014-15 academic year with another outstanding semester in the classroom, according to Maria Hickman, Associate Athletics Director for Academics and Student Development. The student-athletes ended the Spring 2015 semester with the second-highest departmental grade point average (GPA) in school history, posting a 3.256. It extended the streak to 17-consecutive semesters of a combined GPA of 3.0 or better for the students who participate in intercollegiate athletics. Three teams earned its highest GPA to date Football (2.938), Men’s Swimming (3.378), and Sand Volleyball (3.503). Women’s Golf earned its third-highest GPA to date, as well as bragging rights by being the GPA leader for teams in the department (3.705). Sixteen of the eighteen teams earned a 3.0 or better GPA. The department named 71 student-athletes to the President’s List, 158 to the Dean’s List, and 360 to the Athletic Director’s Honor Roll

(3.0). Ninety-four student-athletes graduated with an additional 17 on track to complete their degree in August. Student-athletes also logged a record-setting 8,860 hours of community service during the academic year. Sport GPA Baseball 3.028 Men’s Basketball 3.008 Women’s Basketball 3.099 Sand Volleyball 3.503 Equestrian 3.463 Football 2.938 Men’s Golf 3.308 Women’s Golf 3.705 Men’s Soccer 3.231 Women’s Soccer 3.489 Softball 3.442 Men’s Swimming/Diving 3.378 Women’s Swimming/Diving 3.545 Men’s Tennis 3.419 Women’s Tennis 3.430 Men’s Track & Field 2.918 Women’s Track & Field/Cross Country 3.442 Volleyball 3.416

South Carolina athletics media relations

Three University of South Carolina football players have been recognized on Phil Steele’s preseason teams, it was announced last week. Junior wide receiver Pharoh Cooper earned a spot on Steele’s first-team All-SEC squad and was a third-team preseason All-American. Cooper, a 5-11, 208-pounder from Havelock, N.C., garnered first-team All-SEC honors a year ago after finishing third in the conference in receptions with 69, and second in receiving yards with 1,136. A member of the 2014 SEC Fall Academic Honor Roll, Cooper looks to extend the Gamecocks’ streak of a first-team All-American to seven-consecutive years, following Eric Norwood (2009), Alshon Jeffery (2010), Melvin Ingram (2011), Jadevon Clowney (2012 and ‘13), Kelcy Quarles (2013) and A.J. Cann (2014). Fifth-year senior offensive tackle Brandon Shell garnered preseason third-team All-SEC honors by Steele. Shell, a 6-6, 327-pounder from Goose Creek, S.C., has made 36 career starts over the past three seasons, the most on

photo by allen sharpe

the squad, including a streak of 35 consecutive starts. A two-time member of the SEC Fall Academic Honor Roll, Shell looks to be at full strength this fall after sitting out the spring following shoulder surgery. Junior linebacker Skai Moore was named to Steele’s preseason fourth-team All-SEC unit. Moore, a 6-2, 218-pounder from Cooper City, Fla., has led Carolina in tackles in each of the last two years, becoming the first player to lead the team in back-to-back seasons since Emanuel Cook in 2007 and ‘08. In 25 games including 13 starts, Moore has registered 149 tackles and seven interceptions.


8 • Spurs & Feathers

June 10, 2015

A rough year, a charmed life Baseball will get you sooner or later. The game has too much failure, too much chance, too many breaks – good and bad - hardwired into it. The schedule rolls on relentlessly, giving you little time to physically or mentally refresh. Before he turned “Win anyway” into an epic catchphrase, Ray Tanner’s favorite saying may have been “That’s baseball,” which acknowledged the fickle nature of the game. The Southeastern Conference will get you sooner or later. For two decades, it’s reigned as the toughest, most talented baseball conference in the country. If you struggle, there’s no place Andy Demetra to hide your Contributing shortcomings. Writer The arms are too strong, the bats too powerful, the rosters too deep. The trapdoor separating the penthouse from the outhouse is unlike any other conference in America. Thirty games may feel like a lot, but they move by at warp speed. Baseball in the Southeastern Conference got the Gamecocks this year. After an astonishing run of success, South Carolina finished the regular season with a 32-25 record (13-17 SEC), missing the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 1999. The Gamecocks struggled to find consistent of-

