Sindarius signs off with legendary March Madness play and heartfelt Instagram post
Welcome to SEC Country’s Chicken & Waffles, your daily dish for all things South Carolina Gamecocks football, basketball and more. Miss a previous edition? Find every edition of SEC Country’s South Carolina Gamecocks Chicken & Waffles right here.
Sindarius Thornwell offered a touching farewell to South Carolina fans on Monday …
Thank you to the University of South Carolina for not only allowing me to represent this University but for allowing to grow as a person. Thank for sticking with me through the mistakes and and helping me grow and learn from them. Thank you to all of Gamecocknation for the tremendous amount for support you have given me these last 4 years. Thank you to my city/town Lancaster, SC for supporting me through it all and believing in me before anybody believed in me. Thank you Coach Frank Martin for being a positive role model in my life and teaching me how to be and man and take difficult moments head on instead of running away from them and for that I will forever love you. Thank you to my teammates over the last 4 years coming in everyday motivating me and pushing me and helping me get better you guys will forever have a brother in me. All of you have helped me and prepared me for my next chapter in life. With that being said, Sin City out !!! #Securethebag
For all his contributions on the court (SEC Player of the Year, leading the team to the Final Four), it’s his actions off of it, like the Instagram post, that have already made him a South Carolina basketball luminary.
Being a 4-star prospect from the Palmetto State immediately made Thornwell a fan favorite, but at the end of his four years on campus, the Lancaster, S.C., product became arguably the greatest player in Gamecocks basketball history.
“But for as good as he was in the regular season, Thornwell saved his best for last, as he was arguably the best player in the NCAA Tournament through at least the first two rounds,” wrote Joe Clarkin. “Without his incredible stretch of play, there is little chance the Gamecocks would have made it to their first Final Four in school history.”
Thornwell’s play in the 2017 NCAA Tournament will be discussed by South Carolina fans for years to come, but in the short term, I can’t wait to see the man they call “Sin City” on an NBA court.
A champion’s welcome
The Lady Gamecocks arrived home to Columbia in style on Monday after winning their first national championship …
— ColumbiaAirportSC (@CAE_ColumbiaSC) April 3, 2017
The celebration will go far beyond Columbia Airport, with a championship parade planned for this coming Sunday.
— Steve Benjamin (@SteveBenjaminSC) April 3, 2017
Shout-out from The King
The national champion Lady Gamecocks caught the eye of reigning NBA Finals MVP LeBron James …
Congrats to @dawnstaley and the South Carolina women's squad on the chip! I just woke up from a nap and dreamed I was……
— LeBron James (@KingJames) April 3, 2017
congratulating u guys face to face on campus! Crazy cause it felt so real! Anyways what a unbelievable season!! #StriveForGreatness?
— LeBron James (@KingJames) April 3, 2017
Led by charismatic USA basketball legend Dawn Staley, the Gamecocks have caught the eye of several celebrities and basketball luminaries in their run to the national championship.
Coates unhappy with ESPN
Despite her team winning a national title on Sunday night, Gamecocks center Alaina Coates had plenty of reason to be upset.
The injured senior was rightfully upset with ESPN commentators questioning her absence in support of teammates …
I know I'm supposed to wait until the season is over but this needs to be addressed…I CAN'T TRAVEL BECAUSE THE MEDICAL STAFF SAID SO
— Lay Lay (@Aye_itslaylay) April 2, 2017
Coates played a major role in the Gamecocks’ regular-season SEC crown, but was unfortunately injured in the team’s run in the conference tournament.
Gamecocks assistant takes head coaching gig
As was rumored last week, former Gamecocks assistant Matt Figger is leaving USC to take the head coach position at Austin Peay.
— APSU Athletics (@letsgopeay) April 3, 2017
Figger spent the past 10 years with Frank Martin, joining him first at Kansas State and spending the last five with him in Columbia.
Big league Gamecocks
Baseball season is underway and several former Gamecocks have made their way to the big league roster, highlighted by Boston Red Sox OF Jackie Bradley Jr. …
“After having a breakout campaign in 2016 that saw him hit .267 with 26 homers and 87 RBI, Jackie Bradley Jr. is back patrolling center field for the defending AL East champion Boston Red Sox,” wrote Hale McGranahan. “Meanwhile, Sam Dyson (38 saves in 2016) is back as closer for the Texas Rangers, who won the AL West last season.”
Several more former USC players find themselves assigned to Triple-A and Double-A teams, with a call-up potentially just around the corner.
Another graduate transfer?
With the Gamecocks reportedly in the mix for Duke graduate transfer QB Thomas Sirk, could USC go back to the “free agent” well for defensive line help?
South Carolina has offered former Minnesota DE Gaelin Elmore.
“I really fit what they do and what they want in their defensive ends,” Elmore said, when asked what coach Will Muschamp had to say.
“They’re going to recruit me as hard as possible to get me down there and (he) just kind of showed me how I fit into their program and what they have now. It was a good conversation.”