Friday, December 11, 2009

HS Holiday Hoops Back In Midlands

The 8th Annual Chick-fil-A Classic is back again and it's bringing new national names.  Tournament Director, Gary Fulmer, is also the visionary behind this nationally recognized basketball spectacle is the Athletic Director of Richland Northeast High School, the host of the annual event.

This year promises to be a very star studded gala of basketball starting December 18-22, 2009.  The event takes a day off on Sunday December 20th and resumes on Monday December 21st.  Admission for the tournament is $7 for General Admission and $4 for children ages 11 and under.  The majority of the proceeds go towards the financial support of the Greater Columbia Educational Advancement Foundation (GCEAF pronounced gee-cef). Since its formation in 2003, GCEAF has awarded $60,000 in educational scholarships to deserving students who live within the Greater Columbia area.

The Tournament will offer a field of 16 teams (7 teams from SC and 9 teams from other states).  The teams from South Carolina are Richland Northeast, Lower Richland, Keenan, Dreher, Ridge View, Irmo, and Fairfield-Central. Out of state teams are: Rice High School (New York City NY), Christ School (Asheville NC), Westlake High School (Atlanta GA), Trinity Christian School (Fayetteville NC), Lexington Catholic High School (Lexington KY), Vance High School (Charlotte NC), Robert Taft High School (Cincinnati OH), Charlotte Christian School (Charlotte NC) and Norfolk Christian School (Norfolk VA).  Look for some marquee names in college coaching to be in the gym as well.

Some of the featured players are;
James McAdoo - Junior (6’8 forward from Norfolk Christian School, Norfolk, VA- committed to North Carolina) *Consensus Top 5 Junior
Marquis Rankin - Junior (6’1 guard from Vance High, Charlotte, NC)
Marshall Plumlee – Junior (7’0 center from Christ School, Asheville, NC)
Anthony Gill - Junior (6’7 forward from Charlotte Christian School, Charlotte, NC- committed to South Carolina)
Damontre Harris - Senior (6’9 forward from Trinity Christian School, Fayetteville, NC- signed with South Carolina)
Eric Smith - Senior (6’0 point guard from Christ School, Asheville, NC-signed with South Carolina)
Marcus Thornton - Senior (6’8 forward from Westlake High School, Atlanta, GA- signed with Clemson)
Shane Southwell - Senior (6’7 forward from Rice High School, New York City, NY- signed with Kansas State)
Akil Mitchell - Senior (6’8 forward from Charlotte Christian School, Charlotte, NC- signed with Virgina)
Anthony Jacobs – Senior (6’8, 310 lb forward from Westlake High School, Atlanta, GA-committed to Central Florida)
Michael Green – Senior (6’8 forward from Ridge View High School, Columbia, SC- signed with Tennessee State)
Malcolm Rhett – Senior (6’6 forward from Lower Richland High School, Hopkins, SC- signed with Tennessee State)

For more on the Holiday Classic visit

Sunday, November 29, 2009

107th Meeting Of Clemson - USC A 34-17 Charm

The 38th victory for USC against Clemson on Saturday was a charm for more reasons than one.  With the victory margin 65-37-4 in favor of Clemson, any victory would seem sweet, but this game had a lot of emotions and season long trash talking among friends, neighbors and radio listening junkies.  But this year has been the challenge of rather this is even a rivalry any more.  If South Carolina is in the wrong conference or even capable of playing competitively in the ACC.  Clemson was on a six game winning streak, South Carolina was on a four game losing streak.  Dabo Swinney represented the new wave of young coaches having successful seasons and careers, while Steve Spurrier, once considered the Guru of offensive play calling and synonymous with winning and championships, was being questioned for his capability to produce a championship caliber team or at least get South Carolina past their arch rivals.  Not to mention the Tigers went into this game ranked 18th, with the Cocks having fallen from the graces of national rankings. [watch game or highlights]

Well it turned out that the Ole Ball Coach, used his experience, enhanced with a two preparation period, and established a game plan and a relaxed but prepared team focus that allowed the Gamecocks to basically dominate the Tigers in all aspects of the game, following the second chance opening kick, that saw C.J. Spiller set a NCAA record for career kick-off touchdowns, with his 88 yard return for touchdown.  After that play South Carolina went on to deliver its' own blows, more frequently and more powerful.

