South Carolina’s Frank Martin admits he did a lousy job as a men’sthis past season. He also believes his track record shows he can turn things around. The Gamecocks finished 6-15, the worst in Martin‘s 14 years of coaching at Kansas State and . The certainly played a role. Martin himself tested positive for COVID-19 twice since May, a more severe illness during South Carolina’s dormant period in January. There were two program shutdowns over 41 days in which the Gamecocks played just twice and did not have a complete protocols.
Martin remains confident he can steady things in the future. He has done it before, he noted, taking ateam last in the Southeastern Conference the year before his arrival in 2013 to the Final Four in 2017. At 18-13, the Gamecocks were on the bubble in 2020 before the pandemic canceled the event. Still, Martin took full blame for the awful season: “I did a poor job leading this year.”
was a different story, as South Carolina never found its footing, and Martin acknowledged he couldn’t help his players get in a rhythm. “We’ve got work to do, man,” he said. “What happened was unacceptable. (But) I think I’m going to bet on myself that I’ll figure this one out.” Martin got some breathing room to make that happen with a two-year contract extension that ties him to the program through the 2024-25 season. There was no raise. If he were let go right now, Martin‘s buyout of $6.5 million would be reduced to zero should the him after two more years.
“Is it the contract I wanted? No,” Martin said. “But if theywant me here, they could’ve fired me.”
Martin said he had lengthy, candid conversations with athletic director Ray Tanner reviewing why thingsthis past season. Tanner was confident Martin had the plan to fix things and recommended the extension to school President Bob Caslen.
“This was a decision I think we collectively made, which was in the best interest of the university,” Caslen said earlier this. Martin will have a different roster to help him get back to winning. Five members of this year’s team, including fourth-year forward Justin Minaya, have .
The Gamecocks have added four transfers, led by 6-foot-3 guard Erik Stevenson, who will join his third Division I school after playing at Wichita State for two seasons and at Washington.
Two starters and double-digit scorers, forward Keyshawn Johnson and point guard Jermaine Cuisnard, are going through theprocess but have not signed with agents. Martin said both have been at and expects them to return. The wait season, 6-foot-6 A.J. Lawson, to decide his will be longer. He averaged 16.6 points a game last season. Because Lawson went through the NBA draft evaluations the previous two seasons, Martin said he doesn’t have the option to return this if he decides to go pro. “He’s being careful,” Martin said.
Martin put no stock in speculation he would beopenings for another job. He said he never went looking to leave instead of using the past month to figure out how to fix what happened this past . “I don’t get caught up in innuendos. I don’t get caught up in false narratives,” he said. “This month has been frustrating for me because I didn’t do my job, not for anything else.”
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