photo by jenny dilworth

fense or a reliable roll call of relievers. They had to navigate the back half of conference play with twin “TBA’s” in their weekend rotation. Their defense, long an area of strength, went missing at inopportune times. Time was too short, and the SEC too unforgiving, to let them off the hook. Consider this: last month, South Carolina snapped a streak of 17 straight seasons with a .500 or better record in the SEC. Seventeen years. In the SEC! That’s a staggering level of consistency in 1.) a sport and 2.) a league that rarely lends itself to it. The longest active streak now belongs to Vanderbilt and Arkansas - at six apiece. Frank Martin, South Carolina’s head men’s basketball coach, is fond of saying, “Winning is hard.” Think back to the last five years of Gamecock baseball: the back-to-back College World Series titles, the 22-game NCAA Tournament winning streak, the 19 wins per year in the SEC, the seemingly endless supply of dramatic, spine-tingling victories. All

in a game where you leave so much of yourmodel airplane glue. They rallied from a four-run deficit to defeat #1 LSU, and beat the self to fate. College of Charleston in a three-game series. South Carolina made it easy to think winIn fact, South Carolina finished with a betning was easy. ter record against the top three teams in the This year served as a harsh reminder it’s SEC in winning percentage (5-4) than it did not. South Carolina couldn’t get the big last year, when it hosted an NCAA Regional swings, make the big pitches, or create the breaks that had become so common for them. (5-5). That doesn’t sound like a program that’s When you’re nosed out for an at-large bid, cratering. those missed opportunities add up. Perhaps South Carolina’s shortcomings were frusthey forced themselves into too many situations where they needed them, too. Baseball trating – and in the end, mortally wounding to its NCAA tournament caught up with them. So did hopes. It’s okay to be disapthe SEC. pointed. Keep your expectaA fickle game, and an untions high. But given the stagforgiving league, combined to gering, sustained excellence of turn two on the Gamecocks. South Carolina baseball over And yet, the Gamecocks the years, don’t abandon your won two out of three from #5 perspective, either. Vanderbilt. They captured a All Gamecock baseball It was a rough year in an othseries win at #2 Texas A&M coverage sponsored by erwise charmed life. with a pitching rotation held DiPrato’s That’s baseball. together by chicken wire and


Spurs & Feathers • 9

June 10, 2015

The special bond that is South Carolina athletics take on a very good Bearcat team. At halftime, I am not sure that was his line of thinking, I was not sure I wanted to be there and my teenage sister probably wanted to be anywhere else. However about an hour and a half later, after Antonio Grant hit a game winning three point shot that finished off a miraculous comeback, there we stood, in the upper sections of the Frank, madly hugging each other and dancing around like we had won the power ball lottery. Much like victories can bring together those special moments when you hug, high five, and dance like you thought you never could, losses have a way of bringing you closer together. I remember a loss to Clemson sometime during the early 90s or late 80s at Williams-Brice Stadium. I of course, just a wee lad somewhere between the ages of eight and ten years old handled the loss like I am sure many of the adults did. I yanked off my black Gamecock jersey just outside the stadium and loudly proclaimed to anyone willing to listen to a young child that I was done with this team, with these bums. My father, probably far more upset with the loss than I, quickly grabbed my jersey and told me if that was my attitude that there were over 100 college teams in the country and I could go follow one of them. He was quick to tell me that as a fan of your team, you stay with them, support them, regardless of the outcome of one game or one season. It is a lesson that I believe all Gamecock parents likely have to pass down to their children through the years. Not all moments are hamburgers and milkshakes, there are going to be some spinach and onion moments as well. If not for my father, I would have never developed the love for sports or Gamecock sports that I have. It is that love that has led me into a great career in writing for Spurs and Feathers and hosting a radio show. There are still times, that I may say something or write something that he does not agree with and he is quick to

photo by travis bell/sideline carolina

Dylan Thompson is hugged by his father, Danny, following the Florida win last year. send me a text message giving me his opinion but without him, I wouldn’t have this job or worse, could be a Clemson fan. South Carolina athletics, whether it is football, baseball or basketball is a bond we all share with our families in some capacity and for me

it has always been with my father. With another athletic calendar year set to begin in just over 60 days with the start of fall football camp, here is a toast to my father on Father’s Day that 2015 will bring memorable moments for the both of us.

