Is South Carolina Making a Play for Frank Martin?

Maybe it's just a rumor, but I'll have to admit I'm intrigued:

The Frank Martin to South Carolina rumors are really heating up. According to sources, Martin may have already been in contact with USC officials. South Carolina native Gregg Marshall was believed to be the #1 target, but he may have priced himself out of the game. Marshall reportedly wants a 7-year $2.5 million deal.

Frankly (pun intended), I'm more partial to Martin anyways. Why? Well, most importantly, Martin is a proven winner at a BCS-level program. He has had his Kansas St. Wildcats in the mix on the national stage for the last few years, leading the Wildcats to their first NCAA tournament in a decade in his first season (2007-2008) and winning Big 12 Coach of the Year and making the Elite Eight in 2010. He had another good team this past season.

Martin honed his coaching chops under Bob Huggins. Say what you want about Huggins drinking habits, but the guy can coach and works the recruiting circuit as well as anyone in the business. If not for the perceived character issues, he'd likely be situated at an elite program winning national championships. As it is, he has a history of building programs at mid-majors and marginal BCS-level programs. He obviously taught Martin his recruiting chops, as Martin has been very successful in bringing talent to the Little Apple. In his first year, it was easy to argue that his success owed to inheriting some of the players Huggins brought in. Now, the team is his, and it's still stacked. And if you can get talent to come to Manhattan, KS, you can get it to come to Columbia, SC.

Martin, also, gives us the opportunity to hire a minority (he's a second-generation Cuban immigrant), which would be a socially-conscious move, not to mention good for PR. And African-American candidate would be much better for this purpose, but you have to admit that Martin is more attractive results-wise than Tommy Ammaker.

The only things I see arguing against him are that he's arguably (1) not terribly experienced as a head coach and (2) crazy. On the first note, I say five years in the Big 12 with postseason berths every year and NCAA berths all but one is enough experience for me; those are much better postseason outcomes than Darrin Horn had, and Martin got them while playing teams like Kansas and Texas. On the second note, I say, sure, he acts like a wild man on the sidelines, but see what his players say about him in a revealing article:

"At first, it’s going to be tough,’’ junior forward Jordan Henriquez said. "But as long as you adjust to Frank and you listen to him and he trusts you, you’ll be all right.’’

The way to handle Martin? "Doing things the right way,’’ Henriquez said.

"He’s a motivational guy,’’ Henriquez added. "However way he does it, whether it’s in an aggressive way or in a passionate way, we know he doesn’t mean any harm, he’s just trying to motivate us.’’

The results speak volumes. It should be noted that two of the best coaches of all time (possibly the two best, period), Bobby Knight and his protege Mike Krzyzewski, are renowned tough guys. No, I don't want someone to come in throwing chairs across the court. I do, though, love the idea of having an intense coach who demands discipline--"Doing things the right way"--from his players. We could have used a bit more of that over the past two years.

What's not to like?

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