21 Mar Jonathan Cartu Said: South Carolina basketball: Martin on tight scholarships
South Carolina’s men’s basketball program has what looks like a tight situation scholarship-wise.
Two seniors are departing the 2019-20 roster, barring something dramatic from the NCAA after the coronavirus outbreak. Two freshmen in Ja’Von Benson and Patrick Iriel have signed, and there was a plan in place for North Carolina transfer Seventh Woods to go on scholarship after being a walk-on as part of last year’s full roster.
So that would put the Gamecocks at 14 scholarship players, one over the limit.
Gamecocks coach Frank Martin said during an appearance on Sports Talk he and his staff have a plan for that situation, but he said he will not make it public at this point. He did make something clear about what he expects from the roster attrition side of things.
“Do I expect transfers right now? No,” Martin said. “Have I had conversation with players about them leaving? No. Do I think someone is leaving? I have no idea. I haven’t had end-of-year meetings with players, so I would not be prepared to answer that question since the season ended.”
In terms of where a scholarship could come open, guard A.J. Lawson is still weighing his NBA options, though he did not have the sophomore season jump many expected. The Gamecocks have also averaged across the past three seasons more than three departures per year from scholarship players with eligibility remaining, most of them transfers.
Martin or his staff had also reportedly reached out to several transfers or grad transfers on the market currently. Martin described that as due diligence in a world where everything is fluid.
“There’s so much unknown in today’s spring of college basketball that you’re doing yourself a disservice if you don’t continue to recruit,” Martin said. “I didn’t expect Jason Cudd and Felipe Haase to transfer last year. My end of year meetings with them were great, they were positive. We were excited. I was excited. They were excited. As they went into the spring, they both changed their minds. Now, you’re scrambling to have to go recruit.
“Luckily, we had been recruiting Jalyn McCreary, so that one was resolved rather quickly as soon as Jason Cudd made his decision. That part of it, it’s a pretty simple answer. It’s a pretty simple answer, it’s just the landscape we’re in right now.”