Gamecocks looking for Music City magic

Carolina senior Tre' Kelley sat almost motionless in his chair Tuesday as members of the media surrounded him. For what seemed like an eternity, Kelley said nothing. He just stared at the floor.



After Saturday's loss to Georgia, Kelley commented on the support level at the game and those comments seemed to be construed in a negative light.

Jokingly, a member of the media asked if there was something the All-SEC candidate wanted to get off his chest to start Tuesday's Q&A.

"I think a couple of comments I made after Saturday's game were misunderstood by some people," Kelley said after the room burst into laughter. "Maybe the atmosphere and the mindset of my teammates, people around the program and maybe the fans is that we're useless, or we can't win or we can't do things that were expected before the season."

In light of that attitude, Kelley made his first set of comments Saturday and finished explaining them prior to USC's (12-11, 2-8 SEC) trip to Nashville for Wednesday's game against Vanderbilt (16-8, 6-4 SEC).

"I don't want the mindset of the atmosphere around me to be that way, or around Brandon Wallace to be that way or around Coach Odom to be that way," Kelley said. "Us three guys as a unit, what we've done in for years has been great. And I think that the teammates of mine and fans and the people around the program should have faith in us."

A change in attitude and intensity is what USC coach Dave Odom is looking for from his team as they begin to wind down their regular season. The starting lineup received a slight change this week after a disappointing performance from the team's wing players last week.

"Some of our positions we played about as well as we can," Odom said. "But in certain positions, primarily our wings, we got virtually no performance out of them production wise. We've got to do better than that."

One of those players that Odom hopes to give a shot is freshman guard Brandis Raley-Ross who impressed the coaching staff with his effort against Georgia despite not scoring. He also caught the eye of Odom in the team's Monday practice when Kelley left the court after tweaking his injured knee. Raley-Ross ran the point and showed Odom he was ready to go.

"He got the ultimate compliment from (Devan) Downey, who (doesn't) give them out easily," Odom said. "But he said ‘yeah, he had a good day today.' I felt good about that."

With Raley-Ross assisting Kelley at the point, Odom hopes to take some of the pressure off his starter and allow opportunities to open up for the rest of the team.

"Teams have kind of looked at our team and said Tre' Kelley may get 30, but until those other guys prove they can do it on a night in-night out basis, South Carolina's still going to have a hard time winning," Odom said.

Odom's attitude of believing is one Kelley has easily adopted during his final year.

"I want everyone to believe in us because I think that (Brandon and I are) guys who could definitely encourage this team be a great basketball team at the end of the season," Kelley said.

The Gamecocks will travel to Nashville, TN for a clash with the surprising Vanderbilt Commodores on Wednesday evening. Tipoff is set for 8 p.m. (EST)

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