Though the folks in Kansas don’t seem to be taking this one too seriously, people in the Palmetto State are still saying Kansas State’s Frank Martin might just wind up coaching in Columbia next season.
If Carolina lands Martin, you can color us surprised. Martin is coaching in a basketball hotbed right now and making more than $1.5 million per season. That deal runs through 2014-15, but he’s also in line — through contract stipulations — for an extension.
South Carolina’s job has been a Bermuda Triangle for coaches. The SEC is about to become a 14-team league (read: harder to win) while the Big 12 has now become a 10-team conference (read: easier to win). At Kansas State, there’s the shadow of Kansas to live under. At Carolina, Kentucky and Florida are the big dogs.
Add it up and it would probably take a hefty bag of cash — maybe even a Hefty Bag of cash — to lure Martin to Columbia. That or Martin could be hacked off enough at his current school’s decision to suspend a key player for an NCAA tourney game that he’s willing to bolt for any school making an offer. We think that’s doubtful, but we don’t claim to know what goes on behind closed doors in Manhattan, Kansas.
Taking everything into consideration, we’re not saying Martin to Carolina couldn’t happen, but if it does you’ll know that USC’s Hyman will have done some seriously heavy lifting.
South Carolina’s firing of Darrin Horn is currently taking place in Columbia but AD Eric Hyman (at left) has already made it clear why he decided to make a change:
1. Horn’s recruiting wasn’t up to snuff.
2. He failed to develop players.
3. Fans had turned away from the program.
Hyman did, however, credit Horn for improving the program’s academic performance and for keeping his program off the NCAA hit list and his players out of jail.
But, “We have three of our four highly visible programs competing at a high level and we want our men’s basketball program to do the same thing.”
Hyman said that he is in a good position money-wise to make a good hire. He said the new coach’s salary will be market-driven. He also said the pool of candidates will be as wide as possible.
While saying that he wants to find a coach who can recruit and develop players, Hyman also stated that having a connection to the area will matter. Cue more speculation about Wichita State’s Gregg Marshall.
Normally this type of story would go only on our Recruiting Page and not on the front page, but since Darrin Horn’s job security is a major topic this week, we’ll mention it here.
Tyrone Haughton — South Carolina’s lone signee for 2012 — has said that he hopes Horn will be back in Columbia next year. But the 6-9 prospect from Miami has also made it clear he’ll at least give a new coach a chance… if AD Eric Hyman decides to nuke Horn and bring in someone new:
“I hope he’s staying because he’s a good man. I honestly don’t know (what’s going to happen)…
I think I’ll stay with them because I like the town and everything. My (high school) coach said stay with it and meet the new coach, and if you don’t like it, transfer. I plan to enroll and honor my letter of intent.”
Haughton is a three-star forward according to Rivals.com’s rankings.
Looks like we could have dropped another coach’s name into our “patience” post from earlier today. And this one’s smack dab in his very first season.
Tennessee’s Cuonzo Martin — like Darrin Horn at South Carolina and Mark Fox at Georgia — is trying to rebuild a program. Like Horn and Fox he’s trying to do so with a schedule that features two games per year against Kentucky, Florida and Vanderbilt.
Last night, Martin’s Vols got clubbed by cross-state rival Vandy 65-47. It was the latest down in a series of up-and-down efforts from UT. At home, they’ve knocked off Florida, UConn and battled valiantly against top-ranked Kentucky over the past three weeks. On the road, they’re oh-for-the-season.
“You have to be patient. They are getting better and making progress. I don’t get caught up in the final score. We played a physical, experienced team tonight.”
Ya know how to get fans riled up? Have a coach say after an 18-point loss that he doesn’t get caught up in the final score.
As was the case with Fox and Horn, Martin took over a program with a number of issues — few scorers, no true point guard, little experience, in Martin’s case. All deserve time to fix the woes of their programs.
But if Martin is telling people they have to have patience midway through his first year — when his team was already picked to finish 11th in a 12-team conference — it further reveals just how little patience there is to be found around SEC programs these days.
So much for Bradley Beal’s slump. So much for Florida not playing defense. The Gators bounced back from a surprising loss at Tennessee on Saturday with a thorough beatdown of Georgia in Gainesville. The Dawgs have now lost 10 straight at the O’Connell Center.
Beal — the top signee in the country — connected on 4 of 6 shots from 3-point range to tally 17 points. He also added 10 rebounds for his third double-double of the season.
