Gamecocks-Hokies about much more than a scrimmage
COLUMBIA – They were going to play it anyway to get an idea of what kind of teams they’d each have in the coming season.
With the chance to add helping others to it, there was no way either coach would ever refuse.
“When this got passed, (Buzz Williams) and I immediately got on the phone and started coming up with ideas and plans. Saturday late afternoon, we’re doing something in the community, both teams,” South Carolina coach Frank Martin said. “So they understand, we’re not coming here because the score of the game’s important. We’re coming here because you’re doing something that’s greater than basketball, you’re giving of yourself to impact those that need.”
The Gamecocks will scrimmage Virginia Tech at 2 p.m. Sunday with all proceeds going to hurricane relief in Florida, Texas and Puerto Rico. Admission is $10 for a first-come, first-serve seat and each coach is encouraging fans to also donate online.
Martin did his part to make sure there’s as full a house as possible, scheduling for a day without a football game and announcing that the Gamecocks will receive their Final Four rings before tipoff. After some appeals, the game will be televised and also broadcast on radio.
“Virginia Tech is honored to be able to participate in such an outstanding event,” Williams said in a statement. “To be able to help these areas that have seen such devastation due to the hurricanes is the right thing to do. I applaud coach Martin and his staff for putting this together on such short notice. Plus, there is the ability for our fans who may not be able to attend the game the opportunity to give through the online link. That’s what the Hokie Nation does, help those in need.”
Each coach has ties to the areas hit by storms. Martin is from Miami and his newest assistant coach, Chuck Martin, has family in Puerto Rico. Williams and associate head coach Steve Roccaforte are each from Texas.
The Gamecocks will play another closed scrimmage Saturday and then join the Hokies in a community service project. They hope to play Sunday in front of a packed house.
“It needs to be powerful,” Martin said.
The Gamecocks already whipped Erskine in an exhibition, Martin labeling it as not bad and USC having a lot of room to grow. He mentioned he may start an entirely new starting five against the Hokies as he continues to work on lineups and rotations.
“Couple of times today, I kind of looked on the court, ‘Why are you playing those guys together?,’” Martin said. “There’s no rhyme or reason to it right now. We’re still trying to figure all that out.”