To call South Carolina's basketball program an afterthought wouldn't quite do it justice.
The Gamecocks haven't made a trip to the NCAA tournament since 2004. Worse, they haven't won an NCAA tournament game since 1973.
It is now Frank Martin's job to make sure all this changes.
As reported by ESPN's Andy Katz on Monday, Martin has agreed to become the new head basketball coach at South Carolina. He will leave his post at Kansas State after five seasons, in which the Wildcats went 117-54 and made four trips to the NCAA tournament.
In other words, Martin accomplished more in five seasons than the Gamecocks have in almost four decades. The phrase "just what the doctor ordered" comes to mind.
Martin knows what it's like to revive a sagging basketball program. He coached under Bob Huggins when he took over at Kansas State in 2006, replacing Jim Wooldridge. The Wildcats went 15-13 under Wooldridge in 2005-2006, and 23-12 under Huggins in 2006-2007. They didn't skip a beat under Martin after Huggins left town, going 21-12 in 2007-2008.
In fact, Kansas State never won fewer than 20 games under Martin's watch. The Wildcats have consistently been one of the top teams in the Big 12 since he and Huggins arrived.
Things will be a little different in SEC country, but it's not like Martin will be a stranger in a distant land. He's a Florida native, and he used to coach high school basketball in Miami. He'll be a threat to take recruits away from other top coaches in the SEC, and he most certainly has the personality to fit in with the general culture of the conference.
Making a powerhouse out of South Carolina is something that will be much easier said than done, as doing so will require top recruits, and recruiting will be an uphill battle for Martin given South Carolina's basketball reputation (or lack thereof).
But in the short term, South Carolina's athletic department can rest comfortably knowing that it has at least secured a good basketball coach who will make the players the Gamecocks currently have that much better. Over time, Martin could very well turn South Carolina into perennial participants in the NCAA tournament.
The Gamecocks have waited this long for that kind of success. They can wait a little longer.
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