South Carolina head coach Frank Martin spoke to the media during the Monday SEC teleconference and Gamecock Central was there. Following are the highlights.
Opening statement: We obviously are going to play two road games in a week, which is never fun. That's the beauty of league play. Georgia is playing their tails off right now. (UGA coach) Mark (Fox) has done an unbelievable job with his kids keeping the mindset in the locker room and the kids focused on what matters. He's got them playing real good. The same thing about Missouri. They've been challenged in their non-conference slate and represented our league in a big-time way. Now they're battling and I know they had a tough loss on the road (at Vanderbilt).
Question: What's Georgia done well?
Martin: They've got big, strong guards, they play through their system and they attack you. In games they're in attack mode and they get to the line. Mark has done an unbelievable job; it's not easy to replace a lottery pick (Kentavious Caldwell-Pope). He's done an unbelievable job in staying the course and allowing his team to be successful. Obviously they're starting to find that formula.
Qstn: What about the Bulldogs defensively?
Martin:: They're big, they don't gamble. They don't go for steals. They stay between you and the rim, and anytime you can do that, you have a chance to win.
Qstn: You've ben disappointed in your inside play from your bigs, especially on the defensive rebounding side. Obviously you can't recruit midseason, so how do you get the bigs you have to toughen-up their approach?
Martin: I'm not a big believer that people get tougher. We have to allow maturity to set in and stay patient with them and keep preaching. We let them see themselves on film, some of the plays that they can make but they're not trying to make and hopefully get them to know that.
We need guys to help us. Our guards are battling their tails off. Our bigs did good things for us in non-conference play. Now that we've gotten to conference play they've kind of tailed-off.
Georgia's Mark Fox also spoke about the USC game on the teleconference. Here's what he had to say about the Gamecocks.
Fox: We play South Carolina on Wednesday, a team that probably plays as hard as any team in America. They really get after you. Obviously (USC has) a lot of new faces, a lot of young faces on that team, but Frank's done a great job with them so we'll really have to get geared up to play.
Qstn: What are your impressions of Sindarius Thornwell?
Fox: He's terrific. I told my staff today that he's a better player as a freshman than (No. 8 2013 NBA Draft selection) Kentavious Caldwell-Pope was for us. He's obviously having a really good freshman campaign shooting the three and doing a lot of things for his team. I think he's terrific.
Next up: South Carolina (7-10, 0-4) travels to Athens Wednesday for an 8 p.m. game against Georgia (9-7, 3-1).