Frank Martin didn't mince words as he spoke about South Carolina's frustrating 66-62 loss to Tennessee on Tuesday night.
"We continue to slide instead of grow and that's why I've been talking about leadership and focus and energy, and we've had none since we got back from New York. We haven't handled success real good, and unless that changes, we'll continue in the world that we're in right now rather than the world that we were in in December and in the early part of the month. This league is too good."
Martin thought the rigors of the Gamecocks difficult non-conference schedule - which included three games against marquee Big XII opponents as well as one against Clemson - prepared them for SEC play. But to his mind, at this point, the best basketball the Gamecocks have played this season traveled with them to the Empire State and never made its way back down south.
"It's a shame, you deal with November and December and you try to learn lessons so you don't have to get into all these selfish games that we're playing right now within our team in league play, because the teams you play against are too good and you've got no chance to win if you're going to do that. We haven't handled winning the right way. I've tried to stay positive, [but] we've been no good since we got back from New York," Martin said.
"Practice, attention to detail, our enthusiasm, our energy - everything that we worked to create leading up to that game in New York stayed up in Brooklyn."
The third-year head coach found himself acknowledging that he's recognized the problem, but so far, nothing he's tried to do has worked to snap Carolina out of their funk.
I've tried to stay positive, I've tried to figure out a way to get guys to get back into that place that we were at but right now we're depending on selfishness and individual talents for us to win, and obviously you see the result that that's getting us. Unless our players realize that, it's going to be hard to change."