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Sports are a natural bond between father and son or daughter in that they provide events over which you can bond. Like most, Steve Gunter raised his son, yours truly, to love sports through throwing a baseball in the backyard, shooting hoops in the driveway or running over me in football like Marcus Lattimore through a Georgia linebacker. Along with a love of sports, he passed on a love of South Carolina athletics that I still possess today. That love was developed by taking me to many memorable games through the course of my childhood and the bonding experiences we enjoyed. Having been a Gamecock club member since the early 1980s he was the one that introduced me to great wins and heartbreaking defeats. Hopefully, plenty of you out there will read this article and think back to wonderful moments you have spent with your family inside Frank McGuire Arena, Williams-Brice Stadium or over at Sarge Frye Field. With Father’s Day fast approaching, I wanted to take a second to remember a love for the Gamecocks that has been passed on to me and with little luck, I will pass on to my son Austin. Some of my best moments in life have come at Williams-Brice watching the Gamecocks play and enjoying the thrill of the game sitting next to my dad. One of, if not my favorite, moment came when the Gamecocks picked off Quincy Carter and the Georgia Bulldogs five times in September of 2000 en route to a stunning victory over their Bill Gunter Top Ten team. Contributing The entire SunWriter day following that game was spent discussing the small details of victory and whether the Gamecocks had finally arrived as a legit contender in the SEC. Was Derek Watson a Heisman candidate? Was Phil Petty the quarterback we had been waiting on since Steve Taneyhill? And that defense! How about that defense? All questions that we would ask each other in the days following the game expecting a great hot sports take in return. Why did we do that? Because Gamecock athletics are a bonding element to our relationship. That is probably the same for many of you with your fathers. Another great Gamecock victory I experienced side by side with my dad was the wild comeback win over Bob Huggins and Cincinnati. My father woke up the day of the game and decided the family needed an afternoon at Frank McGuire Arena watching our ball club


10 • Spurs & Feathers

June 10, 2015

‘Be selfish enough to make yourself better’

Summer time for those of us who choose this football life isn’t very fun. Why? Everyone is at the beach or the bbq’s eating carbs on “non cheat days,” sleeping in, or resort to piddling around the house. Enjoying all the AC and WiFi one person can stand for the next couple of months, summer time is a “chill” time for Langston Moore many. For those Contributing choosing to walk Writer the gridiron path, football players use this time to gain ground on the competition, utilizing the summer heat to burn off extra pounds, and any weakness with on field sessions and weight room work. The same goes for the “classroom.” Summer school classes may be small in attendance and long in hours, but these classes are big to the student in “student-athlete.” In most cases players rely on these times to make up for a lesser in season schedules. Ahhh yes, from the weight room back to the classroom back to the weight room, this is the Bill Murray groundhog day schedule. One would ask “why do you subject yourself to this life?” The answer is usually some (Bill) “Belichickian” type answer “it’s for the good of the team.” But that’s a lie! We all would like to think we have lofty ideals and the things we do are for something more than our own selfish wants. But when it comes down to it to have a successful team/ program you need A LOT OF selfishness. These players have to be extremely selfish, especially in the summer!

movies or on ESPN when they show the entire team running and lifting with the music and cinematic camera angles. All of that is cool for TV, but what are you doing when no one is looking? What’s your work ethic and dedication when your teammates aren’t answering the phones to join you to run sprints? Your selfish nature must kick in. I’ve had to rely on this to get me up many a morning to run the steps of Williams-Brice stadium alone. But in showing up repeatedly for my own selfish reasons, I can make myself better and make the team better as well. Besides if I don’t take care of the things I need to, to be the best player I can be (eat right, lose the extra weight, get a tutor to pass to stay eligible) it won’t matter who the coach is and what our team philosophy is. I’ll be too tired or preoccupied to add to the team anyway. It’s a team sport