South Carolina overcame early penalties and miscues, to dominate the game.  Some will say this was no domination, but Clemson is on its' way to the ACC Championship game, sporting an offense scoring over 30 points a ballgame in the last six weeks.  But South Carolina held Spiller to 18 yards on 9 carries, Jacoby Ford to 49 yards on 5 catches.  The Tigers could only generate 260 yards on the day, with 48 yards total on the ground.  USC held the ball for over 36 minutes while Clemson was able to play with the ball for less than 24 minutes.  While Tiger QB Kyle Parker managed 22-42 passing for 212 yards most of the yards were gained on a pass frequent, late offensive, drive for Swinney's ball club and often other drives were held to movement only in the middle of the field.  Even though prepared for the Wildcat formation, or "Wild Roost" if you're looking for the South Carolina branding, Clemson could not stop the second possession offensive wrinkle when Stephon Gilmore led the Cocks on a run oriented "Wild Roost" scheme.  The package, that all have been looking for all season, included a nice 39-yard down field post strike to freshman sensation, Alshon Jeffrey, which set up a Brian Maddox touchdown a couple plays later and the Gamecocks seemed extremely poised to control the remainder of the game which they did.  Missing out on an opportunity late in the first half to place more points on the board, after a Clemson's forced bad punt of 14 yards was touched but not recovered by USC's Antonio Allen on the Clemson 29 yard line.  Clemson retained possession but could not move the chains but dodged another score by the host team.  USC won the first half 17-7 and the second half 17-10, to claim complete dominance of the rival game, and reestablish the in-state rivalry by giving Gamecock fans "Bragging Rites" (bragging rights) for one year.

Spurrier's play calling was great, Steven Garcia played well, but Kenny Miles was a star carrying the ball 17 times for 114 yards.  Eric Norwood, who had a fumble recovery, provided tons of pressure, along with defensive stars Clifton Geathers and DeVonte Holloman.  Many players stepped up to become a part of this most memorable game, now in its' 100th consecutive meeting.  Guys like Tori Gurley and Weslye Saunders made significant contributions, along with the intangibles not seen in the stats from the offensive line.  This team victory amassed 388 total yards (223 rushing/165 passing), 6-16 in third down conversions (1-1 on 4th) and only 4 penalties. [videos]

Horn's Plan, Replace By Committee, A Team Concept

All week, Head Coach Darrin Horn told anyone asking that you don't just replace a player as valuable and versatile as Dominique Archie, who injured his right knee in the only USC (4-1) loss, in this early season  last Sunday to Miami in the finals of the Charleston Classic.  He required the team to respond by stepping up and each player contributing to the level of his best at this point in the season.  The first sense of confidence in knowing your team and specifically knowing your players, became evident in the game against the Jacksonville Dolphins which found the 6'7" Archie, replaced by 6'2" Brandis Raley-Ross, who finished with 18, on 60% shooting.  The starting lineup was a very good adjustment, the rotation and minutes distribution was just as tailored as the custom threads worn by the young basketball engineer.  If you haven't noticed under the shadow of Steve Spurrier and the Gridiron Division, is the developing of a very competitive basketball program by Athletic Director Eric Hyman's visionary hire that is defying all who chose to question, criticize or complain.  This writer falls in that category initially, but gained early appreciation for the autocratic Head Coach.

