Following their 77 to 73 loss to Gonzaga Saturday evening, many Gamecock players expressed relief that their improbable tournament run had ended, allowing them to return to school and continue their studies. Chris Silva, big man both on the floor and in the classroom said, “It was cool to play some great teams, but seriously, I have an Economics exam Monday that I still haven’t studied for.”
The team, whose shocking performance has solidified South Carolina basketball as a serious contender, was dismayed this March as they were forced to miss more and more class. “Getting this far has been pretty inconvenient,” says guard PJ Dozier. “I’ve been missing so much class lately that I’m probably gonna drop to a B+, maybe even a B.” At the time of his interview, Dozier was reading from three textbooks simultaneously in an effort to catch up.
Many players conceded that they had hoped they wouldn’t advance in the tournament very far, especially after being matched-up against Duke in the second round. Coach Frank Martin, speaking of their first two games in Greenville, explained “I lobbied really hard to keep our games difficult and close to home so these guys wouldn’t have to be gone long.” Martin also said that he had to work hard to keep the team’s spirit up through all their absences. “Most nights, I had to reassure a lot of the guys that they’d still make the Dean’s List, and that the long journey away from the classroom was almost over. And thank God it is over.”
At press time, Sindarius Thornwell, who graduated in December, could not be reached for comment as he was writing essays for his graduate school applications.