Yes football is a sport played by a group of people with a similar focus and agreeing set of goals. But by no means should we ever forget that this game (life) is a series of one on one matchups. The team who wins the most one on one matchups will win the game, period. If I beat the man in front of me and put pressure on the QB, and that allows our safety to intercept that pass, (y)OUR team wins. That seems like a clear example of a team working together, but my safety wasnt doing pass rush drills against 320-pound linemen all summer. Nor was I working on backpedaling and doing footwork drills to make the interception. It all starts with our selfish need to make a play individually, and that begins in our own individual work during the spring and summer. We all get lost in the utopia of teamsmanship, but it is important that we never take for granted the individual effort and achievement that must be put forth in order for anyone to Lift weights for you succeed. Be selfish enough to make yourself better, abstain from those things that hold you I hear my #Justachicken teammate Preston back personally, show up and work on your Thorne use his mentor Reggie Kennedy’s view weaknesses. By doing this you are improving point on this. Repeatedly saying to his players the team, you are helping the program become “you lift weights for you.” He explains to them better, and you satisfy that selfish urge to conthat they aren’t lifting weights for him or the tribute in some way. program, they are lifting weights for themselves. The main person who directly benefits A team full of you’s from the effort, discipline, and satisfaction of putting in the honest work is you. You lift In our end of year evaluations, Coach Holtz weights to get stronger so YOU can be better, would sit us down and explain where he so YOU can contribute/start/etc. The by-prod- thought we were and where he felt we needed uct of doing this for yourself is that YOUR to go, and usually after sweating this meeting efforts to improve yourself will only make the for a couple of days, you came out refreshed TEAM better. You have to be selfish enough because he would usually be a lot less harsh to show up to the weight room to do the work, than he was on the “Proving Ground.” But even if you’re the only one there. You have after he went through all of the tangible atto be selfish and decline invites to cookouts tributes, he would ask a simple question. or days on the lake to improve yourself. This “What would this program be like if we had a may sound contrary to what you’ve seen in the team full of YOU’s?” WOW! What a power-

photo by allen sharpe

ful question. It would automatically make me reflect and assess my values as I thought they related to success. Little did I know at the time that Coach Holtz was only reflecting one of the greatest principles of self-improvement in the world. Thomas Carlyle simply restated this big idea, saying that “Make yourself an honest man, and then you may be sure there is one less rascal in the world.” Instead of worrying about everybody else, make sure that you’re working on yourself and being part of the solution not the problem. Even though the excitement of summer is here, there is work to do individually for these players. Most of this work will be done on your own, while all the coaches recruit and vacation during the summer months. And even though you may go through the motions, you know if you gave an honest effort at improving yourself daily during this time. “When you lay your head down on the pillow at night only you know if

you did your best today.” This was another one of Lou’s phrases that got plenty of eye rolls and “yeah right” (under our breath of course), but this holds so true in all areas of life not just during the hot summer months of the offseason. This is what makes football and all sports great in that we see how individuals can come together for a common cause and take individual talents/efforts and mesh them together to win. All great teams start with extraordinary individual efforts and willingness to put egos aside to do whats best for the team on a individual basis and in turn help the team win. Remeber ‘iron sharpens iron,’ strengthening YOU, makes us better. Forever to Thee... Follow Langston Moore on Twitter at: @reMovetheChains #justachicken #eat2win #yoby


June 10, 2015

Spurs & Feathers • 11


12 • Spurs & Feathers

June 10, 2015

South Carolina Gamecocks

Recruiting Round-up DL Nyles Pinckney of Whale Branch has some quality out of state offers like Georgia, Florida, Virginia, Miami, Duke, North Carolina, Georgia Tech and Florida State. He’s not shutting out any of those right now but as the recruiting calendar turns to summer, Pinckney’s primary focus is on USC and Clemson. Both continue to work him hard and he’s in regular contact. USC defensive line coach Deke Adams continues to try and sell Pinckney on the virtues of joining the program. “He was telling how they’ve got a new playing style on Phil Kornblut defense that fits me and I Contributing can do whatever I want,” Writer Pinckney said. “He talked about how their academics fit me because I want to major in business. And he talked about how this past year was a rough year but they are looking upwards now.” He visited USC for a junior day and he will get back this summer but he doesn’t plan to participate in any camp workouts. Pinckney also plans to see some out of state schools but it’s the battle within the border he’s dealing with right now. “I’m leaning towards kind of in state because I feel like I’ll be close to my family,’ he said. “I’m really not all the way there but I feel kind of closest to staying in state.” Pinkney said the out of state schools recruiting the hardest are Georgia, Georgia Tech and Alabama. He also wants to see Georgia, Georgia Tech and Alabama. Pinckney said there’s no leader right now including between the Tigers and Gamecocks. “They are both kind of high on my list because they are in-state,” Pinckney said. He is thinking about graduating early so he wants to make his decision by August. WR Larry Collins Jr. of Lower Richland opened up a lot of eyes in camps last summer and he’s looking to do the same this summer starting with USC’s Showcase Camp June 13th. The Gamecocks have kept up their recruiting interest in Collins and he’s done likewise with them. “USC has been telling me a lot,” Collins said. “They want me to come and look at the facilities. They’ve been recruiting me pretty hard.” Of the schools that have offered him, he feels USC, Wake Forest, North Carolina, Louisville and Georgia Southern are showing the strongest interest. Some of his other offers are Auburn, Florida State, Tennessee, Virginia and East Carolina. “All are recruiting me pretty hard,” Collins said adding he doesn’t have any favorites at this point. He’d like to make his decision during the upcoming season. LB Kenneth Ruff of Fort Lauderdale, FL

