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South Carolina’s tournament run had a big impact on Gamecocks community

GLENDALE, Ariz. – Frank Martin sure gets some original postgame press conference questions.

Earlier this NCAA Tournament, there were headlines for a week about a cub reporter working for Sports Illustrated for Kids, who had the gall to ask Martin a very normal question.

Then on Saturday, after South Carolina’s 77-73 loss to Gonzaga, former NBA player Eddie House, who did not attend the University of South Carolina, offered this:

“I want to say I’m extremely proud of how you guys play as a former player. You guys played the way you’re supposed to play – with heart, with grit, you never quit, your coach never quit. You guys kept fighting. You guys gave me goosebumps. And proud of the way you guys played. Don’t hang your head, man, and you gotta keep pushing and fighting and that’s my statement. I don’t have a question.”

House’s unique question echoed a sentiment that seems to be shared by many regarding the USC team, which is the first from the school in a decade to play in the NCAA Tournament and the first since 1973 to win a game in March Madness.

It’s certainly felt by the coach, who took a long pause when asked about the kids back in South Carolina who idolized the Gamecocks, then choked up while giving this answer:

“There’s something powerful when you impact others and what these kids have done is pretty special,” Martin said.

He added, “There’s a lot of young kids that want to be the next Sindarius Thornwell, Justin McKie, and I don’t get to coach them anymore but they’re a part of my life forever.”

“They’ve impacted our community in an unbelievable way,” Martin also said. “Which is worth so much more than the score of a game.”

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