Coach Frank Martin and the South Carolina Gamecocks took to the floor for the first time as a complete team since the debacle that concluded their season against Mississippi State in the SEC tournament last season, looking to improve on the 14-18 (4-14) mark they achieved their first year under the former Kansas State coach.
Martin doesn't view last season as a failure, as others might. "You might view last season as a struggle, I viewed it as laying a foundation. Some people might say you're team wasn't any good, and I'm going to tell you I thought we were OK. If you want to judge me and my team based on our record, that's fine, you have that prerogative. We laid a foundation for what we're about - it's not about disregarding last year, it's not about disliking last year, it's about embracing last year and continuing to build.
According to Martin the goals for this team in the early going is to get the players to understand what the team wants to do. "This kind of speeds up a little bit now. This isn't as laid back and as slow as the summer maybe, the first 3-4 weeks were."
The initial practices are building off the work done this off-season. "We been throughout the summer and the first 4-5 weeks, whatever it's been, 2 hours a week, trying to teach the parts of the whole, then teach the whole, then connect those parts, and then hopefully a month from now resemble a basketball team."
Ultimately, the Gamecocks hope to find themselves building on the work they put in both last year and in the off-season. Martin once again noted the program faces a long climb from where it started when he arrived. "Listen, when I got hired here, we were in dead last place in this league. We weren't going from last to first in 3 months. It takes work, it takes building, it takes patience, and we're right in the middle of that right now. Last year was a great great thing to be a part of to make us appreciate how much work we have to do and how far we've come already."
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