Frank Martin exasperated by Gamecocks play in Athens

Jeff Blake-USA TODAY Sports

The coach sounded incredibly frustrated after the Gamecocks disheartening 97-76 loss to Georgia on Wednesday

Frank Martin sounded dejected on Wednesday night, after Carolina fell 97-76 to Georgia.

"I wish we didn't have the new rule, because we'd practice as soon as we got home.  But that probably wouldn't be very healthy.  So, maybe I'll see my kids in the morning and take them to school and get excited about life again, because I'm definitely not excited right now."

From his perspective, if players don't step up and seize the opportunity afforded to them this season, they need to find another place to play basketball.

"We had 2, 3, maybe 4 guys that really tried to play well, but we didn't have enough," Martin said.  "If guys don't want to take advantage of the opportunity they got, that our school is giving them - a scholarship to play basketball - they can play somewhere else.  They don't need to stay in school here."

"They can play somewhere else if they're not excited about coming in and practicing tomorrow.  There's 350 schools in the country, no one forced them to come to school here, they don't have to stay if they're not excited about the chance," said the coach, whose team is now 0-5 in conference play.

Most of Martin's frustrations centered on the disappointing play of his post players, who combined for three points and 22 fouls in 70 minutes of play.  Martin suggested the group couldn't meet even the most modest expectations.

"Maybe we can start getting a defensive rebound on a missed free throw. They don't block shots, they don't score, they don't rebound when it's a live play - maybe we can get them to rebound a missed free throw.  If we can start there, then maybe we can take a step after that."

"You just saw us play triangle-and-two and zone, and all we did was foul.  I don't care what defense you play, I don't care what strategy - whether you're a gap defense, prevent defense, I don't care if you're playing 8 guys against 5 - if the guy guarding the basketball isn't man enough to keep the ball in front of him, it's going to be hard to be any good," Martin added.

"When your front line has more fouls than blocked shots, field goal attempts, or total rebounds combined, then that's a problem, and we've got to fix it."

Despite their relatively superior performance, Martin didn't spare his guards from criticism.

"If you can't guard the basketball, you can't win games."  Martin went on: "You got to have a little substance about you, a little fire in your belly.  Here's the deal - I learned to play football when I was a kid, and then one day a friend of mine said let's go out to the basketball team.  So I went out for my seventh grade team, I'd never touched a ball before then.  I went over there, and I got beat off the dribble, and my seventh-grade coach said 'If you can't guard the ball, you've got no chance to play.'"

Still, Martin believes the team still believes in him.  Whether that belief runs both ways is another question.

They better hope they don't lose me, that's the key point.  If they [do], they won't be here.  I'm really not concerned about losing them; they'd better hope they don't lose me."

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