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PRSRT STD U.S. POSTAGE PAID COLUMBIA SC PERMIT NO. 389

June 25, 2014 • Volume 36 • Issue 6 • $1.50

Kyle Martin return ‘big boost’ for Gamecocks Holbrook, Gamecocks eager for 2015


2 • Spurs & Feathers

June 25, 2014

photo by jenny dilworth

Kyle Martin’s tough decision a ‘big boost’ to the Gamecocks by mike kucharski mike@spursandfeathers.com

South Carolina first baseman Kyle Martin said he had to make “the toughest decision” of his life after being selected in the 20th round of the MLB Draft, but his decision to return to South Carolina delighted head coach Chad Holbrook. Holbrook said that he received a call from Martin late on Tuesday, June 10, that worried him at first until he answered the phone. “He had a little pep in his voice - seemed relieved, seemed excited - so I knew what he was getting ready to tell me. He’s not a good poker player, but I knew what he was getting ready to tell me before he All Gamecock baseball told me coverage sponsored by because he DiPrato’s was happy. When our players are happy about returning, it makes a coach feel awfully good … we needed some good news and I felt like we’d won a big-time series on the road or just won a regional when we get a player like that back,” Holbrook said The return of Martin pleased not only Holbrook, but he added that he got calls from many friends and other players congratulating

him and Martin for returning. “It was obviously a big boost for our program and for our team for next year. Obviously he’s going to be a senior leader, team captain and our only remaining player who has played in the College World Series and actually gotten a hit in Omaha,” Holbrook remarked. “So having his experience back to lead us and having so many young players coming into the program next year, Kyle will be a great example for those guys. “Kyle has worked extremely hard both on the field and off and he’s the epitome of what a student-athlete is. He’s done great in the classroom, he’s close to his degree and obviously he’s been a great player for us. It’s a big-time boost for us,” Holbrook added. Martin described the choice of returning to South Carolina or joining the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim organization as “probably the toughest decision that I’ve ever made.” “Even going back to high school and deciding what college I was going to had nothing on this. This was definitely the hardest decision I’ve ever made in my life because I’ve always had a dream to play pro ball,” Martin explained. “It’s hard to pass something up like that, but the deal wasn’t there, it wasn’t what I was hoping for, so obviously I’m looking forward to coming back and playing here. “It took awhile to come up with the decision - a couple of days, couple of long nights sitting up debating what I was going to do. Me and my family sat down, discussed it, took a lot

of time and just decided that this was the best decision. Come back, work toward my degree and play another year here,” Martin continued. Martin noted that he talked to many former Gamecocks about their experiences in professional baseball and the difficulties that come with trying to reach the highest level along with their experiences at South Carolina and how much the program meant to them. Martin said through those discussions, he began to realize how much the program and University meant to him, which helped him come to his decision. “At the beginning maybe I was leaning toward signing, but that was just me being more involved emotionally. Once I started talking to everybody, getting other opinions, I started leaning more toward coming back. Talking with (Brian) Buscher, talking with (Adam) Matthews, talking with (Michael) Roth and Drew Meyer even gave me a call, but talking with all of them kind of helped me to make the right decision,” Martin said. Both Holbrook and Martin began to look to next season with Holbrook noting that Martin may have the option to move positions around some and possibly pitch. He said that Martin’s return gives him many options with the infield for 2015, but “it’s a good problem to have.” “It’s a big deal and totally changes the dynamic of your team for next year. You know that right away you’ve got two guys coming back in Max (Schrock) and Kyle that have hit in the middle of our lineup and that makes

me feel good,” Holbrook commented. “We feel good about some of the guys that we’ve recruited being able to hit in the middle of our lineup, so I think we’ll be a formidable team offensively. A lot of that has to do with Kyle. “Kyle also contributed a lot to us having a really good defensive team which goes unnoticed. We fielded a high percentage - very high - and a lot of that is attributed to Kyle. So he’s very important in all aspects - offensive, defense, off the field, the way he goes to class, the way he studies and takes care of business. He’s a very responsible guy and a great leader for our team,” Holbrook expounded. Martin knows that as one of the oldest players on the team next year he will be counted on as a leader. He said that he will embrace that role and is looking forward to another shot at making a run to the College World Series. “Obviously we’ve got a lot to take care of and we want to go back next year and go as far as we can,” Martin said. “I’m going to try my best to lead this team in the right direction and get us as far as we can go … obviously everyone’s dream in college baseball is to play in Omaha and that’s what we’re going to work for. “I’m going to work hard to get everybody back there. Me being the older guy here, I’m looked at to take a leadership role, helping all the younger kids work as hard as they can to get the job done and getting into them if I have to. I’m expected to pull the best out of them and the team,” Martin concluded.


Spurs & Feathers • 3

June 25, 2014

Spurs & Feathers Published by Aiken Communications, Inc.

What’s Inside? - Table of Contents Catching up with Connor Shaw.................................4 2014 previews for Gamecock soccer teams...... 6-7

Something to crow about!

2014 lookahead for volleyball....................................8 Men’s golf proud, but not satisfied........................10

Contact Us: 301 Greystone Blvd. Columbia, SC 29210 (803) 335-1399 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

Starting Five with TeMarcus Blanton.....................11 Women’s golf looking to continue success.........12 Success continues in year two for Martin’s “B-Ball of the South”....................................13 Recruiting Roundup....................................................14 Seven Gamecocks selected in MLB Draft.............15 Holbrook, Gamecocks already working toward 2015 season....................................................16 Softball takes another step forward......................17 Assistant coach profiles..............................................18 Swimming adds experience to staff......................20

Mike Kucharski Reporter mike@spursandfeathers.com (803) 335-1399 Ext. 507

Checking in with Lexington County......................21

Ed Girardeau Contributing Editor/Sales Account Executive ed@spursandfeathers.com (803) 646-9807

Cross country looking to continue progression............................................23

Dee Taylor Advertising Director (803) 644-2371

Starting Five with Marcus Stroman........................25

Kathy Boyette Advertising Sales Manager (803) 295-3654 kboyette@spursandfeathers.com Matt Socha Graphic Designer Postal Information: Spurs & Feathers (ISSN 074454368) is published weekly by Aiken Communications, 326 Rutland Drive, Aiken, South Carolina 29801. Application to Mail at Periodicals Postage Prices is pending at Aiken, SC. POSTMASTER: please send address changes to Spurs & Feathers, 326 Rutland Drive, Aiken, SC 29801.

Captain’s Take on men’s basketball .......................22

Tiffany Mitchell wins gold medal............................24

Upcoming Events: Gamecock Club........................26 Checking in with Fairfield County..........................26 Gamecocks continue soaring in classroom........27 Florence, Beaufort chapter check-ins....................28 Moritz, sand volleyball happy for opportunities in year one...................................29 Sterling Sharpe named to College Football Hall of Fame..................................30 Unique views from Ed sponsored by Unique Expressions.........................31

Photo by ALLEN SHARPE

Gamecock catcher Grayson Greiner (pictured) was selected an All-American by two sources. Closer Joel Seddon and starter Wil Crowe also earned All-American recognitions.

All-America honors roll in for Gamecocks Catcher Grayson Greiner led the way for a trio of South Carolina baseball players earning All-American honors from multiple sources following the 2014 season. Closer Joel Seddon earned All-American recognition as well, while starter Wil Crowe was honored as a Freshman All-American. Greiner earned All-America honors from Perfect Game and Baseball America. Greiner, a third round MLB Draft pick by the Tigers, played in 60 games with 58 starts, hit .311 (66-for212) with 39 runs scored, 50 RBI, 13 doubles and eight homers, also a .389 on-base percentage and a .486 slugging mark. Greiner was named the 2013-14 South Carolina Co-Male Student-Athlete of the Year alongside Gamecock football/basketball standout Bruce Ellington. Greiner has been recognized in the baseball circles as well as he was a semifinalist for the Johnny Bench Award for the top catcher in college baseball and was on USA Baseball’s Midseason Watch List for the Golden Spikes Award. Greiner earned SEC All-Defensive team honors, fielding .995 this year at catcher with just two errors. He also recently was named to the CoSIDA Academic All-America second-team. Seddon earned All-America laurels from the NCBWA while also being an All-SEC selection. Seddon, an 11th round MLB Draft pick by the Athletics, went 3-2 with 14 saves and a 1.66 ERA in 48.2 innings with 59 strikeouts. He allowed just five runs, four earned, in 26 relief appearances this year. Opponents hit .213 against him. Seddon led the SEC in saves this season, which was also good enough to rank in the top-20 in the nation. Crowe earned his Freshman All-American honors from Collegiate baseball. Crowe went 8-3 in 15 starts with a 2.75 ERA in 91.2 innings pitched. Crowe allowed just 32 runs, 28 earned, on 76 hits with 19 walks and 59 strikeouts. Crowe was strong in his last start with the Garnet & Black as he pitched a four-hit complete-game shutout in a 9-0 win against Campbell in the NCAA Columbia Regional that earned him All-Tournament Team honors. Crowe was also honored by the SEC twice as SEC Pitcher of the Week and SEC Freshman of the Week. (Story courtesy of South Carolina Athletics Media Relations)


4 • Spurs & Feathers

June 25, 2014

photo by allen sharpe

Catching up with Connor Shaw

In Gamecock Nation, he has a singular role, a distinction that will meld him to the program long after his grandchildren are telling stories of how gramps helped usher in the Golden Age of South Carolina football. On the telephone the other day, Connor Shaw chuckled at the mention of his iconic standing among Carolina fans that unfailingly jumped out of their seats for him at Williams-Brice Stadium where he never lost a game. “It was a great time with some great memories,” he says with conviction. Bart Wright His voice trailed off and Contributing you realize, for all the Writer dedication and leadership he gave to Coach Steve Spurrier’s football team, his mind is elsewhere at the moment, caught up in pursuit of another challenge. He’s trying to earn a spot on the final roster of the Cleveland Browns. The singular distinction of being The One at Carolina has given way to the call to be One of 96. That’s the standard number of quarterbacks (three), multiplied by the 32 NFL team’s rosters.

It’s one of the most exclusive jobs in all of professional sports with only 96 members at a given time, 96 people actively involved on a weekly basis with playing quarterbacks at the game’s highest level. “I hadn’t thought of it that way,” Shaw said, “but that’s what it comes down to; we’re out here to prove ourselves. It isn’t easy but it’s exciting, it’s a real challenge every day, or even every minute of every day. One of 96, that’s the goal, all right.” Shaw was coveted by the Browns, who hoped to draft him in the late rounds, but when it got to the seventh round, the news flashed across his television screen that Cleveland had made a trade with Baltimore, sending its seventh round selection to the Ravens for a future sixth round pick. As soon as he realized that almost certainly meant he wouldn’t be drafted, Shaw received a call from the Browns assuring him he was still wanted and he was on a plane to Cleveland the next morning as a free agent looking for a job in a group with the most publicized rookie – competing with former teammate Jadeveon Clowney in that category – in the NFL, Texas A&M’s Johnny Manziel. Also in the group are veteran Brian Hoyer who started last season looking like an emerging star until he was knocked out for the season

with a knee injury, and Tyler Thigpen, a former Coastal Carolina player who has been one of 96 since he was drafted in 2007. You never know what might happen once you take your place among the 96. Thigpen once started 11 games for Kansas City. Former Clemson backup quarterback Charlie Whitehurst has been traded a few times as a member of the 96 and has banked millions in his career, having recently signed a two-year deal in Tennessee for $4 million. “It’s a tremendous experience,” Shaw said of his first weeks of being marinated in the NFL ways, “but there’s so much to learn, you feel like there’s no time to take off.” He has developed what he calls “a great relationship” with Manziel, portrayed in the media as a guy who lacks full commitment to football, but a guy Shaw knows as, “a hard worker, a student of the game, he’s in here grindin’ away like all of us.” It will be a challenge, but Shaw will have a shot, most likely as a third quarterback behind Hoyer and Manziel, because he listens and he has a skill set that blends nicely with the NFL game. Shaw has a reputation for taking care of the football, not making silly mistakes and finding the open man. If he can display those characteristics in camp later this summer, he’ll win a job.

“Everything is exaggerated here,” he said. “Fast players are faster, big guys are bigger, tight coverage is tighter, everything is up a notch.” He will have his eyes opened when he enters an actual game for the first time, which has been described for a rookie as akin to walking across a busy freeway. Be careful, stuff happens fast. “It’s not like anything I’ve had to do before,” he said. “When you come from high school to college, they give you a lot of leeway, they allow time for you to absorb the playbook, practice it, you go over and over things until they feel you’re comfortable. “When you go from college to the pro level,” he said, “they give you a playbook, and you’re expected to start producing, right now. Experience really helps.” In that regard, Thigpen has been a big help. They share an agent and the former Chanticleer has been offering tips and insights on a daily basis. “I feel grateful to be here,” he said, “grateful for my college career and for Coach Spurrier and the staff who did everything they could to get me ready for this.” Now it’s up to Connor Shaw to make it all work. That, at least, is something he’s done before.


Spurs & Feathers • 5

June 25, 2014

Future SEC football schedule rotation announced SEC communications

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. – The Southeastern Conference announced a 12-year rotation of non-division opponents for SEC football schedules through 2025. The athletic directors re-confirmed the rotation at their May meeting following the decision to continue playing an eight-game conference schedule, to include six games against division opponents and two games against non-division opponents. One of the nondivision opponents will be a permanent annual opponent and the other non-division opponent will rotate each season. The announcement pertains to the rotating non-division opponents. The rotation begins with the 2014 season and concludes with the 2025 season. Schools will play all permanent opponents on a home and away basis beginning in 2014. Schools will not play their non-divisional rotating opponents in back-to-back seasons to allow for schools to play all conference members on a more frequent basis. Also, the rotation of teams in the first six years of the 12-year cycle is not identical to the rotation in the second six years in order to maintain four home games and four road games per season for each school. Following are the rotating opponents for SEC schools from 2014-25 (“vs.” indicates a home game and “at” indicates an away game): ALABAMA – 2014 vs. Florida; 2015 at Georgia; 2016 vs. Kentucky; 2017 at Vanderbilt; 2018 vs. Missouri; 2019 at South Carolina; 2020 vs. Georgia; 2021 at Florida; 2022 vs. Vanderbilt; 2023 at Kentucky; 2024 vs. South Carolina; 2025 at Missouri. (Permanent opponents in 2014: Home - Auburn, Mississippi State, Texas A&M; Away - Arkansas, LSU, Ole Miss, Tennessee. Sites alternate home and away through 2025.) ARKANSAS – 2014 vs. Georgia; 2015 at Tennessee; 2016 vs. Florida; 2017 at South Carolina; 2018 vs. Vanderbilt; 2019 at Kentucky; 2020 vs. Tennessee; 2021 at Georgia; 2022 vs. South Carolina; 2023 at Florida; 2024 vs. Kentucky, 2025 at Vanderbilt. (Permanent opponents in 2014: Home – Alabama, LSU, Ole Miss; Away – Auburn, Mississippi State, Texas A&M, Missouri. Sites alternate home and away through 2025.) AUBURN – 2014 vs. South Carolina; 2015 at Kentucky; 2016 vs. Vanderbilt; 2017 at Missouri; 2018 vs. Tennessee; 2019 at Florida; 2020 vs. Kentucky; 2021 at South Carolina; 2022 vs. Missouri; 2023 at Vanderbilt; 2024 vs. Florida; 2025 at Tennessee. (Permanent opponents in 2014: Home – Arkansas, LSU, Texas A&M; Away – Alabama, Ole Miss, Mississippi State, Georgia. Sites

alternate home and away through 2025.) FLORIDA – 2014 at Alabama; 2015 vs. Ole Miss; 2016 at Arkansas; 2017 vs. Texas A&M; 2018 at Mississippi State; 2019 vs. Auburn; 2020 at Ole Miss; 2021 vs. Alabama; 2022 at Texas A&M; 2023 vs. Arkansas; 2024 at Auburn; 2025 vs. Mississippi State. (Permanent opponents in 2014: Home – Kentucky, Missouri, South Carolina, LSU; Away – Georgia, Tennessee, Vanderbilt. Sites alternate home and away through 2025.) GEORGIA – 2014 at Arkansas; 2015 vs. Alabama; 2016 at Ole Miss; 2017 vs. Mississippi State; 2018 at LSU; 2019 vs. Texas A&M; 2020 at Alabama; 2021 vs. Arkansas; 2022 at Mississippi State; 2023 vs. Ole Miss; 2024 at Texas A&M; 2025 vs. LSU. (Permanent opponents in 2014: Home – Florida, Tennessee, Vanderbilt, Auburn; Away – Kentucky, Missouri, South Carolina. Sites alternate home and away through 2025.) KENTUCKY – 2014 at LSU; 2015 vs. Auburn; 2016 at Alabama; 2017 vs. Ole Miss; 2018 at Texas A&M; 2019 vs. Arkansas; 2020 at Auburn; 2021 vs. LSU; 2022 at Ole Miss; 2023 vs. Alabama; 2024 at Arkansas; 2025 vs. Texas A&M. (Permanent opponents in 2014: Home – Georgia, South Carolina, Vanderbilt, Mississippi State; Away – Florida, Missouri, Tennessee. Sites alternate home and away through 2025.) LSU – 2014 vs. Kentucky; 2015 at South Carolina; 2016 vs. Missouri; 2017 at Tennessee; 2018 vs. Georgia; 2019 at Vanderbilt; 2020 vs. South Carolina; 2021 at Kentucky; 2022 vs. Tennessee; 2023 at Missouri; 2024 vs. Vanderbilt; 2025 at Georgia. (Permanent opponents in 2014: Home – Alabama, Ole Miss, Mississippi State; Away – Arkansas, Auburn, Texas A&M, Florida. Sites alternate home and away through 2025.) OLE MISS – 2014 vs. Tennessee; 2015 at Florida; 2016 vs. Georgia; 2017 at Kentucky; 2018 vs. South Carolina; 2019 at Missouri; 2020 vs. Florida; 2021 at Tennessee; 2022 vs. Kentucky; 2023 at Georgia; 2024 vs. Missouri; 2025 at South Carolina. (Permanent opponents in 2014: Home – Alabama, Auburn, Mississippi State; Away – Arkansas, LSU, Texas A&M, Vanderbilt. Sites alternate home and away through 2025.) MISSISSIPPI STATE – 2014 vs. Vanderbilt; 2015 at Missouri; 2016 vs. South Carolina; 2017 at Georgia; 2018 vs. Florida; 2019 at Tennessee; 2020 vs. Missouri; 2021 at Vanderbilt; 2022 vs. Georgia; 2023 at South Carolina; 2024 vs. Tennessee; 2025 at Florida. (Permanent opponents in 2014: Home – Arkansas, Auburn, Texas A&M; Away – Alabama, LSU, Ole Miss, Kentucky. Sites alternate home and away through 2025.) MISSOURI – 2014 at Texas A&M; 2015 vs. Mississippi State; 2016 at LSU; 2017 vs.

