Glendale, Az. – On the first day of practice for the Final Four on Thursday, the South Carolina men's basketball team was without a pivotal member of the team in practice.
Senior star Sindarius Thornwell remained at the team hotel with what head coach Frank Martin described as a "body temperature."
"He was a little better this morning," Martin relayed. "But I told our trainer, just feed him fluids, do what doctors do and let him rest rather than stress him right now. He's our most intelligent player, and I don't mean to say that (to) demean the other guys. He understands basketball at a high, high level. He doesn't need to be on the practice court to understand what we're doing."
That sounds like it was just a precautionary measure to keep Thornwell back on Thursday, and the consensus is that he'll be ready to return on Friday.
Rakym Felder sat by Thornwell on the plane over to Phoenix, and was more concerned with his snoring rather than how he was feeling.
"He was snoring loud in my ear, and I was like, 'Oh, I can't do this on the way back home,'" Felder joked.
Felder went on to say that he expects Thornwell to be fine, saying "he's a warrior." The other players and Martin aren't worried, either.
Of course, practice on Thursday was a bit different, but the Gamecocks remained focused on the task at hand – preparing for Gonzaga.
"It's a little bit different not having our team leader there, but at the same time everyone did their best," Maik Kotsar said. "We went out to practice to compete and to keep the same intensity, and I think we did a pretty good job."
**Story by Kyle Heck/photo by Jenny Dilworth**