The Bulldogs fell to 0-2 in the SEC, 9-7 overall. For Fox — who was hailed as a savior following his first season in Athens — the natives might soon start to turn restless. The coach went 14-17 in Year One and then led UGA to the NCAA tourney with a 21-12 record last season. But he’s now just 14-20 in SEC play and 18 of those losses occurred with NBA’ers Trey Thompkins and Travis Leslie on his squad (holdovers from the Dennis Felton era).
Fox deserves time to turn around a long-troubled program at Georgia, but dealing with SEC fans we’ve come to know one thing for sure: They have zero patience.
The sands in Darrin Horn’s coaching hourglass continue to run out at South Carolina. Vanderbilt — behind 13 made 3-pointers — opened up a 24-point lead late before allowing the Cocks to notch the game’s final 14 points.
Bruce Ellington had 20 points to lead Carolina, but USC is now just 8-8 overall and 0-2 in the SEC. Granted, they’ve opened against NCAA tourney sure-things Kentucky and Vandy, but blowout home losses like last night’s won’t help Horn keep his job at year’s end.
Meanwhile, after a so-so non-conference start to the season — due in part to injuries — the Commodores are off to a blistering start in league play. Taking into account VU’s 65-35 demolition of Auburn on Saturday, Kevin Stallings’ team has won its first two SEC contests by a combined 40 points. And as we noted above, the score at Carolina could have been worse.
That seems to be the main question following a bizarre press briefing in Columbia, South Carolina today. Rather than taking his normal seat behind the microphone for his weekly meeting with the local media, Steve Spurrier paced back and forth in front of reporters and said he was going to disassociate himself from The State’s lead sports columnist, Ron Morris.
“In 26 years as a head coach I’ve had two guys that didn’t write the truth that I had to disassociate with,” Spurrier said.
He said that he would refuse to take questions as long as Morris was in the press room. When Morris stayed put, Spurrier left to do television interviews. When he returned and found Morris still in attendance, Spurrier wrapped the media session before it started and several beatwriters were ushered to his office instead.
Speaking moments ago with Jay Phillips of WNKT-FM in Columbia, it was made clear to me that Spurrier’s timing caught everyone off guard.
First, a little history:
* All hometown columnists — rightly or wrongly — are lumped into one of two categories: homer or hater. Morris is viewed by many Gamecock fans as belonging to the latter category.
* When Bruce Ellington joined the Carolina football team this spring, Morris wrote that his sources told him that Spurrier had poached the player from Darrin Horn’s basketball team.
* Spurrier has denied those charges as have Horn and Ellington. Today, Spurrier called the Ellington column from this spring “completely fabricated.”
* Following Carolina’s upset loss to Auburn, Morris wrote that Spurrier made “poor decisions” that cost his team.
* On Sunday, his column was titled: “Offense better, but it was against Kentucky.”
The coach said today: “The criticism he shows me is fine, I don’t mind that. I’m just not okay with stories that aren’t true.” Uh, fine, but the story Spurrier claims is untrue was written in the spring. (Morris — for his part — has stood behind the column, though he’s been asked by The State not to comment on Spurrier’s actions today.)
So why bring this back up?
Perhaps because Spurrier has and always will act like a bully. When he’s winning, he’s more likely to throw barbs at others (ask Kentucky fans). And when he’s losing, he pouts, goes quiet and often acts melancholy.
So is it possible Spurrier dug up an old column that’s still under his skin because he’s feeling 10-feet-tall and bulletproof thanks to a 54-3 whooping of a lesser foe on Saturday? And because the same writer continues to fire barbs at him and his offense? If you’ve followed Spurrier’s career, then you know that answer is yes. It’s very possible.
Why else bring this back up now? For those who feel that Spurrier was creating a distraction to focus talk away from Stephen Garcia’s dismissal — which was announced later — we’re not buying.
The Garcia situation is a guaranteed hot topic and no amount of smokescreens can keep that story off the front page. (Click here for proof.) By going after Morris, Spurrier simply created a second controversy for himself.
Below is the video of the coach’s comments:
What a silly way to handle this. Six months after the fact.
Two sophomore guards from the South Carolina basketball team plan to leave Darrin Horn’s program. Ramon Galloway — who started on occasion and averaged about 10 points per game the last two years — and Stephen Spinella — who played in 15 games this season — will not be back in Columbia next season.
“As a staff we wish Ramon and Stephen the best in their futures, both as basketball players and young men,” Horn said. “We’re committed to helping both of them continue their basketball and academic careers. We appreciate what they brought to our program during their time at South Carolina.”
A release today said that Galloway would transfer while Spinella would “seek other opportunities.” Asked after the SEC Tournament if he would be back, Spinella said that he would.
Galloway — it’s rumored — was not thrilled with his role on Horn’s team.