Photo by Travis Bell/Sideline Carolina

Fireworks go off following Mike Davis’ touchdown against Kentucky during firstquarter action at Williams-Brice Stadium in Columbia, S.C. on Saturday, Oct. 5, 2013. Auburn; 2018 at Alabama; 2019 vs. Ole Miss; 2020 at Mississippi State; 2021 vs. Texas A&M; 2022 at Auburn; 2023 vs. LSU; 2024 at Ole Miss; 2025 vs. Alabama. (Permanent opponents in 2014: Home – Georgia, Kentucky, Vanderbilt, Arkansas; Away – Florida, South Carolina, Tennessee. Sites alternate home and away through 2025.) SOUTH CAROLINA – 2014 at Auburn; 2015 vs. LSU; 2016 at Mississippi State; 2017 vs. Arkansas; 2018 at Ole Miss; 2019 vs. Alabama; 2020 at LSU; 2021 vs. Auburn; 2022 at Arkansas; 2023 vs. Mississippi State; 2024 at Alabama; 2025 vs. Ole Miss. (Permanent opponents in 2014: Home – Georgia, Missouri, Tennessee, Texas A&M; Away – Florida, Kentucky, Vanderbilt. Sites alternate home and away through 2025.) TEXAS A&M – 2014 vs. Missouri; 2015 at Vanderbilt; 2016 vs. Tennessee; 2017 at Florida; 2018 vs. Kentucky; 2019 at Georgia; 2020 vs. Vanderbilt; 2021 at Missouri; 2022 vs. Florida; 2023 at Tennessee; 2024 vs. Geor-

gia; 2025 at Kentucky. (Permanent opponents in 2014: Home – Arkansas, LSU, Ole Miss; Away – Alabama, Auburn, Mississippi State, South Carolina. Sites alternate home and away through 2025.) TENNESSEE – 2014 at Ole Miss; 2015 vs. Arkansas; 2016 at Texas A&M; 2017 vs. LSU; 2018 at Auburn; 2019 vs. Mississippi State; 2020 at Arkansas; 2021 vs. Ole Miss; 2022 at LSU; 2023 vs. Texas A&M; 2024 at Mississippi State; 2025 vs. Auburn. (Permanent opponents in 2014: Home – Florida, Kentucky, Missouri, Alabama; Away – Georgia, South Carolina, Vanderbilt. Sites alternate home and away through 2025.) VANDERBILT – 2014 at Mississippi State; 2015 vs. Texas A&M; 2016 at Auburn; 2017 vs. Alabama; 2018 at Arkansas; 2019 vs. LSU; 2020 at Texas A&M; 2021 vs. Mississippi State; 2022 at Alabama; 2023 vs. Auburn; 2024 at LSU; 2025 vs. Arkansas. (Permanent opponents in 2014: Home – Florida, South Carolina, Tennessee, Ole Miss; Away – Georgia, Kentucky, Missouri. Sites alternate home and away through 2025.)


6 • Spurs & Feathers

June 25, 2014

Berson ‘cautiously optimistic’ about 2014 season for Gamecocks

by brian hand bhand@spursandfeathers.com

For a program that has made 20 NCAA Tournament appearances it should come as no surprise that the expectations from South Carolina head coach Mark Berson for the 2014 season revolve around competing for a conference championship and advancing to the NCAA Tournament. Entering his 37th season in charge of Gamecock men’s soccer, Berson believes he has a squad with the ability to do just that as well as bring quality to the pitch in all facets of the game. Last year the Gamecocks had their ups and downs with a very young team, but nevertheless were able to finish strong and put together a respectable 7-7-5 record. The Gamecocks were 4-2-3 in an incredibly tough Conference USA last year. That the Gamecocks continue to be successful on the pitch is just part of the story though as South Carolina last year received the National Soccer Coaches Association of America (NSCAA) Team Academic Award after posting a team GPA of 3.54. The GPA was the tops in all of NCAA Division I men’s soccer, giving the Gamecocks the best GPA in Division I in two out of the last four seasons. Due to his team’s strong efforts on and off the pitch, Berson looks back fondly for the most part at last season. “We had a young team and what happened was we started out with four out of five games on the road early and all four of those games we lost really close and kind of dug a little bit of a hole for ourselves,” Berson articulated. “Plus, we lost Robert Beebe, who was our starting goalkeeper, so all of the sudden a freshman, Marco (Velez), is in the goal and he’s playing every minute of every game. Now the good news is Marco did a great job, but he also had some growing pains and so forth as the season went on. I think Jeff Addai was another guy that we signed in the summer then he had a knee injury, so Jeff was an important of our midfield who never got on the field last year. The good thing is we get another season back for Jeff. “As the season went on this group really found their legs and really gained more experience and really did a great job … and then made a good run at the end, beating Charlotte. (We) beat UAB on the road who was nationally-ranked. We beat New

Mexico at home, who was a Final Four team. In the conference tournament we go up 1-0 against Tulsa and things are looking pretty good, but we weren’t able to sustain it. I felt like the way this (past) season went was great. The growth of the team and the way they performed at the end was great,” Berson continued. Berson noted that his team continued their strong finish in the 2013 season into their 2014 season spring preparations. “We had a very good spring,” Berson said. “The guys worked really hard in the offseason, so we have a young team that’s not that young anymore. We’ve brought in a very good recruiting class to kind of address the needs that we have in the attack and that was really the problem last year. We really weren’t able to score with the consistency that we needed to. We’ve brought a number of very good attacking players in this class that I think will bring immediate help to that situation, so we’re excited. We think we have all of our needs addressed. We think we have depth and we think we have experience. You never know what’s going to happen and that’s why it’s exciting every year, but we’re very cautiously optimistic. I think it’s going to be a really solid group. “We focus on the basics in the spring because the season starts and only about 12 days before we open so you’re throwing it together as fast as you can and then you’re going from game-to-game and in-between a lot of the time you have to rest. You can’t really go after it like you’d like to, so in the spring we have a chance to have a lot more training. We’re able to teach the basics. We’re able to lay down a lot of the foundation we want to lay down and focus also on the things we saw in the season, which is obviously improving in the attack. We work on possession, we work on putting pressure on the opponent defensively and we work on our shape. Those are the three main things we work on all the time. Those are important,” Berson elaborated. The solid spring now in the books, Berson remarked that the summer leading into the season for the Gamecocks really is hold your breath time. “Summer is the hold your breath time because the guys are playing (in summer leagues),” Berson commented. “A number of them are playing in the PDL teams like the (SC United) Bantams and so forth. You just hope you don’t have injuries. Already Devin L’Amoreaux’s been injured this sum-

mer. We think he’s going to be come back and be okay. Last year Jeff (Addai) was injured. They need to play. They need to stay sharp, but you just hold your breath. A number of the guys will be back for second session of summer school so they’ll be back here training with our strength coach and running and training and playing.” South Carolina will start the 2014 season with the team Most Valuable Player (senior defender Braeden Troyer), team Most Valuable Defensive Player (senior defender Mahamoudou Kaba) and Most Valuable Offensive Player (junior midfielder Jeffrey Torda) all returning. In addition Velez and Turner, who were Conference USA AllFreshman selections, also return. Kaba was an NSCAA All-South selection last season. Berson is excited about the core he has returning as well as the newcomers coming into the fold. “I think the big thing for us is that we’ll have a lot of experience and we’ll have a lot of guys returning in the back so we should be pretty solid defensively,” Berson explained. “With Kurtis (Turner) and Jeff (Addai) both healthy we’ve got two really good anchors in the middle of midfield. The focus has got to be on the attack so we’ve got a couple of guys coming in that I think you would believe would figure right out of the blocks like Mikkel Knudsen from Denmark, who’s a very good striker. It’s going to be a period of adjustment for him, learning about the college game. It’s a really different game. It’s a different pace. And then Kevin Walker from Cincinnati is a junior college guy who’s got good numbers who’s ready to go. I think those two guys bring a lot of experience right from the get-go up top. I think that’s going to be important for us.” The 2014 South Carolina men’s soccer schedule features 13 home dates (including two exhibitions at home against USC Upstate and Elon) to go along with a full Conference USA slate. South Carolina opens its 2014 regular-season with four straight games at The Graveyard. The regular-season opener is against Belmont at 8:30 p.m. on Aug. 29. South Carolina faces off against rival Clemson at 7 p.m. on Sept. 2. Berson knows that the Gamecocks have a tough schedule this year and that Conference USA play will be tough, but he likes his team. “The conference is going to be really

photo by allen sharpe

tough … it’s interesting this year because I think the league will be tighter than ever,” Berson noted. “What I mean by that is the team’s that were the strongest last year lost significant players like New Mexico, Charlotte, Old Dominion. They all lost pretty significant guys. Some of the teams that were right there pushing them like us and UAB really didn’t lose quite as many. It’s going to be an interesting thing. I just think every game is going to be a one-goal game. “Our expectation (in the 2014 season) is to compete for the conference championship. In our league there’s nine teams and only seven go to the conference tournament this year. We didn’t go as far as we’d like in the conference tournament (last year) or go to the NCAA Tournament. Those are our objectives (this year): to win the conference championship - we won it in 2010 and 2011; either the regular-season or the tournament - so we want to make sure we get back in that picture again and I think we’ll have a team that will be capable of doing that,” Berson concluded.


June 25, 2014

Spurs & Feathers • 7

Gamecocks looking to build on past success in 2014

by brian hand bhand@spursandfeathers.com

Smith continued. Smith knows that expectations and hopes are one thing, but she realizes her team has The NCAA could utilize the South Carolina to compete day in and day out and she likes women’s soccer program as example No. 1 where her team is right now as she feels she when talking about a program that does all the has experience and leadership returning to go right things. along with a strong group of newcomers. Last year, the Gamecocks finished with the Included among that group of strong returnsecond-best record in school history at 17-4-2. ers is senior goalkeeper Sabrina D’Angelo, South Carolina just missed out on claiming the who was chosen a first-team All-American and the SEC Defensive Player of the Year. The SEC regular-season championship and finished team Most Valuable Player (junior midfielder the year with the first perfect undefeated home Stevi Parker) and Offensive Player of the Year record in program history at 11-0-0. photo by allen sharpe (junior midfielder/forward Raina Johnson) and South Carolina advanced to the NCAA Defensive Player of the Year (senior defender/ Tournament for the sixth time in the last seven years and picked up a dominating 5-0 home more proud of the accomplishments we had we’ll be in the mix to compete for a champion- midfielder Andie Romness) also all return. Sophomore midfielder Chelsea Drennan revictory over Furman at Stone Stadium in the this year.” ship. Sometimes things have to go your way turns coming off an SEC All-Freshman season NCAA Tournament first round. The resoundA lot of the success for the Gamecocks is due and you get lucky and things have to proceed in 2013 that saw her pick up the second-best ing victory over the Paladins at The Graveyard to the fact that the team really gets along and ideally like lack of injuries, staying healthy single-season assist total in Gamecock womallowed the Gamecocks to play in the NCAA works hard not only for the coaching staff, but (sickness). Those things can happen, but if all en’s soccer history with 12 assists. Tournament second round for the fourth time for each other as well. goes well I think we have a great shot at winThe above are just a small sampling of the (2009, 2010, 2011 and 2013) in program his“Obviously I was thrilled at the team’s perning (the SEC).” tory. The season would end for the Gamecocks formance and their determination they showed If the Gamecocks are in contention to win the talent returning to the fold for the Gamecocks. there in a heartbreaking 1-0 overtime loss to all (last) season,” Smith remarked. “They were SEC they should also be in line for competing Despite this group having a few individual acStanford. such an enjoyable group to work with and a lot far into the NCAA Tournament and even for a colades, Smith believes one of the things that makes the South Carolina women’s soccer South Carolina was ranked as high as No. of that had to do with how well they got along, national championship. team so successful is that they are just that: a 7 in the 2013 season before closing the year but also just work they put into it and drive “That’s the ultimate goal and that’s the ultiteam. ranked 15th in the National Soccer Coaches they had to be their best. It showed on the field mate goal of a lot of programs in our confer“I think in our team what makes us a good Association of America (NSCAA)/Continen- all season. They really worked for each other, ence,” Smith explained. “I think we’ve done a tal Tire NCAA Division I Women’s National so the success we had was because of that kind great job to put ourselves in that position. Our team is that you don’t necessarily have that star that you focus on. You have a group that Poll. of attitude and determination. That’s what a expectation as we got into a season is to defitogether they work,” Smith concluded. If the success on the pitch wasn’t enough, coach wants out of their team. I think our staff nitely fight for an SEC championship and go The 2014 South Carolina women’s soccer the Gamecocks had one of their top years in worked together very well also and having a further in the NCAA Tournament. Making the schedule features 11 home games to go along the classroom as well with 17 women’s soccer new strength coach in place who traveled, a lot NCAAs is something we expect to be doing, student-athletes tabbed to the SEC Fall Acaof things that weren’t there before really gelled which wasn’t always the case, but now it is and with the tough SEC slate. The Gamecocks will demic Honor Roll. and it was a successful. So, I was very pleased we believe we should be there. Our group, our play a total of six teams in the 2014 season that In addition to earning the NSCAA’s Team with the group … to get it done on and off the players, our staff, we want to go further in the played in the NCAA Tournament last year. The SEC Network will carry two of South CaroAcademic Award, the Gamecocks were also field is tremendous.” NCAAs than we have. lina’s games in the upcoming season (Sept. awarded the NSCAA Team Ethics Award as Despite the overall success in the 2013 season “Again, I think this team is capable of mak21 at Auburn and Oct. 16 at The Graveyard they were one of only 72 teams across the nathe goal of winning the second regular-season ing a good run. You have to get a good draw, tion to receive no more than 10 yellow cards championship in program history was as men- which we haven’t been as lucky to get the past against Florida). Ranked 10th nationally in the Top Drawer and no red cards during the 2013 season. tioned just missed last year so the Gamecocks couple years, but we’ve put ourselves in posiSouth Carolina women’s soccer also received entered their spring preparations for the 2014 tion to be ranked going in, to be a seeded team. Soccer early NCAA Division I women’s top-10 the Community Outreach Team of the Year fall campaign on a mission. There’s things where we’ve grown and become released on April 23, South Carolina after an award at the end of the year Gamecock Gala. “This spring was another good spring where much stronger entering the tournament and we exhibition at Duke on Aug. 14 commences its The Gamecocks – who also won the award in they were putting in a lot of effort,” Smith hope this year will be an even better place and 2014 schedule with five straight home games starting at 6 p.m. on Aug. 24 against Samford. 2007 – completed 1,187 service hours, which commented. “They pushed each other. They hopefully get closer to going to a Final Four,” averages to 36 hours of community service per were serious about what they were doing. They team member. had that goal in the fall to get back to winning South Carolina 14th-year head coach Shelley an SEC championship that they were so close Smith knows that she has a unique group. to doing (last year) and I think that drive was “That they are willing to do all those things still there so it gives us a lot of positives going is just a tremendous representation of the Uni- into the fall knowing that where we were last versity,” Smith said. “It makes us very proud year this year they have that much more exof the group we have. When we bring players perience … they still have to have the drive to in here that we’re recruiting we tell them this push themselves, but we’re excited about their is important. It’s not just what you bring as potential as a team.” a player; it’s as a person to this team. I think Smith stopped short of saying anything less we’ve been able to attract players that care than an SEC championship would be a disapabout all parts of the experience. It’s just a tre- pointment in the upcoming year, but does note mendous group. Those are the kind of people that the program is now at a place where that you want to be surrounded with so we take the should always be the goal. time (in recruiting) and hopefully get it right “I think it’s an expectation for sure,” Smith and put all the pieces together. We couldn’t be elaborated. “We’re capable of it … we feel