Horn made firm size, speed and teaching match ups that allowed him to place continuous and extended pressure on the feisty Dolphins of northern Florida.  The Gamecocks received a very balanced performance throughout the ballgame allowing the young shooting freshman, Stephen Spinella, to acquire more competitive minutes to assist in his early development.  This new minutes distribution allowed Sam Muldrow to assert himself with outside to inside movement; Raley-Ross exploited his inside and outside value in the same game, while Mike Holmes, Lakeem Jackson and Austin Steed pounded the glass, challenged shots, came up with loose balls and finished inside.  Ramon Galloway filled his roll, solidly relieving Devan Downey, taking and making good shots, while protecting the ball.  Galloway's utilization allowed Downey the late game energy to take over just inside the 6 minute mark and score 17 or his game high 34 points and establish the scoring space to hold off a well prepared and competitive unit coached by Cliff Warren.  At times Downey appeared unstoppable and the basket must have appeared larger and larger with each possession to the 5'9" superstar.

Horn formed his replacement committee with eight players playing 11 minutes or more, and two others playing 7 minutes.  The second half use of Galloway allowed Downey rest minutes on and off the court.  This was a win through strategic coaching and player aggressiveness.  These are the team victories coaches talk about.

Game Positives; four players in double figures scoring, 57.4% shooting percentage, 50% from 3-point range, 6 blocks, 9 steals and 21 defensive turnovers, to go with the 97-93 win.

Game Negatives; allowed 4 players to score in double figures, allowed 50% shooting, 53.8% from 3, allowed 11 offensive rebounds, including being out rebounded 30-35, committed 17 turnovers and only 5 total assists.

This is a hard working, scrappy, energetic and talented team, but there are some areas that cannot be replaced by committee.  What was accomplished took 4 player contributions and a superstar finish.  If this attitude and philosophy holds up, the return of Archie could reward volumes with players having realized their contribution capabilities against quality opponents.  Next up Western Kentucky, the former employer of Horn's leadership services.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Loss Of Dominique Archie Is Costly

The loss of Dominique Archie for the next few weeks, just as the last segments of the game against Miami on Sunday, has a real negative affect to the offensive chemistry for the Gamecocks.  The multi-position swing Senior can play the 2, 3 or 4 position in any period of a game or during various transition possessions.  His mere presence creates defensive match up challenges and his perimeter shooting will spread the floor and make it difficult for teams to pack the lane to prevent general and forced penetration.  Something the Gamecocks need in their offensive scheme under the floor leadership of Devan Downey, who creates problems for all teams if he can get into the middle of the lane.  Secondly, other than Downey, Archie is the only player on the roster that has consistently proven his capacity to create his shot off the dribble against set defenses.  The loss of Archie was a clear cause for the success of the Miami game plan that was not affective until Archie went down after the first seven minutes of the Miami (5-0) loss 70-85, when the Gamecocks (4-1) were leading 9-2, building to 19-4 before the defensive scheme and superior post presence took over, following the Archie steal, dunk and injury removed Dominique for the remainder of the night.

With the Gamecocks already struggling to find a consistent perimeter shooter outside of Archie.  The transition game is now missing a fast swing player who can finish strong and get into the fast break lanes as quickly as the average back-court player in the college basketball.  This temporary loss will encourage all teams to utilize active and match up zones often to prevent the penetration and force USC to make long range shots they have not made so far this season.  Archie is leading the team in 3-point shooting(46.2%), first in rebounding on both ends of the floor, second in field goal percentage (53.3%) second in free throw shooting (81.8%), second in scoring (14.4 ppg) and second in steals.  I'm sure you get my drift; this young man is possibly the most valuable player on this team.  Without Archie the team shoots 27% from the arch and 41.4% from the field, while drooping from another 3.5% points from the charity stripe.  Not to mention the contribution on the glass.

