In his weekly press conference Monday, Coach Frank Martin had quite a bit to say. One of the main points he hit on almost immediately was the aspects of negative recruiting and the impact it has on the program, offering his unique perspective as the head coach.
“People paid no attention to South Carolina basketball, so we didn’t have to worry about negative recruiting,” Martin said. “That’s the biggest sin of them all in recruiting. I confront people for negative recruiting.”
Negative recruiting, for those who might have questions, is when a coach purposefully bad-mouths an opposing team on the recruiting trail with the hope of changing the recruits position with the other team. Although used a lot by college football coaches, it is not embraced with the same lassiez-faire attitude in the realm of college basketball, especially with Coach Martin.
“When people negative recruit me, they’re gonna have to face me one on one. Football coaches think it’s funny, and they still hug and kiss after. I never say a word about another school.”
Now that South Carolina basketball is on the rise to national prominence, other coaches are certainly taking notice, specifically on the recruiting trail. The program has come a long way, in terms of attendance at games, recruiting, and a very real chance at a top 6 seed in the NCAA tournament come March. Also, with the improvement and success of reigning SEC player of the week Sindarius Thornwell and sophomore point guard PJ Dozier, NBA talks surrounding the two have certainly started to increase. This would explain the apparent negative recruiting towards South Carolina in light of their increased success in a short period of time, and the big dream most recruits have of playing in the NBA.
“One big thing we’ve experienced is...the NBA is the most overrated pitch of all time. One thing people have said is ‘Frank is a great guy..but nobody goes to see them play,’” Martin said. “We’re 13th in the country in attendance!”
Although negative recruiting can be a potential detriment to the program, the fact that some coaches may potentially engage in it can show the rise of South Carolina’s program, one that could potentially be frightening to other coaches. That being said, other coaches certainly share Coach Martin’s concerns, as it has a negative impact “on my family, my staff, the players of my program.” Since this is one of the first things that Coach Martin brought up at the press conference, the issue must be fresh in his mind.
“I don’t engage in it, I don’t condone it, none of my assistants do it,” Martin said, “and if they do we will have a long conversation about it.”