8 • Spurs & Feathers

June 25, 2014

Gamecocks adding depth, experience for 2014 by mike kucharski mike@spursandfeathers.com South Carolina’s volleyball team took a young squad through the competitive SEC last season and this year the Gamecocks hope to reap the benefits in 2014. The 2013 Gamecock roster had 10 freshmen and only two seniors, so the progression of the young squad could be a major benefit for the program. South Carolina head coach Scott Swanson was pleased with the young players’ work ethic this spring. “Those kids really put in the time in the weight room and the gym. They also went in on their own sometimes. I think that is kind of a pride factor when you do that without the coaches telling you to and that was happening and will happen this summer,” Swanson commented. He added that the addition of the sand volleyball program should be beneficial to the young players because they were able to get more work than the NCAA allows the indoor-only players during the offseason, however he said those that worked indoors only received great one-on-one attention and work. Swanson explained that the leadership and commitment of the players will make a difference in the program beginning this year. “I think that the culture has changed. We have some juniors who want to win. They now know what it takes. It takes something different than what we were doing before,” Swanson explained. “It’s really about investing; that’s kind of our key word for our team and our program. “Investing in the rewards that you want to reap, doing what’s best for the team on a regular basis and I think if we’re able to do that then we’re going to have some good success here in the future. We have some good players coming in to join the good ones that we have,” Swanson continued. These good players have created depth that the Gamecocks did not have a season ago and Swanson said that he believes the players will push one another to continue to improve throughout the year. He explained that he could not project a lineup now, but will learn more when he is able to work with the team starting in early August. One thing he did predict is that no matter the lineup, the competition for playing time will be intense throughout the year. “Lots of people are going to have to battle for positions. We have two really good setphoto courtesy of south carolina athletics media relations ters, we have several really good middles, we have lots of good outside hitters, a cou- Kellie McNeil is back at nearly 100 percent after being slowed by a foot injury last year.

ple of good liberos. That’s what is going to be different too about our program is that our second team is going to be stronger. Our backups will be stronger and we’re going to have legitimate depth that will help us in a pinch - if someone is not doing well or if we have an injury or something. That’s what I’m really looking forward to is having that weekly competition in the gym for who is going to be start that weekend,” Swanson said. Setter Kellie McNeil is back at nearly 100 percent after being slowed by a foot injury last year and Swanson said that she is “… one of the most athletic setters in the country and when she’s healthy, she makes a huge difference for us.” He mentioned middles Jacqy Angermiller, Darian Dozier and Elizabeth Johnbull as providing experience and depth at the position. He noted Sarah Blomgren adds maturity and leadership on the outside and rising senior Mikaela Christiaansen provides the same as a libero. Swanson also added that incoming freshman Taylr McNeil, Minnesota’s High School Gatorade Player of the Year, enrolled early and worked with the team all spring adding experience and muscle to lead a talented group of incoming freshmen including another High School AllAmerican, setter Allie Monserez. Swanson and the Gamecocks will look to mix their talent and experience to compete in the SEC in 2014 with the depth to make some noise. Swanson is also excited for the chance to showcase South Carolina volleyball with six televised matches this fall between ESPNU and the new SEC Network. He noted the opportunity is great for the Gamecocks and the SEC in general and that he is looking forward to putting a competitive team on the court this fall.


June 25, 2014

Spurs & Feathers • 9


10 • Spurs & Feathers

June 25, 2014

photo by brian hand

South Carolina won three tournaments in the 2013-14 season. The Gamecocks had a run during the year where they finished in the top-3 as a team in a school-record seven straight events.

Gamecocks proud, but not satisfied by brian hand bhand@spursandfeathers.com

three wins and we had some guys win individually in Will Starke and Caleb Sturgeon and we had a good showing at conference. South Carolina men’s golf head coach Bill We didn’t play well the last round there, but McDonald is proud of what his program has we were top-5 in our conference with nine been able to accomplish since his time in teams (from the SEC) in the top-25 to start charge, but he and his team are not satisfied. the (conference championship) week. (It) is This past year the Gamecocks continued nothing to be upset about. We got through the progression of the program under Mcregionals and made a great run in the last Donald by finishing ninth in the NCAA round to almost make match play. Men’s Golf National Championship at Prairie “It’s really hard to be too disappointed Dunes Country Club in Hutchinson, Kan. with what happened the last round at nationThe Gamecocks just missed out on a chance als. We at one point were on a bullet train to compete for the national championship in of hardly being in the top-20. We were 15th the tournament as the top eight after stroke or 16th through seven or eight holes and the play advanced to the match play portion of guys fought back and got us back inside the the event. number, but we just couldn’t close the round The ninth-place finish at the championship out, but it was a heck of a run,” McDonald was the second-best national championcontinued. ship finish in program history. The strong Coming so close to appearing in the match showing at nationals was the conclusion of a play portion of the championship is somestrong 2013-14 season that saw South Carothing that is going to stick with the Gamelina win three tournaments. The Gamecocks cocks for quite some time, but McDonald had a run during the year where they finished recognizes that is not necessarily a bad thing. in the top three as a team in a school-record “It’s one thing to say I want to win an SEC seven consecutive events. South Carolina or I want to win a national championship,” was ranked 14th in the final GolfStat RelaMcDonald noted. “Until you actually get in tive Rankings. the mix and know what it takes to compete at “We had really good play all year for the that level it’s invaluable experience. I know most part,” McDonald remarked. “We had the guys recovered well. It was almost a good

thing that we weren’t able to get a flight out the next day because we were able to sort of hang together in the Wichita (Kan.) area and all they could talk about was next year and getting back into that situation.” South Carolina has some strong newcomers joining an already solid program in the 201415 season. The Gamecocks return all five golfers that competed in the NCAA Men’s Golf Championship. “Next year I don’t know what I’m going to do,” McDonald explained. “I don’t have enough spots. The talent we’re going to have it’s a great problem to have. I’ve had some years where I was not in that situation so I’m not complaining. It should be real good competition all the way around.” In addition to strong competition within the team internally the Gamecocks will have what McDonald considers the toughest schedule the team has undertaken since he has been in charge. “We’re going to have a great schedule next year,” McDonald commented. “I would say it’s going to be the toughest schedule we’ve had since I’ve been here. It’s good. It’s what the kids want and hopefully it will prepare us for making another real good run in the postseason.” The Gamecocks commence next year with

roughly the same goals they have had for the past couple of years. “Our goals the last couple years really haven’t changed,” McDonald said. “We want to contend for the SEC championship … and then you want to make a run at that match play (at the NCAA Championship) because anything can happen if you can get in that final eight.”


Spurs & Feathers • 11

June 25, 2014

Starting Five with TeMarcus Blanton South carolina athletics media relations

South Carolina incoming freshman guard TeMarcus Blanton sat down with GamecocksOnline.com recently for their series,”Starting Five With TeMarcus Blanton.” The series will highlight a different member of the Gamecock men’s basketball team with each edition. Blanton averaged 20.2 points, 3.1 assists and 1.7 steals while registering almost eight rebounds per contest as a senior at Luella High School. The Locust Grove, Ga., native, who was the 2-AAAAAA Region Player All Gamecock basketball coverage sponsored by of the Year Yesterdays last season, talked about why he chose to play for the Gamecocks and told us what aspects of his game he is working on this summer.

Q: Why did you choose to attend and play basketball for South Carolina and Coach Martin?

A: I chose South Carolina because it is a program that I believe is a future great and on the rise in the next two years because of the freshmen from last year and this year. I just wanted to be a part of it. Q: If you could use three words to describe your style of play, what would they be and why? A: Aggressive because I’m a physical player and I can play through contact; defensive because I’m a big defensive guy and if the coaches want me to lock someone up I can; and slasher because I’m really good to get to the rim and finish, and also my mid-range shot. Q: Do you model your game after a particular professional player? A: Dwyane Wade because he is a good slasher and he is athletic and has a good

mid-range game.

Family sections will continue to be available for the upcoming season as well. To Q: What aspect of your game are you place a deposit for season tickets, fans are working on the most during your time on encouraged to visit GamecocksOnline. campus this summer? com, or call 1-800-4SC-FANS. A: My ball handling and my 3-point jump shot.

Q: You helped lead your team to the state tournament for the second year in a row as a senior, winning a regional championship. Do you bring that winning mindset with you to South Carolina? A: I definitely bring a winning mindset. I know what it takes to win. Even though we [high school team] advanced to the Elite 8, I know what it took to get there. I’m even more hungry, knowing that we didn’t win a state championship, to win an NCAA Championship. Season ticket prices remain unchanged from the 2013-14 season, with full season packages starting at $90 and the Coke

TeMarcus Blanton (G - 6-5 - 185 - Locust Grove, Georgia/ Luella High School) A three-star recruit and the No. 8 prospect in the state of Georgia according to 247sports.com ... Ranked as the No. 11 prospect in the state of Georgia according to ESPN.com ... Labeled as a slasher in the halfcourt with a good mid-range game and a three-star recruit according to ESPN. com. Frank Martin on Blanton (from Nov. 2013) “I’m extremely excited about TeMarcus Blanton. He is a 6-5 wing that is ultra-competitive on both ends of the floor. He fits exactly the kind of guard that we want to build our program around. He’s a slasher, a defender and an athletic finisher that loves every opportunity that he gets to compete.”


12 • Spurs & Feathers

June 25, 2014

Gamecocks looking to continue successful ways by mike kucharski mike@spursandfeathers.com The South Carolina women’s golf team finished the season ranked in the top-10 and competed for the national championship for the fifth-consecutive year and head coach Kalen Harris knows the team can continue to build on that progress. “It’s just part of our progress. If you look back it’s good to see our season rewarded that way,” Harris said of the (final national) rankings (sixth by Golfstat, eighth by Golfweek). “It’s good for the team to see, it’s good for recruiting and it shows what our program is doing, shows what our athletic department is doing and shows the support that coach Tanner and all our counterparts in the athletic department are giving us. It shows all the hard work is paying off and if you look back it attests to all the progress that we’ve been making for the past five or six years. It’s not just coming our of nowhere. “To be ranked around the top-five is definitely a good thing. That’s where we want to be and we want to be contending for championships. It’s certainly something that we’re proud of as a team and I think we’re excited to build on that next year. We’re not going to stop until we’re at the very top,” Harris continued. The Gamecocks boasted a run of ninestraight top-five finishes in tournaments concluding with second-place finishes in the SEC Championship and the NCAA East Regional. That consistent success was due in part to a trio of All-SEC golfers in Samantha Swinehart, Justine Dreher and Katelyn Dambaugh. It is the first time since 1996 that the Gamecocks had three different players earn AllSEC honors. Adding to that, both Swinehart and Dreher were named All-Americans by the WGCA and Golfweek. This year marks the first time in program history that two players have been named All-Americans in the same year. “It was great to see that. Justine and Sam had really great years and Sam finished the (national) tournament extremely well, she finished 13th. It was great to see her go out her senior year the way that she did. Justine had a very steady year all year long. She didn’t have the national championship she was wanting, but that’s golf … also adding Katelyn in there on the All-SEC team with those other two was great. It was definitely a great thing for the program and for those two. Definitely it will be a confidence boost and a good reward for Justine’s and Sam’s great years,” Harris commented. South Carolina’s performance at the national championships got off to a rocky start, but the Gamecocks were able to recover well

ers on their games - throughout the summer to build upon the foundation set this year. She said the depth of the program from the returning players and those coming into the program should breed more success for the future. “We’re going to have a lot of depth again next year and we’re excited about next year already. We’re going to lose (seniors) Sam (Swinehart) and Suzie (Lee), but we’re gaining Nanna Madsen who is coming from Denmark. She’s ranked eighth in the world and is a phenomenal player,” Harris said. “She may be the best recruit with the best record that I’ve signed so far, so I’m excited about her. We’ve got Ainhoa Olarra coming from Spain. She’s got a ton of experience internationally and she’s been ranked in the top-100 in the world as well. “I think this past year gave them a passion for what can be, what they can accomplish and how good they can be. They’re motivated players anyway. They’re working hard and they work hard every day. They’re excited to get better and working hard all summer … and I give them all the credit. They do it because they love it and they want to be great. Those are the kind of players that I like to recruit. They’re a great group, they gelled together very well, they’re extremely motivated and they work hard,” Harris remarked. Harris knows that they players will return ready to try to reach lofty goals next season and added that she has the same - if not even bigger - goals for the squad next year. “As a coach I have the expectation of the being one of the best in the nation and my goals are higher probably than anybody’s. I want to keep this team contending for championships and ranked highly. We’re not going to stop until we’re at the very top … the ultimate goal is to win SEC titles, national titles and be ranked No. 1,” Harris concluded.

photo by allen sharpe

Justine Dreher joined Samantha Swinehart as an All-American in the 2013-14 season. and finish in 13th place and only one shot out of the top-10. The strong finish was a point of pride for Harris as well. “We certainly didn’t start out the way that we needed to and it certainly wasn’t overall the finish that we wanted or were expecting, but with the hole that we put ourselves into I was still proud of the team and how we fought back,” Harris explained. “Those last two days were phenomenal. We really showed the heart, determination and character that we had all year. Those first two days were tough, it was tough on the girls and they were tough conditions.

“We certainly didn’t perform the way we should have, but for them to battle back after shooting I think 39-over total the first two day, but those last two days we came back and shot four-over. For them to come back like that, I was very proud of them. Like I said, it show’s our character, it shows what we’ve done all year and to finish 13th and one shot out of the top-10 with the deficit that we created initially, I was pleased. I think they felt good about the finish as well,” Harris expounded. Harris and the team are continuing to work - Harris on the recruiting trail and the play-


Spurs & Feathers • 13

June 25, 2014

Success continues in year two of Martins’ B-Ball of the South

south carolina athletics media relations

University of South Carolina head men’s basketball coach Frank Martin and his wife Anya hosted the Second Annual “Coaches vs. Cancer” benefit, the “B-Ball of the South,” in early May at Colonial Life Arena in Columbia. The event was once again outstanding, from the live auction to the many charitable donations, the Ball raised $129,470, which will benefit “Coaches vs. Cancer,” a nationwide collaboration between the American Cancer Society and the National Association of Basketball Coaches. “Once again, in early May, we had our Second Annual B-Ball of the South,” Martin said. “The event was sold out, and it was a great night of fun and entertainment, and raising a lot of awareness and dollars to continue to fight this deadly disease called cancer. I’m extremely proud of my wife and all of her committee members in the job they did in putting on such a first-class event in our hometown of Columbia.” The over 250 in attendance enjoyed a Ken-

tucky Derby style themed ball, which featured a live auction of items, including a signed guitar from Darius Rucker, All Gamecock basketball coverage sponsored by a dinner with Yesterdays the Gamecock coaching staff and several other fantastic items. The event featured heavy hors d’oeuvres, including a wonderful array of Southern cuisine items and a dessert table. The Martins are longtime supporters of “Coaches vs. Cancer,” attending events across the country each year. Martin, Johnson, Thornwell to participate in 2014 Four Nations Cup with USA East Coast Basketball Team University of South Carolina head men’s basketball coach Frank Martin, senior point

guard Tyrone Johnson and sophomore guard Sindarius Thornwell will all take part in the 2014 Four Nations Cup in Europe this August as part of Guy Rancourt’s USA East Coast Basketball Team. Martin will serve on staff, while Johnson and Thornwell make up part of the 10-man roster. The squad will travel to Europe to compete against foreign national teams consisting of NBA players and EuroLeague all stars. The team has accepted an invitation by the Estonian Federation to participate in the 2014 Four Nations Cup in Estonia and Finland, July 31-Aug. 8. Team members will include Johnson, Thornwell, Mike Gesell (Iowa), Dusty Hannahs (Arkansas), BJ Johnson (Syracuse), John Monkam (Lycoming), Tyler Roberson (Syracuse), Damonte Dodd (Maryland), Granville Gittens (Baruch), and Adam Woodbury (Iowa). US East Coast will turn to a coaching staff with extensive international experience. Martin will join Rancourt (Lycoming College, head coach), who has taken teams overseas

since 2006, Mike Jones (DeMatha Catholic HS, head coach) who has been with USA National Teams since 2010, Dave Cooks (Concordia University Wisconsin, assistant coach) who has experience at all levels of basketball in the United States and John Andrzejek (Columbia University, director of operations) who will oversee day-to-day activities for the team. The United States representative in the 2014 Four Nations Cup, USA East Coast will hold a two-day training camp on the campus of Columbia University on July 31st and August 1st, which is open to the public. In conjunction with Anthony Travel Inc. and Moneyball Sportwear Inc., the team will then travel to Tallinn, Estonia, on Aug. 2 and will compete against the national teams of Estonia and Slovakia, with France rounding out the field. Games will take place Aug, 4, 5, 6 and the morning of Aug. 7, the team will ferry across the Gulf of Finland into Helsinki to play a friendly match against the Finland National Team before returning to the United States.


