Frank Martin wasnt keen on hanging around Columbia following that stinker of a week when USC was blown out at St. Johns and throttled at home by rival Clemson.
I probably was ready to go on vacation to be honest with you, Martin said Tuesday. Like disappear in the Caribbean somewhere and become a bartender.
Martin later waxed eloquent on life behind the bar, 70 pounds heavier and wearing a Hawaiian shirt, something Tony Soprano might wear.
But thankfully, there was that 91-74 victory against Jacksonville on Dec. 9. That allowed Martin to stay put as the Gamecocks attended to their final exams this past week, and it has him eager to see the teams progress Wednesday against Appalachian State.
After the way we played against Jacksonville, I would have like to have played the next day, Martin said.
The Mountaineers (2-7) would not appear to offer much of a threat to the Gamecocks (6-3), but Martin cautioned against overlooking Appalachian State.
If you sit there and look at their record, you probably say, eh, Martin said. You actually watch them on film and study them a little bit, you step away and say, Wow, theyre good.
I think thats a team by the end of the year can become a real good basketball team.
The Mountaineers snapped a seven-game losing streak Monday with an 81-71 win at Missouri-Kansas City. They were aided by the return of sophomore point guard Mike Neal.
He (Neal) didnt do much from a statistical standpoint, but all the sudden, the team scored 81 points (and) they didnt have the turnovers they had early in the year, Martin said.
USC, it appears, will benefit from one last appearance by Bruce Ellington. The junior guard returned to the football team for Outback Bowl practice, but received the OK from Steve Spurrier to play Wednesday.
Bruce cares so much. I didnt understand this a month ago because I wasnt around him every day, Martin said. Bruce cares so much about what he does that he invests himself. When you have a player that invests himself, as a coach, you trust him.
I understand why coach Spurrier trusts him. He just wanted to play. It says a lot about coach Spurrier. Hes so unselfish. It would be really easy to say absolutely not because theyve got a huge game coming up.
Ellington will miss the teams trip to Manhattan on Saturday and the Presbyterian College home date on Dec. 29. He will be back for the S.C. State game on Jan. 5.
In the meantime, the Gamecocks will play and practice without having to worry about school work until classes begin again Jan. 14. And thanks to that Jacksonville win, Martin is looking forward to it.
The great thing is, now school is over, we can practice 14 hours a day and no one can get mad, Martin said jokingly.
GAMECOCKS VS. MOUNTAINEERS
WHO: USC (6-3) vs. Appalachian State (2-7)
WHEN: 5 p.m. Wednesday
WHERE: Colonial Life Arena
TV: Fox Sports Carolinas
RADIO: WNKT 107.5 FM
SERIES: USC leads 3-0
COACHES: Frank Martin (6-3 in first season at USC, 123-57 in sixth season); Jason Capel (31-40 in third season at ASU)
WHAT TO WATCH FOR: USC is coming off a 91-point performance against Jacksonville, the most points scored by the Gamecocks since scoring 91 against S.C. State on Jan. 4, 2011. USCs plus-10.8 rebounding margin is 11th nationally. ASU beat a Division-I opponent for the first time this season Monday, winning at UMKC, 81-71. ASU sophomore Jay Canty has five 20-point games this season, including 29 against Missouri on Dec. 1.