Brandis Raley-Ross has shown signs of a capability to return to his shooting form of two seasons back before a knee injury derailed his strong shooting at the start of the season.  He has been gradually working his way back to shooting form and confidence.  Recruited as a scorer, Ramon Galloway converted on 4 3-pointers in the loss to Miami, but his consistency has not yet surfaced.  Senior Evaldas Baniulis offers hope from his previous seasons when he was able to drop 3 pointers in key situations, but these opportunities were created by strong post play and Downey penetration leaving Baniulis to spot and drop long range shots.  However, off the dribble, Baniulis cannot create shots, so Sam Muldrow will have to make some perimeter shots along with taking his post game to an enhanced level.  Muldrow has been playing very well, but his play along with Austin Steed and Johndre Jefferson will have to improve immediately to continue to control the outcome of the non-conference schedule.
Great coaches of great teams have said that during the loss of key or great players a good team becomes great when players step up and contribute in the absence of the key player.  South Carolina will have an opportunity to apply the theory as the undisclosed knee injury appears to have the South Carolina star sidelined for at least a couple of weeks, currently rated as indefinitely, which gives the Gamecocks, a projected 3-4 games (Jacksonville, Western Kentucky, Clemson and Richmond) to find the key contributors without an Archie in the ballgame. 

Gamecock head basketball coach Darrin Horn was quoted as saying that.....
"Dominique Archie is one of the hardest working players I've coached and I'm confident he will work just as hard in his rehabilitation with this injury as he does on the court," Horn said. "As a family, this is a time when we will pull together and continue to work toward our goals in his absence."   Somehow you have to believe Horn can motivate a couple of his athletes to step forward and fill a portion of the void, while Downey raises his level of play as expected.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Some Clemson-USC Games Will Never Be Forgotten

A rivalry built on politics, geographics, curriculum, pre-game traditions, family feuds, brawls, mascots and school colors has been tabbed in a recent book as the most underrated rivalry in the nation.  While Clemson commands a 65-37-4 record against the University of South Carolina, the rivalry continues to generate trash talking, season and life-long hatreds and simply office and bar room debates that consume the respective fan bases.  Clemson's victory edge often gives their fans the most opportunity for strong trash talking, there have been moments when the Gamecocks of South Carolina have had the upper hand just enough to keep the fire in this rivalry alive.  Some of the more memorable moments are captured from the Clemson-USC archives.  Do you see any that you will never forget?

1961: The Prank

In 1961, the USC fraternity Sigma Nu pulled what some have called the greatest prank in the rivalry's history. A few minutes before Clemson football players entered the field for pre-game warm ups, a group of Sigma Nu fraternity members ran onto the field, jumping up and down and cheering in football uniforms that resembled the ones worn by the Tigers. This caused the Clemson band to start playing "Tiger Rag," which was followed by the pranksters falling down as they attempted to do calisthenics. They would also do football drills where guys would drop passes and miss the ball when trying to kick it... Clemson fans quickly realized that they had been tricked, and some of them angrily ran onto the field. However, security restored order before any blows could be exchanged. Carolina won the game 21-14, although Clemson was on the Gamecock one-yard-line when time expired.

1975: Most Points Scored by Carolina
On November 22, 1975, Carolina defeated Clemson 56-20 to set a Gamecock record for most points scored in a football game against the Tigers.

1977: "The Catch"
On November 19, 1977, Clemson WR Jerry Butler made a diving, backwards, 20-yard touchdown reception on a pass from QB Steve Fuller with 49 seconds left in the fourth quarter to give Clemson the 31-27 victory in Columbia. This play is known as "The Catch" and is one of the most memorable plays in the rivalry[56].

1980: Orange Pants
In the last regular season game for the 1980 season, a heavily favored Carolina team traveled to Death Valley to take on the Tigers. In a surprise to both the players and the fans, Coach Danny Ford unveiled new orange uniform pants for the Tigers to wear. This was the first time in Clemson's history that they wore orange pants in any combination for a football game. Inspired by the pants, the underdog Tigers defeated the Gamecocks, 27-6.

1981: Clemson wins a National Championship
In 1981, Clemson defeated Carolina 29-13 en route to the National Championship.

1987: Highest Ranked Match-Up
On November 21, 1987, with the highest combined rankings of the two football programs entering the game (the Gamecocks were No. 12 and the Tigers were No. 8), Carolina beat Clemson 20-7 on national television (ESPN).