14 • Spurs & Feathers

June 25, 2014

South Carolina Gamecocks

Recruiting Round-up By Phil Kornblut

South Carolina’s recruiting efforts surged last week with three more commitments and continued this past week with a fourth raising the Gamecocks’ 2015 class total to 17. That number includes 2014 signee DE Dante Sawyer who is spending this season in junior college. The Gamecocks won the battle for highly coveted OL Austin Clark (6-6 295) of Lexington, VA last Thursday night when he picked them over Virginia Tech, Tennessee and Ohio State. “Coach Elliott and coach (Steve) Spurrier were the ones who really, really sold me on the school,” Clark said. “They talked about everything and I was able to see it in person. It wasn’t one of those deals where they talk a good game but it isn’t that way. Everything they said proved to be true. Overall, South Carolina was definitely who I felt comfortable with.” Clark also visited Tennessee and Virginia Tech in the days leading up to his decision to compare and contrast those programs with USC. “Just being down there at South Carolina, it gave me a great feel,” Clark said. “I really like it down there. Academics, they have the number one international business school in the country. And depth chart, coach says I have a good chance of going in there and contributing early. I definitely think I’ve made the right choice. I talked it over with my parents and they agreed I made the right choice.” The Gamecocks will lose both of their starting tackles after this season and they eye Clark as a possible immediate replacement. “I have a good frame and I can carry more weight,” he said. “My footwork is good. My strength is run blocking because of the explosiveness in my hips.” Clark is the third offensive lineman to commit to USC for the 2015 class. South Carolina has had success in recent years recruiting and developing linebackers who were not household names in recruiting circles. The Gamecocks added another of that type last Thursday in Jalen Henry (6-1 200) of Foley, AL. Henry made an unofficial visit Thursday to USC with his parents, met with recruiter and linebackers coach Kirk Botkin and other members of the defensive staff, and also sat down with Steve Spurrier in his office. Before leaving, he made his pledge to join the Gamecocks’ 2015 class. “As soon as I walked in they were greeting me and I felt like I was at home,” Henry said. “The players I met in the lockerroom greeted me and I fit in very well. It felt like my own school actually.” Henry has 14 of-

fers with USC his first from an SEC school. He has not been a much talked about recruit this spring because he missed most of his junior season with a broken foot. Botkin first saw Henry in 2010 but Henry didn’t hear back from the Gamecock recruiter until earlier this spring when he came by his school and offered him the chance to play for a top ten team in the SEC. “To be part of something special like this after not getting the opportunity to do anything my whole junior year and having a big injury and not being able to help my football Phil Kornblut team, it feels good to Contributing be out there you know.” Writer One observer compared Henry to former USC linebacker Shaq Wilson as far as his playing skills. He has excellent speed and makes plays all over the field. He recorded 159 tackles as a sophomore. “I get out on pass drops really well and get out on the perimeter and tackle well and make plays,” he said. Henry also plays baseball and was named to the Coastal Alabama All-Region first team as a third baseman,, but his focus will be on football. He is considering enrolling early but has not made a final decision on that. Henry is the second linebacker commitment for USC’s 2015 class. DB Antoine Wilder (5-11 175) of Atlanta also committed to the Gamecocks last Friday after being offered at camp. Wilder is a teammate of USC defensive end commitment Arden Key and went into the camp hoping for an offer so that he could join his friend with the Gamecocks. “It’s SEC football,” Wilder said. “They only lost two games last year. They are championship bound, and the way the recruiting class is going this year is great.” Wilder plays safety and corner in high school but expects to be a corner with the Gamecocks. And he believes he’ll have no trouble fitting into USC’s base 4-2-5 scheme. “They run the same defense we run in high school,” he said. “I wouldn’t have to change up any scheme. They are aggressive and play a lot of man and that’s what I love. I don’t like to play conservative. I don’t like to back off. I want to go after it.” Last season Wilder had 122 tackles and 2 interceptions. He’s the Gamecocks’ 16th commitment for the 2015 class

and the second for the secondary. DE Quandeski Whitlow (6-4 228) of Opelika, AL attended USC’s camp last weekend arriving without an offer. But he must have made a positive impression on recruiter and linebackers coach Kirk Botkin because he offered after the camp. And on Monday he accepted that offer by announcing a commitment to the Gamecocks. “He (Botkin) wanted me to come up in order for him to officially offer me a scholarship,” Whitlow said. “He doesn’t want to offer a guy a scholarship that he hasn’t coached. After camp he offered me a scholarship.” Whitlow, the cousin of former Kentucky quarterback Jalen Whitlow, picked the Gamecocks over Kentucky and Miami. He also considered Mississippi State. “It’s just the feeling that I felt when I was at South Carolina,” he explained. “It felt like the place for me to be. It felt like home. It felt great. It’s an SEC school, a school that wins at least 10 games a season. I love the campus. They’re building new facilities and dorms. It’s great for education. You can’t beat that.” Whitlow said Botkin indicated to him that he’ll have a chance for early playing time and he feels he can contribute right away. “I’m balanced on the field,” Whitlow said. “I can play the run or pass rush. I can stand up and play linebacker.” Summerville OL Zack Bailey wrapped up a busy week by stopping by USC last Friday with his grandparents after camping at Clemson earlier in the week. The USC visit coincided with the Gamecocks’ first day of summer camp, but Bailey was not there to workout but rather to show his grandparents the campus and academic side of USC. Bailey’s grandparents live in Florida and were also in Columbia for the Special Forces convention at the downtown Marriott. “They gave us a tour of pretty much everything,” Bailey said. My grandparents are big into academics. It was important for them to see the campus. They saw the academic center and talked to the academic people, saw the stadium, and talked to coach Elliott and got to meet coach Sands. They had fun.” Bailey is not finished with visits by any means. He will go to Georgia and North Carolina for sure in July. He is also considering visits to Auburn and Florida. And he’s still thinking about flying out to Southern Cal for a visit. Those schools he has or will visit are the ones Bailey is focusing on and he admits Clemson and USC, as a tandem, are ahead of the out of state programs. “A lot

of that is because I’ve only been to Clemson and USC,” he said. “That’s why this year I’m going to see campuses. I haven’t seen Georgia’s campus. I haven’t seen Florida’s. I haven’t seen North Carolina’s. So getting out there and seeing their campuses will help out a lot.” But it does appear those out of state programs trail the Gamecocks and Tigers in this competition. “It’s definitely a battle between those two,” Bailey said adding that he goes back and forth with his leanings as he visits each school. “I like the campuses real well. I like Columbia and I like Clemson. They both have good coaches and are doing great. They are both in great conferences and things like that.” One of the key factors in Bailey’s decision will be his comfort level with the offensive line coach. He has seen Clemson’s Robbie Caldwell and USC’s Shawn Elliott at work and like most everything else in the comparison of the two programs, the two are very similar in his eyes. “I saw coach Caldwell the first time Monday and Tuesday how he coaches and I enjoyed it,” Bailey said. “He definitely gets after it. He’s a simpler guy. As long as you do stuff right he leaves you alone but he still teaches you. If you do stuff wrong, he’s going to jump your butt. Then you’ve got coach Elliott who reminds me of (former Summerville OL coach Buddy) coach King. He’s straightforward and he’s going to jump your butt every single moment he can get but at the same time it’s for the good. He’s not doing it to hurt you. He’s doing it because it’s his job and it’s going to make you a better football player. So they are both great coaches.” Bailey has been to games at both places and enjoyed himself equally at both. So he’s made the trip west up I-26 several times and knows the route well. “Clemson is in a great place and you’re in a farmland pretty much but you’re three hours away from home,” he said. “While here (Columbia), it’s in the capital but it’s an hour-and-ahalf away from home. There’s pros and cons to each of them.” Bailey is still hoping to have a decision before the start of his season but if he’s not 100% sure he will wait. DB Damon Arnette (6-2 185) of Fort Lauderdale spent last Friday at USC attending the Gamecocks’ first summer camp session. Arnette flew in, worked out in the morning session, hung out around the stadium for the second session then flew back to Florida. He got plenty done on the field but not enough Please see round-up, Page 31


June 25, 2014

Spurs & Feathers • 15

Seven Gamecocks selected in MLB Draft by brian hand and mike kucharski bhand@spursandfeathers.com/ mike@spursandfeathers.com A total of seven (Grayson Greiner, Jordan Montgomery, Joey Pankake, Tanner English, Joel Seddon, Kyle Martin and Evan Beal) South Carolina baseball juniors were selected in the 2014 Major League Baseball First-Year Player Draft. Six of the seven are moving on to professional baseball, while Martin decided to return for his senior season. In addition to those currently with the team, South Carolina signee Brandon Murray (Hobart, Ind.) was selected in the 2014 MLB Draft. The right-handed pitcher was picked by the Philadelphia Phillies in the 30th round. South Carolina signee Madison Stokes, an infielder out of AC Flora High School, was taken in the 40th round by the Yankees. Both have stated they are joining the South Carolina baseball program instead of jumping into professional baseball. Greiner was selected by the Detroit Tigers with the 99th pick (third round) of the 2014 Major League Baseball First-Year Player Draft. The pick of 99th fell in line were most analysts predicted as he was tabbed as the 86th best prospect in the 2014 MLB Draft by Baseball America. Greiner was highly regarded as one of the best catchers in college and spent last summer representing America as a member of Team USA. He was named a second-team All-American by Baseball America and Perfect Game after the All Gamecock baseball 2014 seacoverage sponsored by son. DiPrato’s He was an SEC All-Defensive selection and a semifinalist for the Johnny Bench Award in 2014 and on the watch list for the award in 2013. He was also a second-team All-SEC selection as 2013 and a member of the Collegiate Baseball Freshman All-American Team in 2012. Greiner played in 62 games with 53 starts as a freshman, while hitting .222 with 32 RBIs, six home runs and 26 runs. His sophomore season was even better as he started 56 of 57 games played while hitting .298 with four home runs, 38 RBIs and 32 runs scored. Geiner was a team captain in 2014 and played in 60 games with 58 starts behind the plate while playing through injuries all year long. The injuries did not hamper him at the plate as he hit .311 with 13 doubles, eight home

while hitting .284 scoring 30 runs while driving in 25 and stole 21 bases. He was also selected to the 2014 NCAA Tournament AllRegional team. Seddon made the most of his junior year by becoming an All-SEC closer after being a 20th round pick by the Toronto Blue Jays out of high school in 2011. In 2014 Seddon became South Carolina’s closer, capturing 14 saves. He boasted a 1.66 ERA in 48.2 innings in 27 appearances, including one start, while compiling a 3-2 record. Seddon struck out 59 batters while only walking 12 and giving up only nine earned runs on the year. As a sophomore in 2013 Seddon made 11 photo by allen sharpe appearances with two starts while compiling Seddon was picked in the 11th round of the 2014 MLB First-Year Player Draft by Oakland. a 4.50 ERA in 18 innings while striking out 20 batters. As a freshman he appeared in nine runs and 50 RBIs while slugging .486. He make an impact immediately by being named games with three starts with a 2-0 record and scored 39 runs. to the SEC All-Freshman Team and the NCAA a save while compiling a 2.76 ERA in 16.1 inMontgomery was plucked with the 122nd Regional All-Tournament Team in 2012. That nings. Martin was the 599th pick (20th round) in the pick (fourth round) of the Major League Base- season he played in 66 games, starting 62, 2014 MLB Draft. ball First-Year Player Draft by the New York while hitting .264 with 27 RBIs and 42 runs. Martin had to sit behind some Gamecock Yankees. In 2013 Pankake started and played in 62 He was rated as the 120th best prospect in the games while hitting.311 with increased power greats his first two years in Garnet & Black, but truly came into his own as he started every 2014 MLB Draft by Baseball America. at 11 home runs and 42 RBIs while slugging While Montgomery may not light up the ra- .496. He also scored 40 runs and was named to game in 2014. The consistent at-bats allowed Martin to post a team-best .336 average while dar guns, he was one of South Carolina’s most the NCAA Regional All-Tournament Team. reliable pitchers during his career in Columbia, In 2014 Pankake was named to the All-SEC smacking five home runs. He drove in 38 RBIs S.C. Defensive team at third base and also contrib- while scoring 35 runs. Martin also was one of the league’s best Montgomery had probably his two best uted at the plate after a relatively slow start. outings when the lights were the brightest, a Pankake started and played in 58 games while defensive first baseman with a .995 fielding percentage while making many great digs complete-game shutout in a win over North hitting .303 and led the team with 52 runs and stretches on throws from the Gamecock Carolina in the 2013 Super Regional and a stel- scored. He also hit five home runs and tallied infielders. lar performance against Campbell in the 2014 31 RBIs while slugging .421. Martin was also chosen to the 2014 NCAA Columbia Regional. Pankake proved his versatility by switching In 2014 Montgomery posted and 8-5 record to third base and playing some outfield during Tournament All-Regional team. Martin played in 34 games, making 18 starts in 2013, but with a 3.42 ERA in 100 innings. He boasted 2014 while remaining a threat with the bat to a 95-to-29 strikeout-to-walk ratio on the year increase his value heading into the MLB Draft. began to see more playing time toward the end and threw one complete-game in 16 starts. The Tigers listed Pankake as a third baseman of the year. He hit .288 with 15 runs scored and 10 RBIs and was named the NCAA Regional Montgomery had a strong 2013, making 13 when they announced their selection of him. starts while going 6-1 with a 1.48 ERA in 79 Two South Carolina juniors were selected in MVP. In 2012 Marin played in 40 games, starinnings. He gave up a .222 batting average the 11th round of the 2014 Major League Base- ing 22, while hitting .285 with 11 runs scored and 12 RBIs. against with 60 strikeouts and 18 walks and ball First-Year Player Draft. Beal was a 21st round pick of the Kansas was name to the NCAA Regional All-TournaEnglish was taken with the 320th pick of the City Royals in the 2014 Major League Baseball ment Team. draft by the Minnesota Twins, while Seddon First-Year Player Draft. In 2012 Montgomery was a Freshman Allwas selected with the 342nd pick by the OakBeal was the 633rd pick overall in the MLB American from Collegiate Baseball and also land Athletics. Draft. appeared on the NCAA Regional All-TournaEnglish, one of the fastest players and best Beal has now been drafted twice by the Royment Team while going 6-1 with a 3.62 ERA defensive centerfielders in college baseball, als as he was also picked in the eighth round by in 74.2 innings. Montgomery has a tremenplayed in nearly every game during his South the Royals out of high school in 2011. dous changeup that has victimized hitters and Carolina career. He was originally a 13th In 2012, Beal made 28 relief appearances has pitchability to be effective at any level. round selection in the 2011 MLB Draft out of with a start and finished with a 3.81 ERA in Pankake was selected in the seventh round high school by the Tampa Bay Rays. of the 2014 Major League Baseball First-Year English came in as a freshman and played all 52 innings pitched, posting a 4-4 record in 52 innings for his most productive season. Beal Player Draft by the Detroit Tigers. 69 games, starting 68, while hitting .298 with He was rated the 206th best prospect entering 43 runs scored, 12 stolen bases and six outfield made five starts and appeared in 13 games in 2013 for 32 innings with a 4.278 ERA and a the 2014 MLB Draft by Baseball America. assists on his way to the SEC All-Freshman 2-1 record. Pankake was one of the Gamecocks leaders Team. In 2014, Beal made four starts and appeared throughout his time wearing Garnet & Black In 2013 he played in 54 games with 50 starts in five games after missing much of the beginafter being drafted in the 42nd round by the while hitting .283 with 30 runs scored and 25 ning of the year with a back injury. He posted a Texas Rangers out of high school. RBIs. English was a 2014 SEC All-Defensive Pankake stepped on campus and began to outfielder starting and playing in all 62 games 3.29 ERA with a 1-0 record in 13.2 innings.


