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Brandon Martin, son of South Carolina coach Frank Martin, to play at USC Upstate

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COLUMBIA, S.C. — Expect South Carolina coach Frank Martin to pay more attention to USC Upstate this fall.

New USC Upstate coach Dave Dickerson has announced his first recruiting class, which includes Martin’s son Brandon.

The younger Martin is a 6-foot-6 forward who averaged 14 points and 10 rebounds per game during his senior year at Cardinal Newman High School. He then played a post-graduate season at St. Thomas More School in Connecticut.

Frank Martin is starting his seventh season coaching the Gamecocks. He has often used his son as an example during talks with the media about the difficulty of connecting with young people.

Dickerson was hired in April to coach the Spartans. He spent seven seasons as an assistant coach at Ohio State under Thad Matta.

South Carolina adds Maine grad-transfer Myers

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South Carolina is adding some immediate help in its follow-up season to a Final Four run.

Wesley Myers, a graduate transfer from Maine, is joining the Gamecocks’ program, according to FanRag Sports’ Jon Rothstein.

The 6-foot-2 guard gives Frank Martin’s team an instant infusion of scoring as they look to replace SEC player of the year Sindarius Thornwell and PJ Dozier. Myers 16.9 points per game last year on 43.7 percent shooting, including a 34.3 percent mark from 3-point range.

He’s the second grad-transfer Martin has picked up this offseason, joining Florida Atlantic’s Frank Booker. The pair should help ease the transition from last year’s success to a much less experienced team that returns just a pair of starters.

Myers, though, doesn’t arrive in Columbia without some notable history.

Last year, after transferring to Maine from Niagara, was suspended after an altercation with a teammate, according to reports. He and teammate Marko Pirovic argued over locker room music, and the alleged ensuing altercation left Pirovic with a broken jaw, according to reports. Three other Maine players were suspended after telling a team athletic trainer that Pirovic had injured himself in a fall in the shower. Pirovic declined to press charges.

Video: Frank Martin’s first pitch misses its mark

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One of the great things about ceremonial first pitches in baseball is it lets teams and communities honor deserving people.

The other great thing is that it often makes people look silly.

We got the best of both worlds Tuesday evening when South Carolina coach Frank Martin tossed out the first pitch at a game of the Class A affiliate of the New York Mets, the Columbia Fireflies.

Martin, who led his Gamecocks to an unlikely Final Four appearance just over a month ago, was, as the saying goes, juuuuuuust a bit outside with that offering to the catcher. He was also just a bit short, too.

Maybe the best part, though, was Martin rotating his shoulder after the wayward pitch, as if it was caused by some random mechanical glitch or a sudden physical issue. Like if one of his players blamed an errant 3-pointer on his hands being sweaty or something.

Martin’s pitch was nowhere near the worst we’ve seen from celebrity guests, but still funny enough that he’s likely to catch some guff from his players – and the Internet – about it.

VIDEO: Frank Martin’s sideline demeanor as a high school coach

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South Carolina coach Frank Martin has the reputation of being rather, shall we say, intense on the sidelines during games.

The coach has a stare that seemingly could bore a hole through his players when they do something that doesn’t reach his level of expectation. Martin’s demeanor, though, didn’t just come into form once he hit the college ranks.

He was plenty intense on high school sidelines as well.

Martin won three titles while at Miami Senior in the mid-1990s, coaching the likes of future pros Steve Blake and Udonis Haslem. Now having reached his first career Final Four, that sideline persona has put him on the precipice of winning yet another championship, this time at the collegiate level.

Frank Martin comments on Sindarius Thornwell suspension

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South Carolina head coach Frank Martin commented on Sindarius Thornwell’s suspension during his call-in show on Thursday.

Thornwell, who was the leading scorer for the 8-0 No. 19 Gamecocks, was suspended indefinitely last Sunday. Martin has yet to provide a reason for the suspension.

“He’s been with us at practice, he’ll travel with us, he’s excited about our team, his role on the team,” he said, according to South Carolina’s 247 site. “Sindarius is one of my favorite guys I’ve ever come across. He messed up and it is what it is. He’s like a son to me. He messed up and he’s owned up to his mess up.”

“Outside of that, I’m not going to get into anything else. He has my full support. Our job is to prepare our team to play, we don’t prepare individual players to play. It’s no different to someone rolling an ankle. We’re down because of a bad decision. We’ll be fine.”

Thornwell is averaging 18.7 points, 6.0 boards and 4.1 assists. The Gamecocks play Seton Hall in New York City on Monday night.

Frank Martin discusses anthem protests

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Colin Kaepernick’s national anthem protest has spread throughout the NFL to the WNBA and even to high schools. It’s also made its way to college basketball, where Virginia posted photos to social media of the team kneeling at center court.

South Carolina coach Frank Martin lent his expansive thoughts on the topic.

“When I found out what he did,” Martin said, “I was proud that an athlete didn’t want to be vanilla and consumed with his paycheck that he wouldn’t be willing to take a stance on what he thought was right and wrong.

“I applaud celebrities that are willing to bring attention to what’s wrong or to what’s right. I don’t like celebrities that like to go vanilla on the things that really matter because if they hide from taking chances it means they’re only concerned about their status their paycheck and their future, not  impacting the ones that don’t have the stage that they’re on.”

Martin, whose mother and her family left Cuba in 1961, took issue with exactly how Kaepernick’s protest has unfolded, however. In one instance, Kaepernick wore a shirt with an image of Fidel Castro on it to a press conference.

“If you’re going to talk the words oppression,” Martin said “if that’s the avenue, don’t talk about oppression and celebrate Fidel Castro because no one has oppressed more people and killed more people, more black people than Fidel Castro.

“So when he decided to take that moment, he didn’t express himself the right way. That’s why everyone started talking about the military and everything else because the message he tried to portray was not portrayed in the proper manner in that moment.

“If he would have been standing up there in a coat and tie or in a collared shirt and said police brutality or social injustice, then that would have been the conversation rather than the military and everything that it took.”

As for his thoughts on one or more of his player’s protesting during the anthem, Martin said, “A lot of people talk the talk but do you walk the walk? If there’s something you don’t like, you have a platform. People will listen to you.

“Just make sure you’re prepared to express what you don’t like the right way. So if they choose to not support the national anthem, that will be disappointing for me, but it’s their right. It doesn’t mean I have to agree with them. It’s their right. Anyone that questions that is out of their minds. That’s why this is the greatest country in the whole world.”

Martin said he addressed the issue with his players the day he returned from a trip outside the country and learned of Kaepernick’s actions.

“I asked our players, who in this room has this country held back, who, how?” he said. “Nobody raised their hands. So how can you tell me this country holds you back but it’s never held you back? But it’s popular on Twitter to say, ‘Oh this country holds you back.’

“Like I told our players, this country doesn’t hold you back. Some of us have more obstacles in front of us than others but nobody is grabbing us from behind. Some of us have to learn how to clear more hurdles to get where we want to go than others.

“Some people run a 100-meter dash, some people run a 100-meter hurdle race. That’s the difference here in this country. What we have to figure out a way to unite because that’s what makes us great, that we all get a platform to speak, to express ourselves, to move forward if we have the courage to get over the hurdles, this country opens its doors to you. That’s the deal.”