COLUMBIA, S.C. (TheBigSpur.com) - When the South Carolina men’s basketball team practiced on Monday afternoon, head coach Frank Martin was on the court with his players.
It was the Gamecocks’ first Martin-run practice since he tested positive for COVID-19 on Jan. 7.
Along with assistant coach Chuck Martin, Frank Martin was held back in Columbia for Saturday night’s 85-80 loss on the road against LSU. The Gamecocks nine-year head coach will be on the bench, taking back the head coach chair from assistant coach Bruce Shingler, for Tuesday night’s road contest against Missouri. Chuck Martin has not yet been cleared to return to the facility. Shingler handled media availability following Monday’s practice and said it was nice to see his boss back in action.
“His voice, his leadership, his command (was there),” Shingler said. “When you’re used to something your whole basketball career and used to being coached a certain way, when that comes back it brings that spirit. His attention to detail, Frank sees everything. Those guys were excited to have him back.”
Shingler served his first game as a head coach since his high school and AAU coaching days close to a decade ago. Talk with Martin about the LSU result was brief before the two shifted focus to the next contest.
“I didn’t take over to get a grade,” Shingler said. “I took over because we were in these circumstances and my job was to help put our group on the floor with a chance to win. We definitely had a chance to win. We led for more than 33 minutes of that game. When I talked to Frank we spoke briefly about some of the adjustments we could have made and things we did right and wrong in the game. His thought process is to move forward and we need to figure out how to beat Missouri.
“Frank looked like he was back in blast and full-go mode. Frank’s back and it’s my job to help him as much as possible. I learned it is very hard (to be a head coach). My hat goes off to him because it’s a lot. For the couple days I had the responsibility, it felt like a year. It was a good experience, but it’s time to move on and get back to Gamecock basketball.”
The Gamecocks (3-3, 1-1) were without only two scholarship players on in Baton Rouge due to COVID-19 health and safety protocols; junior forward Alanzo Frink and sophomore forward Jalyn McCreary. Shingler was not in a position to say whether the two would be available for Tuesday’s game, the team’s second over a span of four days.