16 • Spurs & Feathers

June 25, 2014

photo by jenny dilworth

Holbrook, Gamecocks already working toward 2015 season by mike kucharski mike@spursandfeathers.com

South Carolina’s head baseball coach Chad Holbrook looked back on the 2014 season, using the earlier-than-usual ending as motivation for next year for the coaching staff and players. “We obviously are still disappointed and I don’t know if we’ve gotten over the disappointment of our season yet. We have started work on the 2015 season. We’re excited about getting that cranked up and that journey started in the fall,” Holbrook stated. “As disappointing as it is that our season is not still ongoing, we’re working hard for our 2015 season. It’s going to be an exciting team, a talented team. A lot of new names, a lot of new faces, but I think it’s going to be a team that will be able to compete All Gamecock baseball against coverage sponsored by anybody DiPrato’s that we play against.” The Gamecocks are one of only nine teams in the nation to host an NCAA Regional in 2013 and 2014 and have made the regionals every year since 2000. The talent on these squads has been recognized by professional baseball as seven Gamecocks were chosen in the 2014 MLB Draft. Grayson Greiner, Jordan Montgomery, Joey Pankake, Tanner English, Joel Seddon, Kyle Martin and Evan

Beal were all selected. “Obviously we’ve had some guys drafted off this year’s team and we’re very, very excited for the opportunities in front of them … that junior class that came in here that I was so close to are going to get their opportunities to play pro ball and we’re excited about that and supporting them in their future endeavors,” Holbrook said. He noted that many of the draftees have already left Columbia to sign contracts, get physicals and start their professional careers. He added that many of them will be around campus in the fall either finishing degrees or working out with the 2015 squad. One draftee decided to return to South Carolina for his senior year in first baseman Kyle Martin. Holbrook said that Martin is a terrific student in mechanical engineering and wants to return to finish his degree and play his senior season. Martin announced his decision to return one day after the season wrap-up press conference on Wednesday, June 11. “We are thrilled to have Kyle back for another year,” said Holbrook. “As I stated Tuesday, I’m already anxious for August to get here and get ready for the 2015 season. Kyle is the best defensive first baseman in the country and one of our top hitters. To have his bat in the middle of the lineup one more season is huge and we appreciate his desire and passion to want to don the Garnet & Black one more time. We are happy with where we are as a team as we head into the next season.” Martin also commented in a press release from South Carolina Athletics Media Relations on June 11. “I love this university, I love this baseball program and I’m just not ready to leave all

that this great place provides me,” said Martin. “This was not an easy decision and I appreciate the Angels drafting me. However, after talking it over with my family, coach Holbrook and the staff and Coach Tanner, I’ve decided that I want to come back and help lead the 2015 team. I’m very excited to be a part of the Gamecock baseball program one more year and I’m anxious to get back on the field with my teammates. I am looking forward to another season at Carolina Stadium in front of the best fans in the country. It is also important for me to earn my degree and I’m grateful to the entire University community that is helping me get closer to achieving that goal.” Holbrook also addressed Max Schrock’s health, saying that he recently saw a back specialist who said surgery would not be necessary. Schrock will take the summer off to rest and rehab his back through physical therapy and the doctor was optimistic about him being ready for fall practice. Holbrook said that he was proud of his team for many of their regular-season accomplishments - particularly the series win at Vanderbilt and the sweep of Clemson - but they want to play their best during the postseason which did not happen this season. “That’s something that’s going to stick with me for awhile. I’ve got to look at myself as we go forward and make sure that my preparations in the future as we go toward the postseason ... that I implement things that work. Obviously what we did this year did not work and I’m going to work on that,” Holbrook commented. “The taste that is going to be in my mouth until the first game next year is that we lost in the regional at home. That will be a

sense of great motivation for the guys that are returning and certainly a big motivator for me and our coaching staff … we learn a lot about baseball every single day and hopefully I’ll be a better coach next year because of the experience that I’ve had this year.” Holbrook again complimented the players that are leaving the program via the MLB Draft, but he is excited about the talent returning and coming into the program. “Obviously you lose some leadership and lose some experience, but we’re not going to be short on talent. If they work hard and continue to prepare, they’ll have all that they need to compete with these teams from a talentstandpoint. If we coach them and put them in the right spot and they become confident over the course of the next season, they’ll have everything they need to compete against the teams that we play against from a talent standpoint,” Holbrook said. “We’re losing a lot of experience and leadership, but I don’t think we’re losing a lot in talent. Not taking anything away from (the draftees). They’re accomplished college players, but some of these kids coming in here are extremely talented and the expectations here aren’t changing and I don’t want them to change. “I know the names on the back of the jerseys will change, but this group is going to come in and hopefully not miss a beat. I hope that they come in with the attitude that not only are we going to continue the tradition that has been laid before us, but we’re going to build on it and have a better year than this year. That’s going to be our goal and I think our players are going to be talented enough to put us in the same position and maybe be playing at this time next year,” Holbrook expounded.


Spurs & Feathers • 17

June 25, 2014

Gamecocks take another step forward in 2014 season by brian hand bhand@spursandfeathers.com South Carolina softball head coach Beverly Smith for the most part is pleased with where her program is at this point in time as the Gamecocks have built from the ground up in her four seasons in charge. “Certainly you always want to be bigger, faster, stronger, but I do think we’ve done things the right way,” Smith noted. “We’ve built it from the bottom in the base and I think we’ve put in the structure that we need so now it’s just getting the kids to buy in and the kids that are here have all been ones that have said they want to be the difference makers and I think that South Carolina offers the things they need to be successful. I think we have the coaching staff here with the knowledge to make them successful. I think we’ve got the administration that gives us the support. I think we’ve got the facility and I think we’ve got everything they need to be successful. Now it’s just let’s get to work and get after it.” This past year the Gamecocks finished 36-22 overall. South Carolina advanced to the NCAA regionals for the second consecutive year. “I feel very positive about (last) season,” Smith remarked. “To me, it was another step forward. I thought it was a nice seeing the benefits of our recruiting come in, the talent we had on the roster. For me, this was first year I felt like we were very competitive in conference. We had the most conference wins since I’ve been here, we had 11 wins in conference. I thought we competed very well inside the conference. The year before we were seeing if we got our names called and this year we were expecting that, which was great. Just moving forward, I think we have set the standard of NCAA Tournament and now we need to be looking at that next step of winning the regional, super regional and hopefully get to Oklahoma City (site of softball World Series). “Overall, my thoughts on the season were very positive. I think we’ve done things the right way. We’re building a good foundation and we just need to continue to take the next step,” Smith continued. In the 2013 season, South Carolina was able to advance to the NCAA regional finals, but this past season the Gamecocks won a game in the NCAA Tallahassee Regional, but in the end fell just short of advancing to the super regionals. Obviously the Gamecocks did not want to bow out that early, but Smith concedes the bitter taste left in their mouths from failing to advance to the super regionals may give her team the drive it needs. “As I sat down with the girls in our end of year meetings, I think there’s a lot of excitement heading towards next year,” Smith commented. “My mind is already going on the

things I want to improve and add to the group next year to make us stronger. We’ve got another great class of recruits coming in so I feel really good about the future.” The expectations for the Gamecocks in the 2015 season will be the same as they always are. “The expectations really are going to be, I want to win the SEC, I want to win an SEC title and to me if you’re competing in the top of our conference you’re there,” Smith explained. “If you’re at the top of our conference, you’ve got the goal set for Oklahoma City. You saw this year it was an all-SEC final. It was Alabama and Florida (Gators won national championship). To me, that’s my goal every year, I want to win conference and there’s nothing that prepares you better for postseason than running through an SEC season. The SEC is a grind. “If you look at our conference, Texas A&M didn’t get into the SEC Tournament. They finished 11th in the conference and they were still ranked in the top-25, so you’ve got a top25 team that didn’t even make our conference tournament. We had five teams in the top-10 in the country. We finished eighth and that sounds bad to some people, but I think there was only one game that separated fourth from seventh. Everybody just beat up on each other,”

Smith elaborated. The SEC may be a grind, but that is why Smith and her coaching staff have been able to recruit so fruitfully at South Carolina. “I think that’s why you choose the SEC,” Smith said. “That’s why you coach in it. That’s why you play in it. There’s no bigger stage to be able to play softball on. There’s not much of a professional league to speak of, you’re not going to be able to make a living playing pro ball, so this is the biggest stage. We love the fact that the ratings for ESPN were way up for postseason. Our SEC Tournament was wellwatched. I’m so proud of our staff and the way we showed off the University and the softball program. Hosting the SEC Softball Tournament here was amazing. I thought it looked great on TV.” Smith loves the way her team is setting up for the 2015 season. “I was really proud of Nickie Blue and Kaylea Snaer, they both made the SEC AllFreshman team,” Smith relayed. “I think they both had very good freshman campaigns and I really look for them to return and improve and I also think they are going to be impactful in leadership roles for us. I think to have players that young and to be in leadership positions or a position to lead is going to help us for sure. “Julie Sarratt returns as our captain. She

photo by allen sharpe

certainly had an outstanding year for us on the mound. She’ll be a fifth-year senior for us, she’ll bring us some good experience. We add another freshman pitcher on the mound that I think will give us some more depth in the circle, which we were lacking this last year. A lot of our offense returns too. So it’s going to be exciting. Our new spots are going to be up the middle,” Smith concluded.


18 • Spurs & Feathers

June 25, 2014

Hamilton embraces challenges in coaching at alma mater by mike kucharski mike@spursandfeathers.com

as he came over from serving as assistant coach at Mercer. He said he knew that he wanted to get into coaching and he is thankful that he South Carolina men’s golf assistant coach was able to come back to join the staff considAlex Hamilton has enjoyed an incredible first ering the many coaches who played at South year helping to guide the program after having Carolina never had the opportunity to coach close ties to South Carolina throughout his life. the Gamecocks like Mike D’Antoni (Michigan “It was an incredible year for a few reasons State football head coach) for example. for me. To come home to South Carolina and “It’s always great to be a Gamecock. My be able to work for my alma mater is a great dad and my mom both went here and my dad honor, so there’s that side of things,” Hamilton played golf here. I grew up going to football commented. “As far as this current team is games here and basketball games here,” Hamconcerned, it’s a really good group of kids. ilton said. “There’s a lot of great memories They’re not only good players, not only very for me in Columbia concerning the Garnet & talented, but they’re hard workers. They’re fun Black. Working for them now is awesome. It’s to be around and make it really easy to enjoy a great University and great to be in the SEC coaching.” with all the great competition and teams that Hamilton said between the student-athletes are out there. It’s a lot of fun to be in the mix work, successes and the team’s accomplishand have a great team like we do.” ments, he is thrilled to be back as a part of the Hamilton said that the team has accepted the program where he excelled during his collechallenge of being true student-athletes simigiate career. Hamilton earned All-SEC honors larly to the way that he did as the team had a in 2004 and was a two-time Cleveland Golf cumulative GPA over 3.4 with multiple players All-American Scholar while being named to studying at the highly-regarded Darla Moore the SEC Academic Honor Roll all four years School of Business. at South Carolina. His Gamecock ties go even “That’s incredible really considering how further back as his mother and father both much these kids really work on their golf graduated from South Carolina while his fagames. It’s incredible how they do in the classther, Jim, was on the Gamecock golf team from room as well. They really put the time in and 1968-72, including serving as team captain his really pay attention … they take pride in everyjunior and senior years. thing they do,” Hamilton noted. Getting on the staff for the Gamecocks was Having a successful playing career both in a combination of luck and timing for Hamilton college and spending seven years playing pro-

fessionally is something that Hamilton can use to relate to the team as well. “I think they know that coach (Bill) McDonald and I have both played the game at the highest level and know what it takes to be successful in this game at a professional level. They look up to that and understand that we do know what we’re talking about,” Hamilton explained. “They understand that we’re not just experienced coaches, we’re also experienced players. “So when it’s coming down the stretch of a golf tournament, we know that feeling. We’ve been in those shoes; we’ve been on that side of the golf ball as well. We can easily relate to everything that they’re going through which makes it easy for us to have conversations with them about some of the pressures and mental side of the game, which in reality is probably the hardest part of the game,” Hamilton continued. Hamilton said that the work continues yearround as he is out recruiting and keeping up with the returning players individual competitions throughout the summer. He said that he is looking forward to the chance to help the team build upon this year’s success going forward. “We’ve got two kids that have been committed for awhile coming in next year and we’re looking forward to having both Alex Handy and Keenan Huskey come on board. We feel like both of them can contribute right away, but with that being said, we have a really deep team

photo courtesy of south carolina athletics media RELATIONS

coming back,” Hamilton said. “We are getting Sean Kelly back from injury who was a stalwart of the 2012-13 team and Blaine Woodruff is back who played a good bit for us. We return all five of the players that played at Nationals. “We really don’t lose anybody at all and add a couple more key players … with the stable of talent that we have, it’s really looking like it could be a special year for us next year,” Hamilton concluded.

Gamecock volleyball adds experience to coaching staff by mike kucharski mike@spursandfeathers.com

few years and kind of inexperienced, but I think meeting the girls on my interview and understanding their mindset helps. South Carolina volleyball brought experi“They’re just ready to work, get better and ence to its coaching staff with the addition of play hard. With the experience that they’ve Dottie Porch in early May. gone through for the past year to year and a Porch will half, they’re just ready to be good. As a coach serve as the asthat appeals to me to have kids that are just sistant coach ready to be good and will do anything in order and recruiting for that happen,” Porch continued. coordinator for Porch said that she know this will be a hardthe Gamecocks working team and already knows middle Darand said that she ian Dozier after coaching her oldest sister at is excited to be a George Mason. She added that she has been to part of a program lunch with some of the players, plans to do so in the competitive with the rest to continue to get to know them SEC. She added individually and she likes the group thus far. that another big “It’s all about them and how good they draw for her in want to be and investing in their own suctaking this job was the group of players on cess. I think they’ve already put in some of campus. that investment - they’re coming back, they’re “It’s one of the top-5 conferences in the coun- in school, they’ve done open gym, they’re try and the competition night-in and night-out working hard, they’re lifting weights and is spectacular,” Porch commented. “That and that’s all without us,” Porch explained. “It’s just understanding where this program can be kind of cliché that champions are made in the taken. It’s been very, very young for the past offseason, but it’s so true. The work that you

do when nobody else is watching is probably the most important because then you can get into it, you’re holding yourself accountable for the things that you’re doing, so I think that mentality has started to go through the group. They’re all investing in their own success so it’s great when you have a group of girls who really understand what it takes to be a highlevel team.” The relationship with head coach Scott Swanson was another draw for Porch to take the job on his staff as she recognized that he has great coaching experience including his role in Minnesota’s success from 2006-10. “His knowledge base and his understanding of what it takes to be successful and how to motivate the girls in order to do that is good,” Porch said of Swanson. “I think we’ll be a great team together. Our personalities kind of mesh and it’s an adult situation where I’m honest with him and he’s honest with me and we’re going to do what we can do collaboratively, do what’s best for this program and do what we can push it forward.” Swanson is excited as well to add Porch’s experience and connections to the program and

thinks highly of her abilities. “It was one of the best hires I’ve ever made. She’s super-experienced, she’s extremely mature and just savvy. She’s been doing it for a really long time. She’s been a Division I head coach, she’s run her own program, she’s worked for a lot of good people and she has great connections. Even after being out recruiting with her for one weekend, we already have a foot in the door with some elite kids that we weren’t hearing from previously. I kind of feel like she was a really crucial hire for us,” Swanson explained. Porch knows that she will continue to adapt to the new program, but feels that her experience - both coaching and as an All-American and professional player - will help her to be an asset to South Carolina. “I’ve been playing and coaching volleyball for a long time, so you learn and adapt with the team that you have. Not everything that I’ve learned will work for this team because it’s a totally different team, but because I’ve done so much for such a long time, I can kind of choose things that are going to help with the program,” Porch said.


June 25, 2014

Spurs & Feathers • 19


20 • Spurs & Feathers

June 25, 2014

South Carolina swimming adds experience in Bernadino

by mike kucharksi mike@spursandfeathers.com

The South Carolina swimming and diving team bolstered its coaching staff by adding Mark Bernadino as associate head coach to help compete in the SEC. Bernadino has an accomplished career in leading the University of Virginia to 27 ACC Championships in 35 years as a head coach. He noted that coming to South Carolina in the SEC provides a great challenge of competing against some great teams in “the finest swimming conference in the United States with some of the finest coaches in the world. “I find it challenging, I find it rewarding and I find it uplifting to face the best there are out there, to face the best athletes and to help the South Carolina athletes compete and hopefully be victorious against some of the best in the world. We’re going to get after it and we’re going to get it done,” Bernadino explained. Gamecock head coach McGee Moody said that he had very few people in mind when searching to fill his coaching vacancy and he was extremely pleased to get in contact with

Bernadino, learn of his interest and eventually bring him on staff. “What this does is a couple of things: it immediately affects our recruiting in that he’s a world-renowned middle-distance coach, he’s had numerous Olympians, had two Olympic gold medalists on his last roster. So his coming here immediately changes how we recruit,” Moody said. “He also brings just a wealth of training knowledge and experience to our staff. It gives me somebody that I can lean on and bounce questions off of and it also gives another outlet for our younger assistants to really continue to learn, grow and develop strategies and theories on their own. Having him as a resource here helps that greatly here.” Moody described him as one of the most “loyal people he’s ever met and has a ton of respect in the swimming community.” Bernadino explained that his relationship with Moody was important in getting him to join the Gamecocks’ staff. “That played a significant role in bringing me to South Carolina. McGee is high energy, lots and lots of enthusiasm. He did a terrific job when he was coaching William & Mary and I observed first-hand how he transformed that program,” Bernadino explained. “I’ve watched how he’s done such a great job in a difficult conference at South Carolina. I’ve seen how he has helped to produce strong,

outstanding individuals. “The chance to be with a coach that I respect, who I like, who I enjoy being around and the opportunity to be with a staff that is a really good staff … all of that factored into my decision, but certainly McGee played a huge role. Just being around someone with such a dynamic personality, so much energy and enthusiasm for the sport made it what I hope will be just a great fit,” Bernadino continued. One of the goals for both Moody and Bernadino is to continue to develop talent that can compete on an international level. Bernadino has had copious international experience as well and sent at least one current, former or incoming student-athlete to every Summer Olympics since 1996 in Atlanta. “I very much want to coach athletes that aspire to be a part of the national team. I think that is essential to our growing the program at South Carolina and it is essential to South Carolina enjoying higher levels of success. Finding, recruiting and developing athletes who have national team and international aspiration is important for us,” Bernadino remarked. Moody said that Bernadino’s hire has given him and the staff a renewed sense of energy and excitement that is palpable throughout the program. One of the things that Bernadino said he is most excited about is working with

the student-athletes that are at South Carolina and Moody added they are excited to work with Bernadino as well. “As a coach, nothing means more to me than being able to work with the kids. That’s first and foremost; that’s why I’ve coached my entire life. I coach for the athletes and I coach to help them enjoy as much of a positive experience as they can possibly enjoy as human beings, as students and as athletes,” Bernadino said. “That opportunity is going to present itself in Columbia with the Gamecocks and we’re going to have a lot of fun together as a staff and as a team. We’re going to do some special things and we’ll do all that we can to elevate the program to the highest level that we can elevate it. “I’m very excited. I’m thrilled to be here, thrilled to be a part of a program that is on the rise. It’s a lot of fun to be involved with these young people … it just seems like a great place to work and a great place to accomplish things. That’s what I’m tasked with doing and I’m going to do everything in my power to live up to those expectations,” Bernadino concluded. Moody simply summed it up by saying “… it was a great, great hire for our program and I know it’s going to come in and pay off immediately … here we are with an Olympiccaliber coach on our staff and there’s nothing but good things coming to the program.”

