South Carolina head coach Frank Martin was not happy with his team after the Gamecocks dropped a home game to Arkansas. It was the second straight loss at home, and it caused South Carolina to fall out of a first place tie in the SEC.
Martin wasn't happy with the Gamecocks' attitude and focus, and after the loss to the Razorbacks, he said he knew exactly what he would do to fix the Gamecocks' problem – if he was a player. However, Martin isn't in that position, but it was a clear message to the seniors on the team.
"I think that was just him talking to the leaders," senior Duane Notice said of Martin. "Just letting us know that we have to be a little bit more passionate about getting the young guys to follow suit. Then ourselves, we have to set a good example and get on each other and hold each other accountable."
Over the past couple of days since the Arkansas loss, the upperclassmen have tried several different things to regroup and get things back on track. Notice said that there were several players-only meetings held and both coaches and players are sharing inspirational quotes in text messages.
"We've spoken in our group text about guys doing what they have to do on and off the court to maintain how we were in the beginning of the season," Notice said.
There weren't just a couple of players that spoke as Notice said everyone had an input on the situation.
Martin had a bad feeling about his team heading into this week because of how poorly his guys were practicing. In fact, Martin walked out of a practice for just the second time in his career two days before the Arkansas game.
It's not that Martin didn't care about his guys, he just wanted to make sure he didn't become too negative.
"It was kind of a disappointing feeling because we felt like we let him down," Notice said. "As a team, we tried to stay after it and talk and get some shots up. Hopefully that won't happen again."
Of course, South Carolina's situation is by no means dire. The Gamecocks are still just a game out of first place in the SEC and they are still firmly entrenched in the NCAA Tournament conversation. However, two straight home losses is something the team doesn't want to make a common occurrence.
The Gamecocks next take a trip to a Vanderbilt team that's been up and down this season. No matter how the Commodores are playing, it's a road game that South Carolina needs to perform well in.
"I think we just have to do what we were doing at the beginning of the year, which is guard the three-point line," Notice said. "Vanderbilt likes to shoot threes, so we have to make sure that everyone knows the scouting report."
Notice had a message for all the Gamecock fans out there, and the main point of it was to reiterate that there is still a lot of season left and a lot of chances to do special things this year.
"As a team, we just want to show everyone that we haven't peaked yet," Notice said. "We're still growing and still improving. We haven't played our best basketball yet."
**Story by Kyle Heck/photo by Allen Sharpe**