In 2000, Trailing late in the game 14-13, Clemson quarterback Woody Dantzler connected with wide-receiver Rod Gardner for a 50-yard reception to South Carolina's 8-yard line with 10 seconds remaining. Carolina fans point to a replay that seems to show Gardner pushing off the Gamecock defender, but Clemson fans contend that the contact was mutual and incidental. No penalty flag was thrown on the play, leaving Clemson kicker Aaron Hunt to kick a 25-yard field goal that gave Clemson a 16-14 win. Clemson fans remember this game as "The Catch II" while Carolina fans call it "The Push-Off Game".

2003: Most Points Scored by Clemson
In 2003, Clemson defeated Carolina 63-17, and Clemson's 63 points are the most scored by either team in the series. Interestingly, South Carolina was a slight favorite according to odds-makers.

2004: The Brawl
The South Carolina-Clemson brawl during the 2004 football game is the most recent eruption of hostilities in this rivalry. It is also the last time Lou Holtz coached, having retired shortly thereafter. Clemson won the game 29-7. Each team had won a total of six games that year and were technically bowl eligible. However, both schools elected to forfeit their postseason because of the shameful nature of the fight.

2005: A Quarterback Wins 4
In 2005 the two teams showed an unusual gesture of sportsmanship by meeting at midfield before the game to shake hands, putting the mêlée of 2004 behind them. Clemson won this game 13-9, marking quarterback Charlie Whitehurst's 4th win versus the Gamecocks, which is the first time a starting quarterback from either team notched four wins against the other team.

Clemson ranked 24th going into the game watched a 14-point lead dwindle away as the Gamecocks rallied for a come-from-behind victory over their arch rival on two touchdowns by Mike Davis and a Ryan Succop 35-yard field goal.  The game was finally decided on a missed 39-yard field goal try by Jad Dean that sailed wide left to end the game 31-28 USC.  Snapping the four-game win streak against the Tigers.  The Gamecocks had been 0-5 against ranked opponents that year.

2007: Last-Second Victory
On November 24, 2007, Clemson kicker Mark Buchholz hit a 35-yard field goal as time expired to give No. 21 Clemson a memorable 23-21 victory over South Carolina and leave Gamecock's coach Steve Spurrier with the longest losing streak of his college career. The defeat completed a late season collapse for the University of South Carolina, who lost their last five games and fell from No. 6 in the national polls to finish at 6-6 overall and 3-5 in the Southeastern Conference. The win lifted Clemson coach Tommy Bowden to 7-2 all-time against the Gamecocks and 2-1 all-time against Spurrier, and prevented the Gamecocks from receiving a post-season bowl invitation. The 2007 game is notable as the first in the series with the winning points scored on the game's final play.

This year's season, full of ups and downs for both squads, finds Clemson on the brink of its' highest "up", while South Carolina finds itself at one of it's all too common last season low.  One established "Ole Ball" Coach and another Young Head Coach trying to establish himself.  Both teams have had great wins and unacceptable losses in this season, but unfortunately for this game, regardless of highs and lows, a loss will be a low for either squad, offering state bragging rights for the winner.  For Clemson it would end the dominance for now if USC wins.  For South Carolina it could end the season if Clemson wins, after being bowl eligible five weeks ago.  Either way, this year's game offers another opportunity to establish a game or moments that will not easily be forgotten, this rivalry seems to create that special moment more often than not.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

USC-Clemson Ticket Give-A-Way At Ale House In The Vista

Come Join ESPN Radio "The Zone" at Columbia Ale House in the Vista on Monday November 23, 2009 from 3:00PM-6:00PM and register to win various prizes to include a pair of USC-Clemson Football tickets.  The prizes and tickets will be given away on Monday, so don't miss out on the fun, the bragging, the on air challenges, great food and drinks at the Ale House.  Come join Jimmy Dorsey, Matt Younginer, Wes Mitchell and Duane Everett this Monday.  There will be a special presentation at halftime of the Monday Night Football Game.  Don't miss the fun!!

