COLUMBIA, S.C. (WIS) - Saturday’s home matchup with Mississippi State marks the first time Carolina’s Justin Minaya plays the Bulldogs since his freshman season.
Due to multiple injuries, the redshirt junior forward has been unable to play a full season the past two years. Being forced to the bench provided perspective, as he put it, to live in the moment.
“It’s definitely been a struggle at times,” Minaya mentioned. “It was a lot of ups and downs. Once I learned to focus on living in the moment and take it day by day, that really has helped me.”
His own adversity created a greater appreciation to play.
“I just try to take every opportunity and make the most out of it,” added Minaya.
The same can be said for Carolina this season. The Gamecocks have played 11 of their 18 scheduled games to date due to COVID-19. A lack of practices and games, as a result, at times, created a disconnect on the floor.
“Had to get back to what we know works and what we do best,” Minaya said. “We’re all really close team off the court, as well. We just need to figure it out more on the court.”
Perhaps, there is a sign they have turned the corner. South Carolina (5-6) upset No. 22 Florida on the road on Wednesday.
“We know what type of team we are when we come out ready to play,” Minaya said.
Carolina plans to be ready to dominate Saturday against the Bulldogs. Tip-off is set for 3:30 p.m. and the game will be televised on the SEC Network.