By Phil Kornblut

plans to release his top ten list July 4th and two teams that will make the list are USC and Clemson. North Carolina will be a third. Ruff has nearly 30 offers. Some of the others are Kentucky, Cincinnati and Georgia Tech. Ruff has been favoring USC and that remains the case. Gamecock recruiters Lorenzo Ward and Deke Adams have been by his school this spring. Ruff plans to attend the Gamecocks’ camp on June 13th. “The staff, they welcomed me and they like my game, they know my weaknesses and my strengths,” Ruff said. “I can see myself playing in that program. And my family, they love South Carolina.” Ruff did not rule out the possibility of a commitment while at the USC camp but he said he might wait until he takes his official visits in the fall to make a final decision. Ruff is going on a college tour starting with Florida State June 9th. That tour will include other stops to USC, Michigan State, Arkansas and others. Ruff said USC’s lead on the field is not by a wide margin. “It will all go by the visit,” he said. He plans to work in official visits during his season on bye weeks and he said USC will be one of those visits. LB Kash Daniel (6-2 240) of Paintsville, KY has cut his list down to a final four of USC, Kentucky, Louisville and Florida. Some of those offering schools not making the cut were Purdue, Charlotte, Marshall and Ohio. Daniel is looking at making a decision in June after visiting his four schools. He is going to Louisville the first week in June, Kentucky June 8th, Florida the third week of the month and then USC on his way back from Florida. USC was one of the first major programs to offer Daniel and the Gamecocks have continued to keep up the strong interest with him. “Coach Botkin came up and he offered me,” Daniel said. “It was real overwhelming. Getting the opportunity to play for the University of South Carolina and Steve Spurrier, that’s as unreal as it gets. Being a small town kid in Kentucky, you don’t get these opportunities. Coach Botkin told me on the phone he really likes my hip flexibility and my overall strength and size. It’s exactly what he’s looking for in a linebacker.” Daniel said he hears from Botkin every day via social media and is also in regular contact with the recruiters from his other three schools. “Everybody is pretty equal,” he said of the recruiting efforts. “I have a good relationship with everybody that’s recruiting me.” Of course, with two in-state schools in his final four, it wouldn’t be surprising if Daniel had a preference for staying home. But he said that’s not the case. “Everybody is pulling me to UK obviously because I’m from Kentucky,” Daniel said. “At the end of the day, this is my decision and I’m going to spend the next four years where I feel at home no matter if it’s in Kentucky or