Gamecocks’ Mangus makes appearance in nation’s capital by mike kucharski mike@spursandfeathers.com

“Finally about five or six years ago we got to the point where we had various assistant coaches come. Back then it was running The Gamecock Club’s Washington, D.C. backs coach Jay Graham because he had rearea chapter had a special guest for its ancruiting responsibility for our area and when nual spring meeting social on May 12 at the he left coach Mangus took over this territory Hard Times Cafe in Arlington, Va. … we’ve had him three years in a row, 2012, South Carolina football’s quarterbacks 2013 and now 2014. He’s been an energetic coach G.A. Mangus made the trip to the Na- and amusing speaaker each time,” Baumtional Capital Regional Gamecock Club (the gardner commented. NCRGC) for the third-consecutive year to The Gamecock Club members in the area address Gamecock fans in the area. Chapter are separated by a fairly great distance from president Neil Baumgardner said that the the University’s campus, so Baumgardner event was fun, successful and well-attended. said that these events provide a great way for “We had 60-plus people and this year we Gamecock fans to be involved with South did it as a ‘happy-hour format’ so there was Carolina. no upfront cost to attend. You could order “There aren’t a lot of opportunities for your own food and hear coach speak. It was our members to interact with the athletics a pretty laid-back, easy-going atmosphere department, coaches or former athletes,” that enabled a lot of people, families and Baumgarndner explained. “For example, the kids to be there,” Baumgardner said. Redskins until they signed Clifton Geathers Baumgardner explained that the D.C. area they had not had a Gamecock on the team in chapter was founded around 10 years ago more than a decade … so there haven’t been and the meetings began with former atha lot of opportunities for our members to letes, various Gamecock Club directors and interact with Gamecock events unless they even former athletics director Eric Hyman head back to South Carolina. Obviously a lot as featured speakers. of our members do in terms of going to foot-

ball games, as season ticket holders and that sort of thing, etc. “Having these events once a year provides an opportunity for them to get to know the Gamecocks, get to talk to coach Mangus kind of up close and personal, ask him all kinds of questions, get his perspectives on all kinds of things such as the state of the team, various positions, recruiting in general and that sort of thing,” Baumgardner continued. Baumgardner said the NCRGC continues to work in close coordination with the D.C. Gamecocks, the local chapter of the My Carolina Alumni Association and cross-promote their events. He noted that the spring meeting social is the main annual focus of the Gamecock Club. He said that they have made exceptions, although the chapter has organized other events in the past such as organizing a meetand-greet for coach Ray Tanner and the 2010 National Championship Gamecock baseball team on Pennsylvania Avenue following their visit to the White House. Meanwhile, the Alumni Club handles and organizes a wide variety of the social events which are

supported by the Gamecock Club chapter as well. To learn more about the National Capital Regional Gamecock Club, like them on Facebook or visit their website at: http:// dc.gamecockclubs.com/default.aspx.


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June 25, 2014

Checking in with the Lexington County Gamecock Club by mike kucharski mike@spursandfeathers.com The Lexington County chapter of the Gamecock Club held one of its most successful spring golf tournaments and is looking to carry that momentum into its third annual “It’s Great to be a Gamecock” football event later this summer. Lexington County has been holding a spring golf tournament for years and the latest event, the 13th annual tournament, was one of the most successful. This year’s tournament was held on April 14 at the Country Club of Lexington. “We had 121 golfers show up including the Head Ball Coach Steve Spurrier with just about all of his assistant coaches,” chapter president Steve Gunter said. “We had a great turnout, the weather was great, nice and sunny. Unfortunately, we had to turn away some teams due to the tremendous response.” Gunter said that there were many volunteers on the committee who helped run the tournament and make it successful. “Our golf committee has worked together for years and have done another great job,” Gunter remarked. The food at the tournament was supplied by Hudson’s Smokehouse BBQ in Lexington and Mathias Sandwich Shop in Irmo. “One of the signatures of our event is that we like to have the smell of the ribs wafting over the golf course. We have ribs, ‘hawg dogs’ and lots of great food for everyone who participated,” Gunter said. “Everyone just had a great time at the tournament, even Coach Spurrier, and it really is one of the best events we do all year.” The sponsorship money is donated to the football program, the Gamecock Club and the Lexington County Junior Gamecock Club events. Gunter noted that the golf tournament has always been a big fundraiser

every year and this year was no different. The Lexington County chapter is hoping to build off the great turnout for the golf tournament looking ahead to the late summer pre-football banquet. The location of the event has changed to the Columbia Conference Center to allow for greater attendance at the event. On Wednesday July 30, Lexington County will host the third annual “It’s Great to be a Gamecock” football event featuring South Carolina defensive coordinator Lorenzo Ward and the coaching staff to preview the 2014 Gamecock football season. There will also be raffle drawings, a silent auction, a buffet dinner and cash bar with the doors opening at 5:30 p.m. Tickets start at $30 for individual seats in general admission and tables can be purchased featuring eight seats at the front of the event at either Garnet or Black sponsor levels. The Garnet sponsor level includes dining with an assistant coach and a complimentary drink ticket per each guest, while both levels have reserved seating in the first two rows (Garnet in the front row), a thank submitted photo you gift and your name listed in the program. There will be festivities for continued Pictured at this year’s Lexington County Gamecock Club Golf Tournament is South Carolina socializing and dancing with a DJ from 8-10 head coach Steve Spurrier with Greg Meetze, Larry Hubbard, John Denise and Blake Taylor. p.m. as well. “We are really excited about the new venue and can’t wait for July 30. We’re hoping for a great turnout and getting everyone excited about the football season, meeting the coaches and just having a really fun night,” Lexington County board member Robbin Moss said. For more information about the football event, email lexgmckclub@yahoo.com or visit www.eventbrite.com/e/3rd-annual-itsgreat-to-be-a-gamecock-preseason-footballkickoff-event-tickets-11864179079. You can also like the Lexington County Gamecock Club on Facebook.

submitted photo

Pictured is South Carolina Defensive Line coach Deke Adams with Ben Boozer, Hugh Nichols and Steve Patterson. They were the winning team in the Championship Flight.


22 • Spurs & Feathers

June 25, 2014

Captain’s take on Gamecock basketball

A view from former Gamecock basketball player and current radio host of 560 the Team’s Locker Room, weekdays from 10 a.m.-1 p.m., The Captain, Carey Rich S&F: Any news on Ty Johnson? Has he just been working to try and completely get better and continue to improve? Ty Johnson is going to be huge for this team this year and this is why: because he’s so anxious to get out there. He’s had a string of bad luck the last couple of years. Right before he went down, you can look at how he was playing. He was playing much better, playing with much more confidence. He had a better understanding of who Frank was as a coach and I think Frank began to have a better understanding of who he was. Even though he wasn’t starting toward the end right before he went down, he was playing a lot more minutes and closing out games. He was playing with a whole lot more confidence and that confidence will translate to this year’s basketball team. I really, really like the rotation that you’re going to see at that guard spot. Duane Notice, think about the experience that he got this year learning to play point. It was the first time in his life that he’s ever played point. Now he comes in as a combo guard which means he adds value to two different positions. That’s a bonus. That’s a plus that every coach wants. The guard rotation is going to be really, really, really good. You’ve got those guys with experience and the new guys coming in. It’s going to be really good with those guys in place. It’s going to be really competitive, I’ll tell you that. If you’re not ready to compete, if you’re not ready to go at each other in practice every day, I can just tell you right now, you’re going to be left out when it comes to swallowing up minutes at those three guard spots. S&F: Coach Martin has talked about All Gamecock basketball the biggest coverage sponsored by jump that Yesterdays these players will make is from their freshman to sophomore years. Does the commitment to work over the summer and the time put in from this team just fit right in with that idea and will we see them continue to progress? Yes, just look at how this team finished down the stretch. I do expect a big jump from Demetrius Henry. Let’s not forget that he was a guy who picked South Carolina over several high level programs and his only issue was strength and weight. Because it’s so physical at the position he plays, he was often com-

promised when it came to trying to establish position and this is why; he’s so small, he’s so thin and slim that by the time he caught the ball he was not only out of position, but he was also off balance. So now when he caught the basketball, he felt rushed. He felt hurried, so he didn’t ever have an opportunity to get a good clean look at the basket. This year he’ll be a little bit stronger because of that big leap that coach Martin is talking about. You’ll see a better Demetrius Henry. A guy that can shoot the face-up jump shot, guy that can make the jump hook and also I expect to see some type of presence on the defensive side of the basketball. You’ll see a big jump from him, but the biggest jump is going to be from Sindarius Thronwell. Thornwell will be a face in the SEC. People outside of the SEC know Sindarius Thornwell and to prove that point, Sindarius will be participating in the Kevin Durant camp this year as a staff member. You’ve got to get invited to be a part of that and they invite the top college basketball players from around the country to be a part of that camp. Sindarius Thornwell was selected, so that’s the part that excites me. I go back to the Stephon Gilmore analogy. Sindarius Thornwell came in here and went against the grain, went against the norm and he chose South Carolina. Now after one year, even though the team didn’t do that well, Sindarius Thornwell’s body of work was enough to warrant a certain level and degree of recognition outside of the SEC and that’s promising. That will go a long way when it comest to attracting maybe some of the other local prospects that are up and coming. S&F: Between Sindarius and Ty coming back, is this going to be their team and a stronger, more experienced team next year? Yes and this is why: not only will it be Sindarius’ team and Ty Johnson’s team, but Sindaruis had a taste of success. The one thing that I know is that he has been busting his behind since the season has been over with in the gym because he’s had that taste of success. I was over watching those guys work the other day and I was so impressed and so amazed because as a former player, I understand the importance of working out at game speed. I understand the importance of going at a rate of speed that is going to directly correlate to how you play the game. He now understands that. The coaches don’t have to get on him about going game speed in practice and that’s because he’s had a taste of success. That’s also because he’s got younger guys behind him that he wants to serve as an example to. Also, that wasn’t fun going through that losing streak that they went through last year. He’s never lost before, so that served as a motivating factor. Another reason is that this is going to be

good - I wouldn’t say one of the more veteran teams, but take a look at the attrition that has taken place in the SEC. You have to take that into consideration. Missouri will have a new basketball coach. Tennessee has a new basketball coach. Florida - yes, they are Florida, but Florida lost four out of their starting five. Kentucky is going to be Kentucky, but after maybe Kentucky and maybe Arkansas, which is the Arkansas basketball team that South Carolina beat down the stretch and robbed them of any chance of getting to the NCAA, I think you could just close your eyes, put your hand in the bag and pull out a team and you won’t see much difference. Well, South Carolina returns every starter except Brenton Williams and I think there is something to be said about that, particularly when you look at the way they closed the season out. S&F: Seeing how successful Coach Martin and his wife, Anya, have been with the “B-Ball of the South” fundraiser, how much have they both bought into being a part of the community here in Columbia? You couldn’t find a more solid citizen, a more solid person, a more loyal person, a more trusting person than Frank Martin. I was at an event a couple years ago with (Athletics Director) Ray Tanner and Ray Tanner was very candid and very adamant about the University’s role when it comes to the community, coaches in particular. He said he feels like the coaches have an obligation to be a part of and take part in the community because the University of South Carolina is a part of the community. The University needs to be a part of what goes on in the community and Frank Martin understands that he epitomizes what it’s about with regards to being in the community. What is so funny is in doing the radio show, I hear everything. I hear the good, I hear the bad, I hear the criticisms and I hear the praise. I hear everything when it comes to sports talk radio. I often find it so funny when folks are so judgmental in who he is as a person because of who he is as a coach. As a former player, I will just say this that epitomizes everything when it comes to Frank Martin - I hope non-athletes are able to understand this: when I sat in Frank Martin’s office the summer after his first year at South Carolina and saw five or six former K-State players paid their own way to come to Columbia, S.C. to work out with their old coach and stay here for weeks and months at a time before they went on to their respective places to play basketball, that says everything that I need to know. It says everything I need to know about his relationship with players, about how much his players trust him, about how much his players believe in him and as a former player,

I understand that bond. I know players that live in the same city that would never pick up the phone and even call their former college coach. That says a whole lot. When you have that and conversely you have guys flying from all over the country to come work out with a guy that is no longer your coach, that says a whole lot. He’s a solid, solid citizen and I’m excited to watch Frank Martin lead this program. The other benefit that I have is that I’ve been able to forge and sustain a lot of relationships in college basketball that goes beyond the South Carolina border, goes beyond South Carolina and Clemson. I’ve been very fortunate to meet a lot of coaches and talk to a lot of coaches and Frank Martin has a very, very bright mind when it comes to the game of basketball. I often enjoy the conversations we have when it comes to X’s and O’s, I enjoy the conversations we have when it comes to ideas and opinions on what can a program do to be successful and what can a program do to embrace the community. I’m looking forward to this year, year number three, and I know the coaches are looking forward to this year. I’ve been over watching those guys practice a couple of time and I can tell you that they’re putting in work right now as we speak. S&F: I wanted to change gears, but stay with basketball in Columbia. In looking at coach Dawn Staley’s team, her coaching Team USA, the experience returning and the recruiting class they had, what do you see the ceiling for that program or is there even one? First of all I have been beyond impressed with what coach Staley has built here at South Carolina. It hasn’t gone unnoticed. Please see CAPTAIN, page 24


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June 25, 2014

photo courtesy of south carolina athletics media relations

Reiser leads a talented group of returners for the Gamecocks in the 2014 season.

Cross country looking to continue progression by mike kucharski mike@spursandfeathers.com

fering an injury in the track & field season. The Gamecocks are hopeful for her return this fall, but no timetable has been set for her recovery. The Gamecock cross country team finished Many of the Gamecock runners competed in last season improving upon the previous year’s the 2014 track & field season which should be finishes in the SEC Championships and the a benefit for them in the cross country season. NCAA Southeast Regional and will look to Reiser and Anna Todd made the biggest jumps continue that trend in 2014. in the spring according to Allden. Though some of the runners will be departing South Carolina will hope the momentum esfrom last season’s team, the Gamecocks should tablished last fall and in the track & field season be more experienced in the upcoming year. carries over into 2014. With good health and Mary Reiser leads the group of returners after continued improvement, the Gamecocks will having a stellar year that included earning SEC look to compete in the SEC and beyond this fall. All-Freshman honors and SEC Freshman of the “We really only lose Meredith Mill who Week accolades during the 2013 season. South graduated in January and earned Academic AllCarolina assistant track coach for distance and American honors last year and Penny Boswell, cross country Andrew Allden said that Reiser who will actually be back with us helping out “probably had the best overall performance in with the team as she is in graduate school for the spring season ... the biggest accomplishment sports administration. She did a great job as a is at the SEC meet she ran the third-fastest time captain last year and knows the system, so that in school history in the 10,000 meters, which is really helps,” Allden said of the makeup of the significant being that she is a freshman and ma- team. “I think we’ve got a very good freshman turity is typically a big factor in that event. She class coming in and have a number of folks who kind of consolidated and backed up the promise should be able to continue right away. that her cross country season showed.” “We certainly want to improve on those The squad could get a boost from the return of rankings and finishes in the SEC and region. Kayla Lampe who missed the 2013 campaign We want to continue to improve based on our due to injury. In 2012 Lampe earned All-SEC historical finishes. We’re excited to keep workand All-Southeast Region honors in cross coun- ing and get back competing this fall,” Allden try, however she is in recovery mode after sufconcluded.


