COLUMBIA, S.C. — There’s at least one thing South Carolina basketball coach Frank Martin doesn’t see eye-to-eye with Hall of Famer Allen Iverson.
Martin loves practice. On Monday morning, he told reporters at Colonial Life Arena that he would practice his team 10 times a day if it was permitted by the NCAA.
Iverson, of course, famously ranted about the importance of practice when he played for the Philadelphia 76ers in the NBA.
“I’ve gotten to the stage in my career where the expectations that are created for a game are not fun,” Martin said. “I love practice. That’s where you get better. You don’t get better in games. You get better in practice. You learn how to prepare in practice.”
Some of that is a result of transitioning from a senior-laden team in 2016-17 to one, a season later, that has five freshmen and three more first-year transfer players.
“Outside of my first couple of years here, my worst record as a head coach was with two first-round NBA picks on my [Kansas State] team,” Martin said, “Because we had nine freshmen, [including] Michael Beasley and Bill Walker.
“[It’s] hard to win with freshmen. It’s not their fault. It’s not that they’re bad guys or they don’t show up and make you miserable. … They just don’t know, so you’ve just got to practice.”
That’s not to suggest his sixth group of Gamecocks doesn’t like to practice. It’s actually quite the contrary.
“This team likes to practice, but we just haven’t had time to practice, so we’ve slipped,” Martin said.
South Carolina (6-2) just finished a six-day stretch that included three games. The Gamecocks went 2-1 during that run, which included a 76-60 loss to Temple in Madison Square Garden in New York.
On Wednesday, four days after a 76-70 win at home over UMass, South Carolina is back in action against Wyoming. Tipoff is set for 7 p.m. ET on SEC Network Plus.