South Carolina or wherever it may be. I’m not a type of kid that will stay in state just because of where I’m from, so my options are very wide open.” Along with his 180 tackles last season, Daniel had 4 interceptions, returning two for touchdowns, and three sacks. One of Georgia’s top 2016 prospects is looking strongly out of state at this point. DB Marlon Character (6-0 173) of Atlanta has a top three of USC, Ohio State and Virginia Tech with no favorite. He has been considering Georgia as well but right now it’s from those out of state programs where Character is feeling the most love. “I’m pretty much set on those three,” Character said. “There are others recruiting me like Miami, Georgia, Georgia Tech and Pitt. I’m just trying to do what’s best for me as far as seeing myself on the next level after college, just trying to make the best decision for the future. Lorenzo Ward has been USC’s lead recruiter for Character who has also met Steve Spurrier but hasn’t met new defensive coordinator and secondary coach Jon Hoke. Ward and his counterparts from Virginia Tech and Ohio State apparently have made the strongest impression on Character. “The coaches recruiting me the hardest are from those three schools and I have the best relationship with those coaches,” Character said. “What I like about South Carolina is they are unafraid to play certain freshman as long as you come in and execute. Coach Ward has been very excited about me coming down there and me getting on the field and playing and making an impact on the field.” Character said Ward has told him he could work at safety and cornerback early in his career before settling on a permanent home. Character visited USC last season for the Georgia game. He only got a look at the stadium and the weight room, but he also got a good feel for gameday in Columbia. “I liked the feeling there from the game standpoint,” he said. “It was a great feeling being there, a real good experience.” Character plans a return visit to USC this summer, probably in June. He also plans to visit other schools after not visiting anywhere in the spring. He would like to make his decision before the season and it won’t be based solely on football related factors. “Mainly going to be my relationship with my position coach and can I see myself there for the next three to four years and producing and getting better as a player and a student,” Character said. “Making sure the school is perfect for me, not just going there because they have a good football team.” Character played in just four games last season due to a severe hip pointer. He still managed a couple of interceptions and around 20 tackles. DE Jordan Woods of Orlando doesn’t have favorites among teams at this point but he

does have a favorite college head coach, and that news bodes favorably for USC. “I just believe Steve Spurrier is the best college coach in football,” Woods said. “To me, he can take a mediocre team and make you sweat. He changed the whole program around, made them SEC contenders. He’s a great coach and I really respect him.” USC was one of the early offers for Woods and he said his relationship with the Gamecocks remains good. “I feel the same way about them as when they first offered me,” he said. “I still think they are one of the better schools.” USC recruiter Steve Spurrier Jr. was down to check on Woods this spring as were recruiters from several other offering schools. His offer list also includes Florida, Florida State, Georgia, Miami, Michigan, South Florida, Central Florida, Florida International, Florida Atlantic, NC State, Duke and North Carolina. Woods hasn’t shortened his list and has no leaders, but he does prefer, to some degree, the SEC and ACC schools. Woods said his coach would like him to make his decision before the season but he’ll do that only if he’s 100% certain on a decision. LB Jonathan Jones of Orlando will join some teammates on a college tour and USC will be one of their stops. They will also see Georgia, Georgia Tech, Duke, North Carolina, NC State, Maryland and Michigan. Another USC OL target, Josh Ball of Fredericksburg, VA, visited Auburn and Florida State late last week and is set to announce his decision Friday at a camp in Baltimore. Virginia, West Virginia, Penn State and Virginia Tech are some of the others on his short list. Basketball News: USC women’s coach Dawn Staley added 6-2 Georgia Tech transfer Kaela Davis to her roster last week. Davis was a first team All-ACC performer last season after averaging 19.6 points per game. She will have to sit out next season and will have to seasons to play. Davis is the second former ACC star to transfer to USC this offseason. Earlier 6-2 Sarah Imovbioh announced her plans to transfer from Virginia as a graduate student to play her final season at USC. 6-2 shooting guard Keyshawn Woods, who is transferring from Charlotte, is not pushing the issue this time around as he decides on a school for a second time. Woods made an unofficial visit to USC last month and that’s been his only visit so far. Woods said he hears from the Gamecocks “pretty much every day.” He is also looking at Butler, Creighton, St. Joseph’s, and Wake Forest for visits. He is scheduled to see Creighton June 16th. As for USC with him at this point, Woods said, “I really like South Carolina.” Woods plans to enroll at his new school for the second session of summer school.