Visiting USC and Clemson fans will have the opportunity to broadcast live with the Show Hosts and to talk about their favorite team and some of their favorite memories about this annual football event.  Former players and alumni will be on hand to give their game predictions as well.  This will be a Monday in the Vista you won't want to miss.

Remember Clemson is heading to the ACC Championship game and a BCS bowl, while South Carolina is trying to end the season on a strong note and get to a major bowl and stop a recent three week slide.

Tigers say they will continue the domination, the Gamecocks say this is the year that the streak stops.  What do you say?  Come by and let all the listeners and on-location viewers know what you think.

The Ale House is located at 708 Lady Street, Downtown Columbia, in the Vista.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

USC Overcomes The Bully In South Florida To Win 69-66

The Bulls of South Florida appeared to bully and outplay the USC Gamecocks in every category, but found themselves at the short end of a very physical and competitive game, that was everything but pretty.  The visual is a follows, the Gamecocks shot the ball poorly in the first half going 11-32 (34.4%) from the field with 0-8 3-point shooting.  The Cocks only faired a tad better in the second half shooting 12-30 (40.0%) and 2-9 from long range.  South Florida (3-1) on the other hand appeared ready to bully the home squad taking a halftime lead of 29-35 on 13-25 shooting (52%) and 2-9 from long range. The poor shooting hindered recording significant assists, as the Cocks only tallied 3 for the entire game.  USF Forward, Augustus Gilchrist provided much of the challenge in the paint for Gamecocks in the first half scoring inside and from the charity stripe to eventually lead all scorers with 19 points for the game.

But the second half was more of the same, but the bully became the victim as USC (4-0) matched physicality on the strength of intense defense that totaled 17 turnovers denying USF scoring opportunities, along with 4 critical blocks by Sam Muldrow who totaled 6 for the game, 19 offensive rebounds to offset poor shooting with second chance baskets which created 22 second chance points, hot shooting from the free throw line down the stretch hitting 11 of their last 14, (21-30 or 70% overall).   Devan Downey  scored 10 in the first half to help keep the margin close and finished with 17, Dominique Archie added 15 for the game, with perfect shooting (4-4) from the FT line.

The tale of two halves with USC finding themselves down by as many as 10 points early in the first half due to great shooting by USF, converted a great defensive effort in the second half to allow only 34.8% accuracy on 8-23 shooting.  Points off turnovers in the first half went to the Bulls 9-4, but in the second half the Cocks took command of the turnover game scoring 9 points and allowing no points on turnovers and finishing the game with only 10 turnovers while causing 17 for their bullish opponents.  With bench scoring, 4-6 in favor of USF, second chance points 10-10 and points in the paint, 20-16 favoring USC, all fairly close in the first half, USC turned it around in the decisive half with advantages in all categories; 18-4 points in the paint, 12-3 second chance points and 12-3 bench scoring.  The second half was again a product of good coaching adjustments by Head Coach Darrin Horn and staff, using its depth to maintain constant defensive pressure and denying easy shots by the Bulls.  With balanced minutes distributions for nine USC players, with only Archie and Downey exceeding 30 minutes,  the Gamecocks were allowed to control the final half against a hard and physical game that saw the Bulls limited to a 7 player rotation primarily to post the 69-66 victory. [final stats]

Although an ugly shooting night and not a pretty general stat line.  The Cocks and Coach Horn can be extremely pleased with a poised finish of a game full of adversities, challenges and struggles, resulting in a win categorized as a grinding solid team effort.  Every USC player made a significant contribution in the victory.

Next  Charleston Classic challenge Miami (4-0), a 67-60 winner over UNC-Wilmington.  This will be a battle of two very well coached teams with up tempo styles and young aggressive philosophies.  The Hurricanes are coached by Frank Haith.

