Martin speaks on summer recruiting

Frank Martin was on the air with one of the local radio stations recently. He talked about the new changes in summer recruiting for the sport, as well as current players. He also talked about the news of Eric Hyman leaving for Texas A&M and the potential hire of Ray Tanner for Athletic Director.

New South Carolina men's basketball coach Frank Martin took time out of his busy summer schedule to conduct an interview with a local radio station, 107.5 The Game, earlier this week. One of the topics for discussion was the change on summer recruiting this year.

In past seasons the coaches went on two 10-day stretches of evaluating talent and recruiting at various AAU events with seven days off in between. This season the NCAA changed the format to three five-day trips in July with two days off in between. The recruiting cycle starts on Wednesday and ends on Sunday with coaches getting Monday and Tuesday off to spend working out their team already on campus.

"We continue to tinker around with the days and how to do it and how not to do it," Martin said. "The thought process was with summer school and us being allowed to work out our players to have us more on campus, but yet on Wednesday's we're leaving campus. The events that are being run keep kids closer to home so they're not traveling as much over the course of the summer, yet the events start on Wednesday. I don't know if the new formula here will be better or not, we'll find out."

The first week of recruiting began on Wednesday, July 11th, at 5 p.m. and runs until 5:00 p.m. on Sunday, July 15th. The other two trips are July 18th-22nd and July 25th-29th with the same 5 p.m. start and end times.

The other change, which works heavily into the favor of new coaches like Martin, is the new contact policy that also went into effect this year. Beginning June 15th, coaches were able to make unlimited calls and text messages to any recruit who has at least finished his sophomore year of high school. Coaches are also allowed to contact recruits through social media, such as facebook and twitter, as long as it is through private message and not public. Public contact would fall under the policy where institutions are prohibited from publicizing recruits. Those new policies are huge for Martin, who had very little ties to the area when he was hired in March. With the new rules Martin is now able to build relationships with high school recruits.

"Communication is good for everybody," Martin said. "I need to understand the kids better. Allowing people to communicate is the only way to build relationships. You don't build relationships on two visits or two phone calls; you build relationships on numerous conversations and opportunities to meet with one another."

Martin has already hit the ground running since arriving in March, snagging four prospects in less than a week. Guard Thaddeus Hall was the first to commit on April 19th. Four days later Martin received commitments from guard Tarik Phillip and center Laimonas Chatkvevicius. Center Minda Kacinas joined the group on April 24th. The four, particularly the two centers, provide depth at positions that has very little.

"I prefer not to over-recruit a certain position on the team," Martin said. "It's not fair for anyone to go out and have four point guards on the roster or five centers. It's not fair to the kids; it's not fair to the team. You have to understand where you need depth, where you need competition and then go fit in your classes and spots in a way that you have balance, not in just the years that they're in but also how they all mix and match. At the end of the day it's up to us to find the 13 best representatives of who we are, that fit as an athlete so that you can create a scenario that is as healthy as possible for everyone involved."

At the end of the day, it all comes down to player success as the main driving force for Martin.

"We need the kids to have success," Martin said. "The more success that they have the more they'll work, the more committed they'll be to grow. At the end of the day you have to have the right combination and the right mix so that it works for everybody."

As for the current players, Martin has been able to see them work out several times and has come away impressed with the athleticism.

"Team athleticism, I wasn't sure of," Martin said. "I'm not big on watching game film from previous years just because it's a different scenario. We're going to play differently so it's not fair to create judgments on people. I like creating experiences for myself to base a judgment based on our interaction. There's a good work ethic in place. The team athleticism, especially at the guard spot, is something that I'm extremely excited about. It's something that we weren't sure about coming in, but it's something that I feel better about now.

"I'm extremely proud of those guys that chose to stay on board and are going to make this work," he continued. "They're commitment to the University of South Carolina is strong, and their belief in us as a staff to coach them."

Of course the biggest news coming out recently on campus was the news that Athletic Director Eric Hyman leaving Carolina to move back closer to family and take on the Athletic Director job at Texas A&M. Like everyone else, Martin was shocked.

"I was surprised just like everyone else; it caught me off-guard," Martin said. "Eric and I had private conversations before I took the job and since I took the job, and he was someone I was excited about coming to work with and for. He's someone that I couldn't wait to build a program for to make him proud. I was surprised like everyone else, but also understanding. We're all human beings and sometimes we end up having to make choices, and unfortunately in situations like this they have to be selfish because you have to consider family first and foremost."

Ray Tanner, who is expected to be named Athletic Director today, was one of the names that popped up immediately. Though Martin did not know that Tanner would be the next Athletic Director at the time, he gave his opinion on Tanner as the possible candidate.

"Coach Tanner has allowed me in to spend time with him and to engage in conversations with," Martin said. "I became a very big fan of their team, not because they won two consecutive National Championships, but seeing the way that team played tells me that he's an incredible leader of people. He has the ability to convince people to do their jobs. I think Coach Tanner has proven that he can lead as well as anybody out there."

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