24 • Spurs & Feathers

June 25, 2014

Mitchell and USA Basketball win FIBA 3x3 World Championship gold south carolina athletics media relations

MOSCOW - South Carolina guard Tiffany Mitchell helped Team USA to its second gold medal in as many FIBA 3-on-3 World Championships with a perfect 9-0 record through Pool D. She and her teammates Cierra Burdick (Tennessee), Sara Hammond (Louisville) and Jewell Loyd (Notre Dame) capped their run with a 15-8 win over host Russia Sunday evening at Luzhniki Park in Moscow. Team USA cruised through Pool D, which included Hungary, Brazil, Ukraine, Spain and Argentina, with its closest game still a double-digit win. Spain was able to hold the Red, White and Blue to its lowest offensive output in pool play but still lost 16-6. The Argentinians also came within 10 points in a 21-11 Team USA victory. In the first round of knockout action, the U.S. dispatched All Gamecock basketball Uruguay, coverage sponsored by which Yesterdays advanced as the fourth team out of Pool A, 19-6. The Americans met France in the quarterfinals in the second game on Saturday. Against Pool B’s secondplace team, the U.S. eked out a 12-9 victory to move on to Sunday’s semifinals. Team USA had an early lead on Pool A

winner Belgium in the semifinals, but saw the game tied at 13 with just over 30 seconds remaining. Mitchell helped turn the tide, leaping to steal a pass into the post and turning it into a bucket before combining to force another Belgium turnover, which led to another U.S. bucket. The spurt was the start of the last push to an 18-14 victory. The final saw a pair of undefeated teams face off after Russia dispatched Pool C winner Czech Republic in the other semifinal. Team USA was unfazed by the home crowd and finished off the gold-medal effort with a 15-8 victory. The 2014 edition was just the second FIBA 3x3 World Championship contested with Mitchell and her teammates keeping USA Basketball as the only gold-medal winners at the event. The 2012 gold was won by the quartet of Skylar Diggins (Notre Dame), Bria Hartley (UConn), Chiney Ogwumike (Stanford) and Ann Strother (UConn). 2014 FIBA World Championship Team USA Results Pool D Play (June 5-6) USA def. Hungary, 21-5 USA def. Brazil, 21-8 USA def. Ukraine, 21-10 USA def. Spain, 16-6 USA def. Argentina, 21-11 Round of 16 (June 7) USA def. Uruguay, 19-6 Quarterfinals (June 7) USA def. France, 12-9 Semifinals (June 8) USA def. Belgium, 18-14 Final (June 8) USA def. Russia, 15-8

photos by allen sharpe

CAPTAIN, continued from page 22 When A’ja Wilson, the nation’s No. 1 recruit, chose to come here to South Carolina, I gained a newfound respect for that young lady because the one thing that tipped the decision is she said that she appreciated the way that Dawn Staley has built the program. She saw Dawn Staley build the program from ground up and she understands the obstacles and hurdles that are in place to build a program, but Dawn Staley has done just that. She’s remained steadfast, she’s shown great resolve, she’s shown great confidence, she’s been resilient and she hasn’t been deterred. She has not been deterred in regards to facing some of the challenges here at South Carolina. Even early on when she had a few players to defect the program, she could have easily gotten

frustrated, could have easily maybe gotten discouraged, but she didn’t. She stayed the course, she showed great resolve and she’s

done a really good job of putting a product on the floor that has become very, very attractive to the top-notch players from across

the country. It also helps tremendously that a lot of those top-notch players that she’s recruited and a lot of those players that are now on the team currently, it helps that those ladies are from South Carolina. Just like from a football standpoint, it helps that the Clowneys, the Gilmores, the Jefferys, the Lattimores were all from South Carolina. I very respectfully say the basketball team hasn’t had those guys to choose from in the state for the last few years. At best we’ve had a lot of low- to mid-major college basketball prospects and that just didn’t transfer to winning games in the SEC. Well now, for the next three or four years, there are high level prospects that are in the state of South Carolina that will serve the University of South Carolina really, really well from a basketball standpoint if Frank is able to land several of those prospects.


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June 25, 2014

Starting Five with Marcus Stroman south carolina athletics media relations

COLUMBIA, S.C. - South Carolina incoming freshman point guard Marcus Stroman sat down with GamecocksOnline. com for their web series, “Starting Five With Marcus Stroman.” The series will highlight a different member of the Gamecock men’s basketball team with each edition. Stroman, a native of Columbia, was an allstate honoree his senior season All Gamecock basketball at Keenan coverage sponsored by High Yesterdays School when he averaged 16.8 points and 7.5 assists per game. The newcomer spoke about why he decided to attend school and play basketball for the Gamecocks and how he would describe his style of play.

Q: A native of Columbia, tell us about your decision that your hometown University was the place for you to continue your basketball career and attend school.

A: Definitely when the Gamecocks beat Kentucky when they were number one (Jan. 2010) and then this past March when they beat Kentucky as well. It was great, I got to see everyone storm the court.

A: I wanted my family to be able to see me play and the University is so close to home so they can see me play in all of my games. Being a player for Frank Martin also. He is a great coach and I wanted to play for him.

Q: Do you model your game after a specific professional player(s)?

Q: If you could describe your style of play in three words, what would they be and why? A: Passer, because I love to get my teammates involved in the game; defender, because I love playing defense; and lastly, a leader, because I’m a point guard and I have to be vocal on the court. Q: You’ve been attending South Carolina games for your entire life. Do you have a memorable game or two you have attended?

A: Allen Iverson, he is my favorite player and I model my crossover after him. Chris Paul, because of his leadership and he is vocal on the court and gets his teammates involved. On the defensive side, Rajon Rondo, because he has big hands and long arms like me.

place a deposit for season tickets, fans are encouraged to visit GamecocksOnline. com, or call 1-800-4SC-FANS.

Marcus Stroman (G - 6-2 - 170 Columbia, S.C./Keenan High School) A three-star prospect and the No. 2 recruit overall in the state of South Carolina according to ESPN.com ... Also a threestar prospect according to 247sports.com and Scout.com ... Part of Keenan’s 2009-10 and 2010-11 state championship teams ... Labeled as a true point guard.

Martin on Stroman (from Nov. 2013) “Marcus is a consummate point guard. Q: What type of mindset do you bring He understands the position at his age as to the team this season? well as, if not better, than most. Every time I watch him play, I leave games thinking A: I’m competitive, I have the drive not to quit and I have a very defensive mindset. that the four guys with him are better than they actually are, because he is so good at making others look good. He is an ultraSeason ticket prices remain unchanged competitive, hometown kid, who grew up from the 2013-14 season, with full season a Gamecock fan, and we are extremely packages starting at $90 and the Coke excited to have him become part of our Family sections will continue to be availprogram.” able for the upcoming season as well. To


26 • Spurs & Feathers

June 25, 2014

Gamecock Club Upcoming Events

Submitted photo

Fairfield County supports track & field program By Mike Kucharski mike@spursandfeathers.com The Fairfield County Gamecock Club recently made its annual donation to support the track & field program and looks forward to continuing to support the Gamecocks. “Track & field is our team and we are so happy to have them. Coach (Curtis) Frye is such a nice man and does a great job. He is just as nice as you can be,” board member Jan Schofield said. “We love to do what we can to support them. We are a smaller chapter, but we do everything that we can to help out.” Schofield also said that the chapter members are proud to support the Gamecocks and were very excited to see so many student-athletes represent South Carolina at the NCAA Championships. Fairfield County was able to make a $500 donation to the track & field program. Schofield said that while there are not many active members in the chapter, those that are have great passion. She said that the Fairfield chapter is proud to have such dedicated Gamecocks The Gamecock Club remembers the following members of Gamecock Nation that have recently passed away ... Marjorie Russell Holliday – Mrs. Holliday was born in Florence, SC on July 19, 1920. She attended Queens College and the University of South Carolina from which she received her BA Degree. She was a devoted and supportive wife, a loving mother who taught her children Christian values: the difference in right and wrong, that actions speak louder than words and “to do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” Mrs. Holliday was also a Gamecock fan, and a longtime Gamecock Club member. William “Bill” Russell Shull – Mr. Shull was born January 17, 1932 in West Columbia, he was the son of the late Lawrence Russell Shull and Rae Roland Shull of West Columbia. He was a lifelong resident of the Cayce West Co-

among their ranks and are always looking to grow their membership numbers. The chapter is also planning to make a contribution to the Block C project to help fund the improvements to the outside of Williams-Brice stadium in coordination with all the other chapters. “We want to help support the project to make Williams-Brice an even better place; help to make it more beautiful. Plus we want to make sure that we represent the Fairfield County chapter well in helping with these improvements,” Schofield commented. “Really anything that we can do to support the Gamecocks, we are happy to do it.” The Fairfield County chapter is planning a preseason football kickoff party in early August to get ready for the season. The exact date, time and place have not been set yet, but the meeting will be held most likely a few weeks before the season opener with Texas A&M on August 28. To learn more about the Fairfield County Gamecock Club and keep up with chapter events, you can like them on Facebook.

Edgefield County Gamecock Club Golf Tournament When: June 28, 2014; 8:30 a.m. Where: Pine Ridge Golf Club; 425 Pine Ridge Rd., Edgefield, S.C. 29824 Edgefield County Gamecock Club’s First Annual Golf Tournament; 4-man Captain’s Choice - Pine Ridge Country Club Shotgun start at 8:30 a.m. $200 per team (includes golf and lunch). Contact Don Smoak at 803-275-4605 or Frank Davis at 803-275-7056. Deadline to enter is June 25th. Mail entry forms to: P.O. Box 4, Johnston, SC 29832.

Reserved table (seats 8) on the 2nd row, logo played on the advertisement screen, sponsor name on table, name in the program, thank you gift. Event Sponsor ($100) includes: logo played on the advertisement screen, name in the program, thank you gift. All proceeds benefit the University of South Carolina student-athletes. Email lexgmckclub@ yahoo.com or go to www.eventbrite. com/e/3rd-annual-its-great-to-be-agamecock-preseason-football-kickoffevent-tickets-11864179079 for tickets.

Jacksonville Gamecock Club South Lexington County Third Annual “It’s Carolina-Florida football weekend Great to be a Gamecock” Football When: Nov. 14-15, 2014 Event Where: Jacksonville, Fla. When: July 30, 2014; 5:30-10 p.m. The Jacksonville Gamecock Club inWhere: Columbia Conference Center; vites all Carolina fans to Jacksonville 169 Laurehhurst Ave., Columbia, S.C. to prepare to beat the Gators again! November 14 & 15, 2014. Reserve your bus 29210 tickets and party tickets now! Friday Join us for a special evening to help night party starting at 7 p.m. at Jackraise funds for the University of South sonville Marriott @ Southpoint; cost Carolina student-athletes and celebrate is $20 per person with The Sensational the 2014 Gamecock Football Season! Epics performing. Game day bus ride Enjoy a fun-filled evening complete on Nov. 15 five hours prior to kickoff; with a buffet dinner, our assistant footleaving from Jacksonville Marriott @ ball coaches will speak about the upcoming season, lots of raffle prizes, and Southpoint with a coast of $40 per person, does not include ticket to game. a silent auction. Stay for the “Postgame Hotel accommodations at Jacksonville Show” festivities from 8 p.m.-10 p.m. Marriott @ Southpoint, Gamecock Club for continued socializing and dancrate $79/night. (904) 296-2222. Make ing featuring DJ Troy with CallMyDJ. checks payable to Jacksonville Gamecom (don’t forget your dancin’ shoes!). cock Club, 2948 3rd Street South #328, Cash bar all evening. $30 per ticket for lumbia area. A graduate of Brookland-Cayce Jacksonville Beach, FL 32250-5847. High School, Bill Shull was Student Body Presi- non-reserved seating. Garnet Sponsor Please include email for confirmation. ($500) includes: Reserved table (seats dent, Lettered in football, basketball, baseball Any questions call: Belk Ingram: (904) 8+Coach) on the front row, logo played and track, as well as earned his English Letter. 254-5969, bingram@pbclubrealty.com; on the advertisement screen, sponsor He also played American Legion Baseball. Rod Brace (904) 755-4041, rrbrace@ After graduation from high school, he joined the name on table, name in the program, gmail.com; Dane Hall (904) 591-4877, United States Air Force. His squadron, the 110th one complimentary drink ticket per dhall88@comcast.net; Rick Williamson from McEntire Air Force Base was deployed to guest, thank you gift, assistant football (904) 699-7952, rwilliamson1301@yaGermany. Mr. Shull was a longtime Gamecock coach will dine with you (upon availhoo.com. ability). Black Sponsor ($400) includes: Club member. John Baker Allen Jr. – Mr. Allen was a 1963 graduate of the University of South Carolina To keep up with all Gamecock Club events and South and a 1972 graduate of the USC School of Law where he was a member of the Wig and Robe Carolina Athletics, please visit www.spursandfeathers. and served as Business Manager of the S.C. com and check under the calendar section. Also, visit daily Law Review. He was an employee of S.C. Farm Bureau until he opened his own law practice in for news and notes from around Gamecock Nation and the Lower Richland area in 1973. Mr. Allen was coverage of all things Gamecock. also a Gamecock fan, as well as a Gamecock Club member.


Spurs & Feathers • 27

June 25, 2014

Gamecocks continue to soar in the classroom south carolina athletics media relations The 2013-14 academic year continued a remarkable streak for South Carolina Athletics with a departmental GPA over 3.0 for the 15th-consecutive semester. While having a successful season athletically, the Gamecocks also achieved high marks in the classroom, following up a 3.161 GPA during the fall with a 3.222 mark for the spring semester. “Achieving success in the classroom and your sport go hand-in-hand,” Maria Hickman, associate athletics director for academics/ student development, said. “It is an incredible achievement, and one that we will continue to stress. Our student-athletes work hard, and our coaches and Dodie academic staff are a key factor in our success. I want to thank them all for the passion and time they give our studentathletes.” More than 300 student-athletes earned GPAs above 3.0 for the spring with 59 of them posting a 4.0 GPA to earn spots on the President’s List. Women’s tennis earned the highest GPA

of all teams for both semesters, recording a 3.619 in the fall and 3.656 in the spring. Both men’s and women’s basketball recorded GPAs above 3.0, while football posted over a 2.8 GPA. Spring 2014 Team GPAs Baseball 2.807 Men’s Basketball 3.217 Women’s Basketball 3.185 Equestrian 3.391 Football 2.844 Men’s Golf 3.564 Women’s Golf 3.473 Sand Volleyball 3.138 photo/RECAP by brian hand Men’s Soccer 3.388 Women’s Soccer 3.561 Augusta Area Gamecock Club President Tom Rogers (left) recently presented a $1,500 Softball 3.109 check to Gamecock Club Executive Director Patrick McFarland. The $1,500 donation Men’s Swim/Dive 3.343 from the Augusta Gamecock Club chapter donated on May 2 is in support of the South Women’s Swim/Dive 3.561 Carolina cheerleading program. The funds come from proceeds that the Augusta Men’s Tennis 3.327 Gamecock Club chapter receives as one of the sponsors of the Border Bash in Augusta Men’s Track and Field 3.066 just prior to the annual South Carolina-Georgia football game. Rogers said that the Women’s Track and Field/Cross Country Augusta Gamecock Club is incredibly appreciative of the efforts of South Carolina 3.436 head cheerleading coach/spirit coordinator Erika Goodwin as she brings her squad Volleyball 3.372 along with Cocky every year to the Border Bash.


28 • Spurs & Feathers

June 25, 2014

Florence County Gamecock Club hosts SeventhAnnual William Rhea Memorial Golf Outing by mike kucharski mike@spursandfeathers.com

bilia and sideline passes for a football game that sat at the turn and were bid on throughout the day and closed 30 minutes after play The Florence County Gamecock Club suc- was done. Scaturro said that over $1,000 cessfully hosted its Seventh-Annual Wilcame from the silent auction alone. liam Rhea Memorial Golf Outing on June 2 “We had a lot of fun out there and had and it turned out to be the largest turnout in some coaches along again. It was June 2 in the history of the event. Florence, S.C. at about 80 degrees with no “We had the most successful and biggest humidity. That just doesn’t happen. So we tournament that we’ve ever had this year. had a great day with weather and I think We completely filled it up and had 28 teams that everyone had a really good time out out there playing. It was really, really good,” there,” Scaturro commented. chapter president Michael “Scat” Scaturro The Florence County chapter will make its said. “It’s going to be the biggest contribupresentation of funds to the Block C project tion that we’ve been able to make in the and the cheerleading team on August 21 at seven-year history of the event thanks to our its Football Kickoff Luncheon. Also at the gracious sponsors and participants. luncheon special guest Tony Morrell will “Coach Tanner challenged each chapter talk about the upcoming Gamecock football to contribute to the new Block C project (at season. Williams-Brice Stadium) and set a collecThe Football Kickoff Luncheon at the tive goal of $50,000. Florence is going to Floyd Conference Center in Florence, S.C. donate $10,000. We will also contribute to is the next event on the chapter’s calendar the cheerleading squad once again. It was and will begin at 12 p.m. to be catered by really, really successful for us this year,” Roger’s Bar-B-Q House of Florence. Tickets submitted photo Scaturro added. are $20 for the event. For more information This year’s tournament also featured a si- about the Florence County Gamecock Club Pictured is the winning team from the Seventh-Annual William Rhea Memorial Golf Tournament: Quinten Yarborough, Paul Grich, Luke Coates. Not pictured: Tommy Stokes. lent auction with some Gamecock memora- you can like them on Facebook.

