Frank Martin is running guys out of town like an SEC West Football Coach.
Frank Martin just announced that Reggie Theus Jr. and Shamiek Sheppard have left the South Carolina program. How appropriate to do this when Martin still believes he has a chance at landing Dikembe Dixson, Eric Cobb or Tevin Mack? Martin went from being one spot over the scholarship limit to having a scholarship available to give for 2015-16. How convenient!
Frank Martin has now run off TEN players from the South Carolina program prematurely since being officially hired to coach the Gamecocks on March 31, 2012. This is the second offseason where Martin cleared space by running off talent, even guys that he had just brought into the South Carolina program! It is not like Martin is dismissing just less heralded players from High School.
It is one thing to let a graduating player leave for more playing time elsewhere or have to dismiss a player due to academics or criminal activity. Mark Fox had those scenarios play out and yes it was also obvious to Tim Dixon and John Cannon that their playing time would be substantially reduced in their FINAL season at UGA. Fox was not oversigning when these roster moves took place, but Martin clearly was. Fox in his six years at UGA has never been known for oversigning/churning players. Martin has built himself a reputation and he’s doing it in an obvious fashion.
Who was forced out of the South Carolina Program?
- Reggie Theus Jr. – The son of Reggie Theus, former NBA player and coach. Theus just completed his Sophomore season. He’s a 6’6″ 220 pound Small Forward who only played 2 minutes per game. One offseason of development work with two seasons of playing action and now he’s gone. He was a 2 star recruit by Rivals, 3 star recruit by Scout and was pursued by most notably Seton Hall.
- Shamiek Sheppard – He’s a 6’6″ 225 pound Small Forward from Brooklyn and he just completed his Freshman season. He dealt with injuries and a late season suspension. He will not get an offseason of development work with the South Carolina coaches, he’s gone. He was a 3 star recruit by Rivals and Scout. Drexel and Iona both factored into his recruiting decision, but he chose to be a Gamecock and now he’s been processed.
- Demetrius Henry – He’s a 6’9″ 230 pound Power Forward/Center from Miami and he just completed his Sophomore season. He was suspended later in the season just like Sheppard. Henry’s an extremely athletic and talented post that at times conjured up memories of Sam Muldrow. Henry played 19 minutes per game and averaged 6 points, 4 rebounds and a block per game. He only had one season of development work with the coaches and now he’s gone. He was a 4 star recruit according to Rivals and Scout. Alabama, Auburn, Clemson, Cincinnati, Georgia Tech, Illinois, Kansas State, Memphis, Miami, Missouri and Tennessee all wanted him, but he chose to be a Gamecock. He got himself into some trouble with Frank Martin and it was an easy excuse for him to be laid off… wait, processed.
- Jaylen Shaw – He’s a 6’1″ 180 pound Point Guard from Hartsville, South Carolina and he completed his Freshman Season (2013-14) before transferring out of the program. Conveniently, Marcus Stroman was in the following class, but proceeding forward… Jaylen Shaw transferred to Coastal Carolina and will be eligible for next season. Shaw averaged nearly 10 minutes per game and 3 points per game when he was in action. Shaw was 39.5% from the 3 point arc during his time in Columbia. Shaw was a 3 star recruit according to Rivals and was pursued by Virginia Tech and Clemson. He’s now going to be a Chanticleer.
- Desmond Ringer – He’s a 6’9″ 260 pound Power Forward/Center from McDonough, Georgia and he completed his Freshman Season (2013-14) before transferring out of the program. Ringer transferred to Mercer and will be eligible for next season. He didn’t even get the opportunity to work with the South Carolina coaches during an offseason. Ringer averaged nearly 10 minutes per game and had 2 points and 2 rebounds per game when he was in action. Ringer was a 3 star recruit according to Rivals, Scout and ESPN. Ringer was pursued by Auburn, Cincinnati, Clemson, Georgia, Marquette, Mercer, Minnesota, Tulane, Tennessee, UCF and Vanderbilt.
- Damien Leonard – He’s a 6’4″ 190 pound Shooting Guard from Greenville, South Carolina and he completed his Sophomore Season (2012-13) before transferring out of the program. Leonard transferred to Furman and played there for a season before transferring to Georgia Southwestern, a Division II school. Leonard played 15 minutes per game in Columbia for Frank Martin and averaged 4 points per game. Leonard was a 4 star recruit according to all recruiting services and was according to Rivals, the 85th best recruit in the 2011 Class. Leonard was pursued by Georgia, Arizona, Clemson, Florida State, Kansas, Kentucky, Oklahoma State, Texas, Virginia Tech and Wake Forest.
- R.J. Slawson – He’s a 6’9″ 220 pound Power Forward from Charleston, South Carolina and he completed his Junior Season (2012-13) before transferring out of the program. Slawson transferred to Jacksonville. As a Junior at South Carolina, he averaged 4 points 3 rebounds per game. As a senior at Jacksonville, he averaged 8.4 points, 6.1 rebounds and 1.4 blocks per game. Slawson was a 3 star recruit according to Rivals and a 4 star recruit according to ESPN and Rivals. According to ESPN, he was the 83rd best recruit in the 2010 Class. He was pursued by Auburn, Clemson, Temple, VCU and St. Joe’s.
- Eric Smith – He’s a 5’11” 205 pound Point Guard from Mullins, South Carolina and he completed his Junior Season (2012-13) before transferring out of the program. Smith transferred to Coastal Carolina. His best season was his last season with the Gamecocks, he averaged nearly 6 points per game and 3 assists in nearly 28 minutes of action per game. Smith was a 3 star recruit according to Rivals and Scout. He was pursued by Clemson as a part of the 2010 Class.
- Brian Richardson – He’s a 6’4″ 175 pound Shooting Guard from Wilson, North Carolina and he completed his Junior Season (2012-13) before transferring out of the program. Richardson transferred to High Point. His best season came in his final season with the Gamecocks. He averaged 7.5 points per game while playing 18 minutes per game. He shot 38.2% from 3 point range. Richardson was a 3 star recruit according to Scout and Rivals for the 2010 Class and he was pursued by Alabama and Auburn.
- Carlton Geathers – He’s a 6’10” 255 pound Center from Georgetown, South Carolina. He did not log any minutes for Frank Martin as he was suffering through issues stemming from injured knee cap. He left the South Carolina program due to his injury issues. This may be the only exit that Frank Martin could not control, but it is interesting to point out that he was teammates with Damien Leonard at Georgia Southwestern this past season. Many thought Geathers would not play again, but he was able to join the Georgia Southwestern squad. He averages 2 points per game in around 8 minutes of action for Georgia Southwestern. Certainly, he could have received a medical exemption at South Carolina, so he could not count against the NCAA Scholarship limit right?
Recruits considering South Carolina should keep this list in mind because there is nearly a 25% chance that they could be processed themselves in a few years. These recruits want to play at South Carolina and play in the SEC, not have a taste of it for a year or two and then head to the Sun Belt, SoCon, A-Sun or Big South Conference.
Frank Martin is copying the methods of SEC West Football Coaches that are known to oversign and process players. It’s one thing to be subtle about it, it’s another to do it when there’s a bigger, better class coming up. Martin doesn’t seem willing to work on the development of the recruits he brings in as well, which is a troubling sign.