Source: Ellington again will play two sports

Horn speaks to Kentucky paper; Harris transfer buzz still premature

March 24, 2012 

South Carolina Gamecocks wide receiver Bruce Ellington (23) stretches during practice at Celebration High School, Thursday, December 29, 2011.

GERRY MELENDEZ — gmelendez@thestate.com

Bruce Ellington play football and basketball next season at USC, a source close to the two-sport star told The State on Saturday.

Ellington announced on March 12 that would play basketball exclusively next season after splitting his time between football and basketball. But basketball coach Darrin Horn was fired the next day after compiling a 60-63 record in four seasons at USC.

Word soon surfaced after that Ellington was reconsidering his decision to punt his college football career. He met with football coach Steve Spurrier on Monday, and Spurrier told Ellington to take a few days to think about his decision.

Wearing street clothes, Ellington attended Saturday’s USC football scrimmage. Approached afterwards, he said he did not know yet what he planned to do.

But a source familiar with Ellington’s thinking said he already decided to play both sports — in part because of the firing of Horn, the coach who recruited him.

Spurrier hinted Saturday that had a sense about Ellington’s decision. “I think I know what he wants to do, but I was hoping he could tell his basketball coach what he wants to do and me at the same time so we will wait till next week on all on that,” Spurrier said.

South Carolina is continuing its search for a new basketball coach.

Next season, Ellington will be a junior in basketball and a redshirt sophomore in football.

Horn speaks

USC’s former coach said this weekend that he has no regrets about coming to Columbia.

“Nah, I think I made a good decision,” Horn told the Lexington (Ky.) Herald-Leader. “There’s not anything I would do differently, there really isn’t. We just needed to win more games.”

While waiting for his next gig, Horn will appear on ESPNU’s “The Experts” at 1 p.m. Tuesday, the network said.

He said in interviews this weekend that he is open to either taking another head coaching job or an assistant’s seat with a major program. He has not spoken to Columbia-area reporters since his dismissal.

A possible hint of his future came this weekend when he traveled to Atlanta as a guest of Indiana coach Tom Crean, whose Hoosiers were played Kentucky in the NCAA regional semifinals Friday night. Horn was Crean’s assistant for four seasons at Marquette, where they went to a Final Four together.

“Coach (Crean) is very loyal, and I’m one of his guys,” Horn said told the Lexington paper.

Horn is scheduled to receive a $2.4 million buyout on the final three years of his contract with South Carolina. He does not have to repay any of the money if he takes another job.

“Fortunately, I’m in a situation where I don’t have to do anything right now,” Horn said told the Herald-Leader. “Whatever I do, wherever I go, I can tell you my top priority will be picking a program where you can win.”

No transfer for Tre

Damontre Harris’ mother is disputing a tweet from a CBS Sports columnist that her son is believed to be transferring from South Carolina.

Shorhonda Harris said the her son, a 6-foot-9 sophomore forward, will wait to see who is hired to replace Horn before making a decision about his future. She said she did not think he would leave after establishing himself as the team’s main post presence and making friends at the school.

Harris was named to the SEC’s all-defensive team this season after leading the team in rebounds (5.5 per game) and blocks (2.3). He also averaged 6.8 points. The Fayetteville, N.C., native also was recruited by Florida and Maryland.

Staff reporter John Kendall contributed.

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