Friday, November 20, 2009

La Salle Too Tall, But USC Was Too Deep In 78-68 Win

With a starting lineup with no player smaller than 6'5" and all others 6'6", 6'7" 6'8" and 6'10", La Salle University seemed geared to create problems for the slightly smaller USC Gamecocks.  Along the way, someone forgot to tell Head Coach Darrin Horn that size matters.  Early in the contest, it appeared that the size was a problem for the Gamecocks, playing in the late game of the Charleston Classic, hosted by the College of Charleston.  Scoring only 11 points in the first 10 minutes and trailing by eight points at 11-19, the Cocks were challenged in the paint by 6'10" Aaric Murray who recorded 4 first half blocked shots.  Offensive rebounding and good shot selection allowed the Explorers, Coached by Dr. John Gianini, to maintain a 22-30 advantage at the 5:00 mark of the first half.  It was at this point that Coach Horn's bench rotations, pressure defense and inspired glass aggression by the USC post ignited a 16-6 run and a 2 point half time lead, at 38-36.  The Gamecocks would never trail again.  Coach Horn's halftime speech charged a 20-5 run to start the second half and a 17 point lead that would not get any closer than 12 until the final token jump shot by T.T. Carey with 26 seconds to go, once Horn had cleared the bench at the 1:57 mark.

What changed for the smaller USC squad or the taller La Salle unit?  Depth, good substitution match-ups, energy and aggressive defense by South Carolina.  Not to mention that the early blocked shots by Murray did little to intimidate the USC post and swing players who constantly attacked the glass.  With USC shooting only 4-14 (28.6%) from long range, it was clear that this game would be won in the paint and Horn made sure that a good practice week for Austin Steed and an ever improving outing by Johndre Jefferson helped Mike Holmes, who scored most of his 15 points in powerful moves around the basket, and Dominique Archie who led USC with 17 points, dominate 60% of the basketball game.  Steed's first half effort helped stabilized the post advantage for the Gamecocks, while Brandis Raley-Ross, 16 points on the night, was the only Gamecock who could consistently find the range from downtown going 4-6 from 3-point range, hitting the only 3-pointers for the Cocks all night.  Even with nearly 52% shooting in the first half the La Salle team playing as the visitors could not hold off the powerful run and eventual control of the game by the Gamecocks.  The effective play of the nine primary rotation players produced difficulty for the Explorers to find good shot opportunities consistently and the result  44.4% shooting in the second half, with USC shooting 56.7% over the same period with many baskets coming on transition points created by turnovers and aggressive transition.

Rodney Green led La Salle with 23 points, while fan favorite Devan Downey rounded out the USC double digit scoring with 10 points.  The 78-68 victory was the third straight double digit win for the Gamecocks (3-0) in a many outings.

Tonight the Gamecocks will now play the Bulls of South Florida, who edges out Davidson earlier in the evening 68-65.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Gamecocks Slow Start Ends In USC Blowout

After an extremely slow start for the up tempo Gamecocks, the USC basketball squad recorded a 90-66 victory over Georgia Southern on Monday night.  Dominique Archie produced 18 points as South Carolina pulled away in the second half.  Devan Downey added 14 points, with Brandis Raley-Ross scoring 13 and Mike Holmes contributing 12 for the Gamecocks now 2-0 on the early season.

After trailing by as many as 7 points in the first half , South Carolina took control late in the final minutes of the first half to take a 43-36 lead at the break on a 9-2 run, scoring the final 5 points of the half.  The Gamecocks would use a 16-0 run, in the first 5 minutes to start the second half to basically blow the game open against the Eagles (1-1), coached by Charlton Young, a former Georgia Southern All Conference Player, now in his first year as a head coach.  Picked to finish 6th in the Southern Conference, the Eagles looked like a conference contender early in the game, hitting key baskets early and pounding the glass for second chance points against the larger South Carolina team. 

Coach Darrin Horn was extremely calm and cool throughout his teams early struggles, issuing very deliberate instructions while showing no signs of anxiety over the early struggles.  Horn used various player combinations until players starting executing and began to both protect the defensive glass, while adding intensity and extra effort for loose balls and generating turnovers.  At one point the USC players appeared to relax and allowed the Eagles to slip within 11 points before extending another run that basically pushed the game into the laughter status. 

