Frank Martin went Frank Martin on his South Carolina players Thursday night following an embarrassing 64-46 home loss to LSU.
The former Kansas State basketball coach was so disgusted by his team’s extreme lack of effort and so frustrated by a fifth-straight loss that he compared all but one of his players to zombies.
It was the start of a postgame news conference that quickly went viral. If you haven’t seen it yet, you can watch the video here. Darryl Slater, of the Post and Courier, was also good enough to transcribe the whole thing.
“If you take (point guard) Bruce Ellington off our team, you’d probably have the 12 leading candidates for the starring roles in ‘The Return of the Living Dead,’ the zombie movie,” he said. “If you took Bruce off our team, our guys would probably win an Academy (Award) for their performance in that movie. I’ve been doing this for 28 years, nine of which as a junior varsity high school coach. That means I’ve dealt with 14-year-olds. I’ve never been more embarrassed to call myself a basketball coach than I am today.”
Later, when asked how he could motivate his players to give more effort, Martin said:
“If this was the NBA, we’d fine them, we’d take their money, we’d release them and say, ‘Good luck with ever finding another job.’ It’s not the NBA. So we’re in education. Somehow, some way, we have to reach them. It’s embarrassing. I’m just telling you, I’ve been telling our team here for three weeks that there’s a word that if it’s not in your vocabulary – whatever it is you choose to do in life – if the word ‘pride’ is not your vocabulary, you’ve got no chance at ever sniffing success.
“I’m a lot of things, but I’ve got pride. And I’m just telling you, I’m doing this (press conference) right now out of respect to you (reporters) and your jobs and because it’s part of my job. But I have never been so embarrassed. I shouldn’t coach basketball ever again if this is how my team plays.”
Those are just the highlights. Martin went on for a while.
Anyone who followed Martin at K-State has seen this before. He went on similar rants every season he was the Wildcats, often saying how his current players weren’t living up to the standard set by his former players, talking about pride and challenging everyone on his roster. About the only thing missing from this rant was a reference to how difficult it is to wrestle a bear.
The zombie thing is new, though, and pretty funny.
But it’s hard to see Martin’s rant inspiring his team down the stretch. South Carolina is 12-12 and one of the worst teams in the SEC. It next plays at Alabama on Saturday. When asked if there was anything he could do to fix his team’s problems before then, Martin simply said he wished he had some of his former players and even gave a shout out to current senior Rodney McGruder.
“If I had Jacob Pullen, Rodney McGruder, Denis Clemente, Brent Wright, Sylbrin Robinson, Udonis Haslem, Steve Blake, Jose Baseu, Gimel Martinez, Allen Edwards, Steve Edwards, Doug Edwards, I don’t know, any of those guys (Martin’s former players), some of which you might have heard of, some of which you’ve probably never heard about in your life. If I had any of them on my team, then I’d have a guy I could trust on my team. So we’d be all right tomorrow. Then again, I can tell you, we wouldn’t have played the way we played today.”
Good luck with that. Martin knew he was signing up for a rebuilding job when he left K-State for South Carolina. Unless his entertaining rant works miracles in the next few weeks, his first season with the Gamecocks will end with a losing record.