COLUMBIA, S.C. — Evan Hinson, the basketball player, has more starts than he does as a tight end on the South Carolina football team.
It’s a slim 1-0 advantage, but coach Frank Martin has plenty of time to add to the lead as the Gamecocks head into the meat of their SEC hoops schedule.
Hinson, a 6-foot-4, 240-pound sophomore guard, hasn’t shied away from labeling himself as a glue guy. For him, there’s just one thing on his mind on the hardwood, not to say it’s any different than when he’s in football mode.
“My whole point is winning. I just want to go out there and win. Whatever I can do to help win, I want to do it,” Hinson said. “If [Martin] goes out there, takes me off the bench, I can go in there, help the team win, I’m going to do that.
“If I start, [Martin] wants me to get the team up, inspire the team, I’ll do that, too, so whatever [I have] to do to win, I will.”
In 13 minutes as a starter against Vanderbilt on Saturday night, Hinson scored 6 points and pulled down 2 rebounds, helping South Carolina to SEC win No. 1 of the season.
“He brings an aggression — there’s no other way to word it — that you only get when you put the chin strap on,” Martin said. “I always had football guys on my high school teams, always. They bring aggression that you have to have and he brings it. He brings a certain level of toughness.”
On Monday, a little over 24 hours before South Carolina (10-5, 1-2 SEC) travels to play at Alabama (9-6, 1-2 SEC), Hinson remembered his 4 minutes off the bench against the Tide in the SEC Tournament as a bit of a coming out party, during which he scored 4 points and pulled down 2 rebounds.
“That game was pretty much the first game I got playing time [for] real. The heads, they were just flying. It was a real game,” Hinson said. “That game helped me a lot, just get my confidence.”
About 10 months later, after averaging 1.1 points over eight games as freshman, Hinson is much more comfortable inside the Gamecocks locker room.
“That’s why he was so excited to get out here [after the Outback Bowl],” Martin said. “When you’re exposed to winning, like those guys did in football and exposed to winning, like when we played last year, you tend to like that more than the alternative, and you tend to be more receptive to difficulty and more understanding on how quick that can turn if you don’t pay attention to things.
“Evan has learned that in two years in college.”
South Carolina-Alabama tips off at 7 p.m. ET on SEC Network. Hinson is likely to be in the Gamecocks starting lineup.