Beaufort County Gamecock Club holds most successful Gamecock Classic Golf Tournament by mike kucharski mike@spursandfeathers.com The Beaufort County Gamecock Club held its most successful Gamecock Classic Golf Tournament on June 14 with over 130 participants. The tournament was held at Sanctuary Golf Club at Cat Island and sponsored by Dupriest Construction Co. With the great turnout for the tournament, a new format with groups of eight rather than foursomes was enacted by tournament coordinator Linda McCarty. Her husband and participant, Belton, said that it made for great camaraderie and fun out on the course with the bigger groups. “It was great … we had great weather, great attendance, a great meal afterward with trophy presentations and raffle prizes. Wayne Hiott and Jay Brown came from the Gamecock Club and also played in the tournament and we had a great time with them as well,” McCarty said.

submitted photo

Pictured are Belton McCarty (left) and Gary Horn (right) from the first place team in the Gamecock Classic Golf Tournament. Not pictured are Thad Vincent and Phil Kelly. The Beaufort County chapter raised $5,000 from the annual golf tournament and will donate $2,000 to the Block C project for Williams-Brice Stadium and $3,000 to the studentathletes’ scholarships. The chapter has donated

$5,000 in proceeds from the golf tournament for each of the past five years as well. For more information on the Beaufort County Gamecock Club, you can join their group on Facebook.


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June 25, 2014

photo by Brian hand

Moritz, Gamecocks thankful for opportunities in year one by mike kucharksi mike@spursandfeathers.com

and off the courts and to find a place in the landscape of Gamecock athletics. “What we’re working to build consistent with Gamecock sand volleyball head coach Moritz the athletic department and the University is Moritz enjoyed support for the program as they that we want to compete for championships, navigated year one of the newest sport at South but we also want to represent South Carolina to Carolina. the best of our ability. We’re so happy to be able “I think from day one, it wouldn’t be an exag- to wear it on our uniforms and represent it on geration to say that this was (Athletics Director) a daily basis,” Moritz commented. “To be able coach (Ray) Tanner’s and (Senior Associate to do that in any way is huge … the fact that AD) Judy’s (Van Horn) baby. They’re the inspi- these kids can get recognized walking down the ration for the addition to the program,” Moritz street and hear excitement is great. said. “Top-to-bottom, everybody in the admin“Obviously, there is some ‘year one’ exciteistration and ment, but we want to translate that into every every deyear. We’re going to host more, we’re going partment … to continue to play high-level competition and has helped we’re going to continue to improve. We want us. It’s the southeast to really become a hub of beach been such volleyball players, fans and aficionados,” Moritz a dynamic expounded. All Gamecock process, a Part of the excitement around the newest sport sand volleyball coverage learning was credited to the community and the media sponsored by process for buying into the “beach volleyball experience” everybody, James W. Smith Real Estate Co. and helping to spread the word. but there has “I think to have Spurs & Feathers, the coverbeen so much passion. age on TV and in the other papers is just an “It’s something that we always see in the way amazing avenue for us to share what we’re the community and administration support all fortunate enough to experience on a daily of the programs here. We’re over the moon for basis … I love that the whole year has been how much support we get and how fun it has chronicled; it has been huge for us as a program been for everybody to see the growth of the pro- to continue to build momentum and bring light gram,” Moritz continued. to our program … maybe it jogs some other Moritz explained that the goals for the promedia and brings light to us showing that it’s gram are to represent South Carolina well on something that is fun, competitive and really a

great experience for everyone involved,” Moritz explained. Throughout the year, Moritz talked of blending cultures together to make something new that fans will enjoy at South Carolina and he has been happy with the excitement around the inaugural season. “Really all of this has been about how we can integrate beach volleyball culture with SEC culture. Obviously the resources and support we have enable us to do things that some other programs can’t. Still at the heart is the fun and nature of beach volleyball,” Moritz remarked. “For our players, they’re so excited for the potential growth and to grow the sport. Boosters, community support, student support and student-athlete support have been huge … that’s what we want to do, we want to have that reach in the community, whatever subset of community it is.” Moritz credits the student-athletes for the great experience of the year, but he knows that the dedication must continue as the program grows and develops after year one. “We’ve got a lot of work to do. We’ve got a long way to go. It’s not only about the results on the scoreboard, but that’s a big piece of it … but without the support that we got from upstairs, without the hard work that we got from every support avenue - Spurs & Feathers, academics, administration, just everybody - and without the hard work of these kids we wouldn’t be here. That’s the foundation of this whole thing and it’s pretty cool to be a part of it,” Moritz concluded.


30 • Spurs & Feathers

June 25, 2014

Sterling Sharpe named to College Football Hall of Fame south carolina athletics media relations

retirement. A member of the South Carolina Athletics Hall of Fame, the Glennville, Ga., native had Former University of South Carolina stand- his number retired by the University at the out wide receiver Sterling Sharpe is one of 14 end of his collegiate career. A member of the players selected to the 2014 College Football Green Bay Packers Hall of Fame, Sharpe curHall of Fame Class, it was announced by the rently serves as a studio analyst for the NFL National Football Foundation & College Hall Network. of Fame. “We are extremely proud to announce the Regarded as the greatest receiver in South 2014 College Football Hall of Fame Class,” Carolina history, Sterling Sharpe set virtually said Archie Manning, NFF Chairman and all of the school’s receiving records during a 1989 College Football Hall of Famer from his All-American career in Columbia. He be- Ole Miss. “Each of these men has established comes the second Gamecock to be inducted himself among the absolute best to have ever into the College Football Hall of Fame. played the game, and we look forward to imA first-team All-America selection in 1987, mortalizing their incredible accomplishments Sharpe twice earned first-team all-conferat the new Hall of Fame in Atlanta as an inence honors while setting school records for spiration to future generations.” single-season receptions (74), career recepThe 2014 College Football Hall of Fame tions (169), single-season receiving yards Class will be inducted together at the 57th (1,106) and career receiving yards (2,497). He NFF Annual Awards Dinner on Dec. 9, 2014, caught at least one reception in a record 34 at the Waldorf Astoria in New York City. The consecutive games, and he notched 10 games inductees will also be honored at the National of 100-plus yards receiving. Sharpe holds Hall of Fame Salute at the Allstate Sugar the school record for the longest play of any Bowl in New Orleans on Jan. 1, 2015, and kind, a 100-yard kickoff return for a touchthey will be recognized at their respective down against Duke in 1985. He led the team collegiate institutions with on-campus salutes in receiving for three seasons, and he helped during the fall. Their accomplishments will the Gamecocks to a berth in the 1987 Gator be forever immortalized in the new $66.5 Bowl. A team captain his senior season, he million College Football Hall of Fame, curreceived the Enright Award for leadership, rently under construction in Atlanta and and he played in the East-West Shrine Game scheduled to open in August of 2014. and the Senior Bowl. 2014 COLLEGE FOOTBALL HALL OF The seventh overall selection by the Green FAME CLASS Bay Packers in the 1988 NFL Draft, Sharpe PLAYERS played seven seasons for the Packers. The five-time Pro Bowl and All-Pro selection led • DRE BLY – DB, North Carolina (1996the league in receiving three times before his 98)

photo courtesy of south carolina athletics media relations

• TONY BOSELLI – OT, Southern California (1991-94) • DAVE BUTZ – DT, Purdue (1970-72) • SHANE CONLAN – LB, Penn State (1983-86) • JOE HAMILTON – QB, Georgia Tech (1996-99) • JOHN HUARD – LB, Maine (1964-66) • DARRIN NELSON – HB, Stanford (1977-78, 1980-81) • WILLIE ROAF – OL, Louisiana Tech (1990-92) • JOHN SCIARRA – QB, UCLA (1972-75) • STERLING SHARPE – WR, South Carolina (1983, 1985-87) • LEONARD SMITH – CB, McNeese State

(1979-82) • DERRICK THOMAS (deceased) – LB, Alabama (1985-88) • LaDAINIAN TOMLINSON – TB, Texas Christian (1997-00) • WESLEY WALLS – TE, Mississippi (1985-88) COACHES • MIKE BELLOTTI – 137-80-2 (63%); Chico State (Calif.) (1984-88) and Oregon (1995-08) • JERRY MOORE – 242-135-2 (64.1%); North Texas (1979-80), Texas Tech (1981-85) and Appalachian State (1989-12)

2014 Football Mini-Plans announced south carolina athletics media relations

available tickets will go on sale to Gamecock Club members and University faculty and staff beginning August 11, and to the general public on August 18. Neither Texas A&M nor Georgia 2014 South Carolina football mini-plans will single-game tickets will be available for general go on sale July 28 exclusively for Gamecock public buyers. Club members and University of South CaroThe Gamecocks sold out each of their seven lina faculty and staff, the Gamecocks’ Athletics home games in 2013. Carolina has won a Ticket Office announced. school-record 18-consecutive home games, The min-plans will go on sale to the general the longest current home winning streak in the public beginning August 4. country. In a new twist this year, fans will have an opFor more ticket information, including season tion of purchasing either a four-game mini-plan tickets, visit GamecocksOnline.com/Footor a three-game mini-plan. The four-game mini-plan sells for $225 and photo by travis bell/sideline carolina ball2014 or call the South Carolina Athletics Ticket Office at 803-777-4274 or 800-4SCincludes tickets to the East Carolina (September 6), Missouri (September 27), Furman (October (November 22) games. Single-game tickets for the seven home games FANS. All mini-plans and single-game tickets are sold on a first-come, first-serve basis. Visit 18) and Tennessee (November 1) games. The only way fans can be guaranteed tickets at Williams-Brice Stadium are priced as folThe three-game mini-plan sells for just $135 to either the Texas A&M game on August 28 or lowed: Texas A&M ($70), East Carolina ($50), GamecocksOnline.com/GamecockClub for more information on membership benefits or and includes tickets to the Furman (October 18), the Georgia game on September 13 is by purGeorgia ($75), Missouri ($70), Furman ($35), Tennessee (November 1) and South Alabama chasing season tickets. Tennessee ($70) and South Alabama ($30). Any to join.


Spurs & Feathers • 31

June 25, 2014

Unique views sponsored by Unique Expressions

Once the final out was made that Sunday night against Maryland, I was thinking, okay its football season. I suppose all of us were trying to console ourselves from the disappointment. Injuries had taken their toll and pitching depth was in question if we lost a game. Reality was, once we lost to Maryland 4-3 on Saturday night leaving the tying run on third in the ninth it was tough. Win that game and we face most probably Maryland in game two on Sunday with Wil Crowe Ed Girardeau pitching and Contributing their number Editor four pitcher. As it was, the shoe was on the other foot, Crowe pitched a complete-game shutout against Campbell and for the first time this season, Joel Seddon started game two (game four in terms of the regional as a whole).

It did not work out and once again for the first time in quite a while we were left with no Super Regional much less World Series games to keep us entertained. What is a Gamecock fan to do? Well as it turns out there were quite a few alternatives. First up: The World Cup. This has created quite a stir around the Spurs & Feathers office. Fact is Executive Editor Brian Hand was quite the soccer player in his younger days and remains a huge fan. He has guaranteed great excitement. Which quite frankly, the USA’s first game was pretty exciting. However, I have found these gripping battles between Ivory Coast and Japan leaving me wanting more. Thus, so far, I have found the rest lacking, but as long as the US continues to have success, interest will increase. In the meantime, the NBA Finals offered some basketball. The Heat versus the Spurs. Lebron versus Timmy. It started out interesting enough, but after Game two, Miami appeared to be old and tired, getting creamed by San Antonio. That left me turning the channel as The US Open was available. No Tiger, no problem, right? Wrong. What developed was a runaway with Martin Kaymer shooting a record 130 for the first

two rounds and then cruising the final two for an eight-stroke win. No excitement there. Let’s try baseball! The Super Regionals were kind of sad just because, well, we weren’t there. There were some good games but it just couldn’t hold my attention for too long. Highlights on Sportscenter were more than adequate and the World Series hasn’t changed that. Wonder what the Braves are doing. I’m a huge Braves fan, but the team leaves a little to be desired. The strikeout tandem of Upton, much less Uggla and a lack of middle relief make for very inconsistent play and are just too frustrating to watch. So what else is left? I watched the replay of the Clemson football game and the bowl win over Wisconsin. Actually, this was much more exciting than any of the alternatives. I’ll have to get a replay of the Missouri game and I’ll be set. Maybe even watch the Georgia game from 2012, much less the win at Clemson that year. Those two never get old. The reality is football can’t get here quick enough. It will be here before we know it, with SEC Media Days in July. We’ll all be together August 28 for Texas A&M. Until

Round-up, cont. from page 14

State for the Seminoles’ spring game. DL DJ Jones of East Mississippi JC and Wren High School has Tennessee as his current leader. “It’s because of the long term relationship I’ve developed with their coaching staff,” Jones said. “They’ve been with me since high school. They’ve stuck with me. But they’re not pulling away. I’m just making that list.” Alabama is second on his updated top ten list followed by Clemson, USC, Auburn, Southern Cal, Florida State, Ole Miss, Florida and Georgia. Jones said all ten schools remain in the running. Jones visited USC and Clemson while home last month and probably will revisit when he returns home for July 4th. He visited Southern Cal over the weekend. Jones said he will take all of his official visits and right now four of those will be to Tennessee, Florida State, Auburn and Southern Cal. DB Rashard Causey of Fort Lauderdale has been committed to Florida Atlantic since April but that hasn’t stopped bigger programs from continuing to recruit him. That includes USC. “My options are all the way open,” Causey said. “I’ll have a top five in a week or so. I’m still looking at South Carolina, Miami, Clemson, Notre Dame, Wisconsin and North Carolina.” Causey has visited Miami and he will also visit Florida State. He talked recently with USC recruiter Grady Brown and continues to get positive vibes from him. “They want me really bad,” Causey said. “He’s wait-

ing on me. It’s up to me to tell him I’m committing. He says I’m one of the top cornerbacks he wants in his class.” Causey said there’s a 50-50 chance of him flipping his commitment with USC and Miami the top possibilities. “I like everything,” he said about USC. “The coaching staff, the academics. It’s one of the places I have a good chance of going to.” Causey said he’ll make a final decision in August or September. Two of New Jersey’s top prospects, LB Manny Bowmen and WR Irvin Charles, camped at USC at the end of last week and both have the Gamecocks among their favorites. DB Micah Abernathy of Norcross, GA also camped at USC last week. He also wants to visit Georgia, Ohio State, Notre Dame and Penn State this summer. DB Jalen Thompson of Mobile, AL will make an unofficial visit to USC Thursday and RB Ty’Son Williams is scheduled to visit on Friday. 2014 signee DE Jhaustin Thomas of Trinity JC, TX has failed for a second time to make the grades to be able to enroll at USC but LB/FB Joe Blue of Dillon has qualified according to his coach and will enroll for the second session of summer school.

off of it so he will return with his parents for a weekend visit. And the chance of a commitment to the Gamecocks hangs over the visit. “It went great, it went great,” Arnette said of his camp workout. “I wasn’t there as long as I wanted to be because of my flight so that’s why I’m going back up there next week. I called them (his parents) when I got there and told them I liked it.” Arnette said because of the camp he didn’t get a chance to talk one on one with Steve Spurrier but that’s something he plans to do this week. And he didn’t rule out the possibility of a commitment, something some observers thought would happen on this first visit. He is also considering Kentucky and Ohio State. He has visited Lexington and plans to get to Columbus July 26th. “I wouldn’t say I have any leaders yet,” Arnette said. “I’d like to take a trip to all the schools before I made a top three. If one stands out the most and I feel like that’s where I want to go, I wouldn’t have a leader. I would just commit right away. Kentucky, I’ve seen more of the school because I was there longer. That’s why I need to give South Carolina another chance. That’s why I’m going back up there to see more of the school because I was at Kentucky longer than I was at South Carolina.” Some of Arnette’s other offers include Florida State, Indiana, Ole Miss, Duke, Louisville, Cincinnati and Wisconsin. He visited Florida

Baseball News:

USC signee RHP Brandon Murray, who was a 30th round pick of the Phillies, an-

photo by allen sharpe

Wil Crowe hurled a complete-game gem in South Carolina’s second game of the NCAA regionals against Campbell on Sunday, June 1, 2014 at Carolina Stadium. then, hang in there, have a great summer and stay cool. It’s a great time to look forward to the seeing the Gamecocks back in action! nounced night he will join the Gamecocks’ program. “I will officially be honoring my commitment to play baseball for the University of South Carolina,” Murray tweeted. Murray was one of two Gamecock signees to be drafted. The other, INF Madison Stokes of AC Flora, was a 40th round pick by the Yankees and has already said he will enroll in school. Catch Kornblut every night on SportsTalk and get more of his statewide recruiting news at SportsTalkSC.com and on Twitter @SportsTalkSC.


32 • Spurs & Feathers

June 25, 2014


Spurs & Feathers 625