Spurs & Feathers • 13

June 10, 2015

Gamecocks want to ‘earn it’ this summer

While college students around the country training in the afternoon,� Coach Connolly will be making plans for their summer, foot- said. “In the morning we do linear speed, ball players have an agenda already laid out lateral speed, and speed, quickness and agilfor them. The Gamecocks are no exception. ity drills, plus anaerobic conditioning. “We have an eight-week summer proThe weight training is the usual litany of gram,� USC Strength and Conditioning routines. Coach, Joe Connolly, said. “We’ll go four “We do all cleans, lifts, squats, pull ups, weeks here in June, July 4th is deadlifts, dumbbells, all the a discretionary week, so we’re variations. We tailor the workoff, and we’ll have four weeks outs to the individual. We don’t leading up to the start of fall train a freshman the same way camp.� we do a senior, I don’t think Most of the squad reported you can train an 18-year-old the last week, including 18 newway you do a 22, 23-year-old.� comers, who, according to The process begins with each Coach Connolly, are not fully individual. ready for what awaits them. “I sit down with every player “It’s a shock, both psychologiand we develop three personal cally and physically, no matter goals unrelated to football and what they’ve heard or how hard three professional goals related Glenn Snyder they think they have prepared. to football,� Coach Connolly Inside Everything is at a higher insaid. “With goal setting you Look tensity level than what they are want to be realistic; goals that used to in high school or even junior colare attainable. Afterwards you evaluate lege.� those goals, and once achieved, you set new Because of NCAA restrictions, the goals. We want every player to progress as a south carolina athletics media relations strength staff spends just two hours a day person and a player. with the players. “In the off-the-field goals we talk academi- Connolly and the Gamecocks have an eight-week summer conditioning program. “We condition in the morning and weight cally oriented, family oriented, personality

                     

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oriented, significant other type things. We’re very proud that we had the highest-ever GPA for the South Carolina football program this past semester. The strength staff does a lot of work to help facilitate that. “The on-the field goals are playing time, and then statistics: tackles for the defensive players, catches for the receivers, rushing yards for the backs, blocking percentage for the linemen, things like that. We talk about their role as a teammate, how they envision they can best help the team, maybe with special teams or with the practice squad.� Coach Connolly said there is a theme for the workouts. “We want to be country strong. We want to ‘Earn It.’ That is what is on the back of our shirts and we say it every day. We want to be the strongest, the best conditioned team that we can be when fall camp starts. We know that the other teams are working hard, but we don’t want to be outworked by anyone. I think teams start to come together as a whole in the summer; it’s really the first time that everyone is there and working together as one unit. We try to do everything we can to ensure our players have all the tools necessary for them to be successful physically.�


14 • Spurs & Feathers

June 10, 2015

Gamecocks going to ‘work tirelessly’ to bring program back in 2016 by kyle heck Reporter

South Carolina head baseball coach Chad Holbrook will be the first one to tell you that the 2015 season was unacceptable. The Gamecocks, who came into the season ranked in the top-10, struggled through a 32-25 year and missed the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 1999. “We’re going to work tirelessly to make sure that when I’m sitting up here next year at this time, we’re getting ready to play a big NCAA Tournament game and not wrapping up our season,” Holbrook said at his end-of-the-year press conference. It was a disappointing year where the offense and defense struggled throughout the year and injuries also took a toll on the team. The biggest injury came when Friday night starter Wil Crowe was forced to undergo Tommy John surgery midway through the season. Players like Marcus Mooney and Connor Bright went through down years due to a combination of injuries and lack of consistency. All of that added together led to a year that Holbrook, his coaching staff and his players were not used to. “It’s been a difficult week or so since we lost to Missouri in the SEC tournament,” Holbrook said. “It’s been a difficult time for me, as difficult as any time in my coaching career from a professional standpoint. Obviously we fell short of the goals we had in mind for this year.” Despite the disappointment, there were worth it, even though our team didn’t acsome bright spots that Holbrook was proud complish all that we wanted to accomplish.” of. Senior first basemen Kyle Martin was Junior Max Schrock was another player one of those. that stood out. Battling injuries all season After turning down a large sum of money long, Schrock still managed to hit .328 to go last season to turn professional and return with six homers and 34 RBIs in 51 games. for his senior year, Martin met and exceed- He will also be forced to decide whether ed the expectations set for him this year. he wants to go pro or return for his senior The Greenville native won the triple crown as he is expected to be drafted in the upper for the Gamecocks, batting .350 with 14 rounds of the MLB draft as well. However, home runs and 56 RBIs. Martin also stole Holbrook has a feeling that Schrock will 11 bases, which was third on the team. make the same decision that Martin did last “I couldn’t be more proud year. of Kyle,” said Holbrook, who “We’ve had some very long added that he thinks Martin talks over the last couple of will be drafted in the top weeks and he has a strong five rounds of June’s MLB desire to return for his sedraft. “He turned down a fair nior year,” Holbrook said of amount of money to return Schrock. “That doesn’t enfor his senior year and get his sure that it’s going to happen All Gamecock baseball degree. Him being an Allbut I think the only thing that American, I’m sure he would coverage sponsored by can keep him from that is DiPrato’s tell you his decision was being drafted in an area and

