Gamecocks Basketball Making Defense Their ID


It seems that the Gamecocks Men’s Basketball team is trying to emulate Frank Martin’s coaching style in the way they play the game this season. Martin is known for his energy, intensity, and a sometimes ‘in your face’ style of coaching. His players are doing their best to bring that approach to the defensive end of the floor.

For a team that has struggled shooting so far, and lost the one pure shooter, Brenton Williams, from last year’s squad, defense is paramount for success. As they continue to find their way on the offensive end, scrappy aggressive defense is becoming the identity of the 2014-15 Gamecocks. Coach Martin mainly employs a physical half court man-to-man defense, while sprinkling in a ¾ court press or a 2+3 zone for short periods throughout games.

So far this team has been successful in stifling opponents, allowing over 70 points only once through seven games. In all four wins this season, Carolina has held their opponents under 36% shooting from the field, and haven’t allowed any team to shoot over 45% in a game thus far. As a product of such good FG defense, rebounding has also been a strong suit of this team. The Gamecocks have held the edge on the boards in all but one game, even though no one player on the team averages more than 6.5 rebounds per game. This shows the entire team’s effort to help on the glass, either closing out good defensive possessions or earning extra opportunities on the offensive end of the floor.

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USC has also showed quick hands to complement its pressure defense early in the year. Currently they are forcing 16 turnovers per contest, with over 8.5 steals and nearly 5 blocks a game. Leading scorer Sindarius Thornwell has struggled with his shooting form, but that has not affected his overall impact, leading the team with just over 2.5 steals per. He is one of five Gamecocks averaging at least 1 steal. From the on ball pressure of the guards, to the rim protection provided by the interior, Coach Martin knows is a total team effort that’s needed to continue his team’s nice defensive start to this campaign.

As this team tries to improve its shot making and continues to search for a scoring groove, it’s good to know it has built a solid defensive foundation to lean on during the season. This will be very important over the next week, as Carolina hosts an explosive Oklahoma State team this Saturday, and follows that up with another home contest against in-state rival Clemson. The Gamecocks hope to extend their two game winning streak and, at 4-3 overall, need to build momentum with only five games left until SEC play starts.