COLUMBIA, S.C.-Martin said although six practices in, he really enjoys his team's progression in the off-season.
"I really like our team," stated Martin. "I like our guys, I liked them before we started practice and a lot of my feel for them is based on how they approached the offseason, and for where we're at has reinforced that for me. Knock on wood, health is always something you don't see coming and have any control over. If that stays on our side, I think it's going to be a fun group of guys to watch play."
Sophomore guard Sindarius Thornwell noted what he learned as a freshman has helped him to get to the next step of the game.
“I learned how to understand the game rather than in high school it was just score, get the ball and go. Now I know how to run offensive plays. Also the conditioning level, I know how to push myself now, whereas last year when I was tired, I was just tired and I wanted to come out of the game,” said Thornwell. “I’m in better shape this year.”
Martin also noted that his team getting in better shape in not just about gaining muscle, but conditioning the body.
“The growth that they show as athletes is phenomenal. The weight room is not just about making muscles grow, the weight room is about conditioning your body to stay healthy and be able to handle things, and here’s the part that no one talk about with the weight room, mentally it gives you strength.”
Sophomore guard Duane Notice took on Martin’s philosophy in the summer to prepare him for the season.
“I just lived in the weight room, just getting more accustomed to my body and just get to that form that I used to be in before I got here, said Notice. “Shedding a few more pounds has helped me be more explosive on the court and that’s the biggest thing I wanted to do this summer. I’m just excited to show everybody what I can do this year.”
Taking senior leadership this year, guard Tyrone Johnson also touched on his individual goals for this season and he exudes them with a little bit of ‘cocky’ confidence.
“I want to be the best player that I can. I want to be the best point guard in the SEC,” stated Johnson. “Those are my goals. I say that with passion, not because I’m back on the floor, but because I take pride in whoever steps in front of me, that I’m better than them, not in a cocky way, but with confidence and the will to believe in myself and believe in the role of being the point guard and the team leader.”
South Carolina will take on its first match-up against Benedict College Sunday, Oct. 26 at 4 p.m. in an exhibition game at Colonial Life Arena.