photo by allen sharpe

spot that is one he can’t turn down.” In addition to some high school recruits that are committed to South Carolina, the draft will also affect junior pitcher Jack Wynkoop. He’ll have a decision to make after stepping up to take the ace role after Crowe went down. The Virginia Beach, Va. native went 8-5 with a 3.27 ERA in 14 games started this year. Looking to the future, Holbrook is excited about his returning players and the incoming recruits. Freshmen like Hunter Taylor and Clark Scolamiero stepped up this season, particularly at the end of the year, and they will be expected to continue to improve and make an impact come next season. “I’ve always liked my freshmen class,” Holbrook said. “Those guys have bright futures here. They all have to improve and grow up, but the talent, the makeup, the toughness and the competitive spirit that they all have is very important. They’re go-

ing to play an important role to getting us back to where we want to be.” Holbrook made it clear that he doesn’t plan on making seasons like this one a trend. This offseason will be different than most as Holbrook plans on increasing the sense of urgency and said that his players and the sunrise might become good friends over the fall. “You can put the gas down a little bit more and that’s what we’re going to do,” Holbrook said. “Our players are going to need to understand that what we just went though is not acceptable. I’m going to try and make that as clear as I possibly can. “I’m not going to let this one year define me,” Holbrook added. “To have been out (to Omaha) six times and won two national championships, I think I know what it takes to get there. I’m anxious as I possibly could be to start practice tomorrow and work on trying to get there in 2016.”


Spurs & Feathers • 15

June 10, 2015

Dream of big things for the Gamecocks

photo by allen sharpe

her in the upcoming year. The baseball team has solid recruits to join some excellent returning players. The last time Carolina missed the NCAA tournament was 1999. The team that followed in 2000 went 5610 overall (25-5 SEC) and was the number one seed in the tournament. That started a 15-year run of NCAA appearances that included two national championships and two runner-ups.

And we can’t forget to mention the equestrian team defending it’s National Championship, the two golf teams coming back from seasons where they both received No. 1 seeds and all the other sports in which the Gamecocks were extremely competitive. We have a lot to look forward to in the coming year. Enjoy your summer and dream of big things for the Gamecocks!

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Now that the school year is joined him and those are three over, it’s time to look forward to good players to build around. the future and the 2015-16 school It’s also exciting to have a new year. quarterback. Sure it’s a little unNot to diminish the accomsettling to not know how good it plishments of the past year. will turn out, but Connor Mitch Certainly we appreciate the has great potential as do the other student-athletes and their hard quarterbacks that will compete work in all of the sports. Without for the position. them we would have nothing to Expectations are always diflook forward to, so here’s a tip of ficult to live up to such as last Ed Girardeau the cap to all the young people year’s football team. This year, Contributing who entertained us over the 2014nobody knows what to expect Editor 15 year. but with a new defense with new It is hard to believe, but in two players on both sides of the ball, months the football team will be nothing is better than a team that practicing and the season will not be far behind. surpasses expectations. This could be the year. Tickets for the kickoff in Charlotte against In basketball, the men will build on a winning North Carolina went on sale this past week. It record from this past year and add some outwill be a huge game against a rival and we will standing new players to go with solid returners. need to make it a home field advantage by pack- This could be the year that Frank Martin gets ing the stadium. his team to the postseason. Playing in the Panthers’ stadium will give a Meanwhile, the women return All-Americans bowl game atmosphere like nothing that has and All-SEC players. Dawn Staley has imbeen experienced for South Carolina to open proved every year since she became the head the season. coach. Improvement this year would mean at Phil Steele released his All-SEC pre-season least playing for the National Championship. team and Pharoh Cooper was first team. Bran- Coach Staley does not back down from her goal don Shell and Skai Moore being named as well of winning everything. I would not bet against

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June 10, 2015

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