This game of runs and fun saw the athleticism of Archie (3-pointer), Holmes (4) and LaKeem Jackson (5) scored 12 of the 16 points in the early second half run.

Ben Drayton scored 15 and Willie Powers scored 14 to pace the Eagles, who saw their coach issuing enthusiastic, sometimes very animated instructions and gestures throughout the ballgame.  It was clear that Young was preparing his team for a optimistic season in the Southern Conference, never offering a moment for the team to concede a game decided early in the second half.  [final stats]

Coach Horn could be pleased to watch his team play through an early slump to take control of the game through aggressive defense, floor communication and improved shot selection in the half court and during transitions.  Another good test for the Cocks who placed several players on the court early to gain the much needed major college arena experience.  In this case, to experience a little adversity and participate in playing through it.  Another win for the intangibles of the game of basketball. 

The only concern continues to be the perimeter shooting from players other than Archie and Downey.  The season has not yet offered a consistent performer in this area.  Looking for Ross to try and fill that void from the regular player rotation.

Next for the Gamecocks, the LaSalle Explorers, in the Charleston Classic Thursday night.  LaSalle will offer another test, with more obstacles and the first road game for the newcomers on this team, along with the tournament format that will offer back to back game nights to examine the stamina of this unit.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Some Questions Answered In Opening Game Win

Darrin Horn's USC Gamecocks opened the season with an impressive 88-50 win over Alabama A&M.  Led by All-Conference Point Guard, Devan Downey, the Gamecocks started the game in a blaze, scoring the first 12 points and quickly continued building a huge lead that was ignited by the early perfect shooting of Downey who scored on his first five shots, including three 3-pointers. Downey finished the game with 23 points, 4 assists, 2 rebounds and 2 steals.  The team applied extended pressure early to create problems for the Bulldogs, coached by Van Pettaway.  The athletic but out-manned Alabama A&M squad could not muster any real challenge for the Gamecocks after an 8-0 run that made the score respectable for a minute early in the first half.

So what were the concerns in this ball game?  Initially it would be the 8 turnovers from the point guard position, poor shot selection, settling for perimeter shots too often when penetration options and post plays were obviously available.  The result, 7-24 (29.2%) from 3-point range.  While the four returning starters combined for 65 points with neither player on the floor for more than 23 minutes, the combined bench offered only 23 points with significant minutes played.  Too many lazy or out of position fouls against an out-manned squad as a result of poor rotations or effort, even though this may have been a result of an early 20-point lead and the aggressive defensive scheme initially.  With the South Carolina length, the Cocks allowed 16 offensive rebounds, another product of fundamental breakdowns and lack of effort at times boxing out under the glass. After a scorching 16-18 at the charity stripe, the Cocks could only find 50% of its' second half free throws on 7-14 shooting, an Achilles heel of the USC squad last season.  Perimeter shooting could be a problem in the general rotation.

Other than the score and the win, what were the positives of this season's opener?  The most promising factor was the energy level during most of the game, with specific emphasis on the opening minutes of the game.  While Downey presented his court brilliance early, Dominique Archie and Mike Holmes were steady and productive (15 and 14 points respectively), but Sam Muldrow was both an enforcer and versatile.  Muldrow, now starting the season healthy, was very offensive inside, taking his game outside as well, with a new green light from his head coach.  In 19 minutes, Muldrow posted 13 points, 3 blocks and 7 rebounds on 4-5 shooting from the field, hitting his only 3-pointer, and going 4-4 from the line.  His rebounding total also included 4 offensive rebounds.  Reserve postman, Johndre Jefferson, was very active and appears very comfortable without being the focal offensive option, as Jefferson used 4 offensive rebounds (7 total) to post 8 points and adding 3 blocks during his 18 minutes of play.  Coach Horn has the luxury of playing 9 deep in his rotation this season, making it easier to keep primary players fresh, while allowing his intense defense and up-tempo style aggression to flow throughout the game.  This rotation does not include shooting specialist Evaldas Baniulis and newcomer, Stephen Spinella, both whom will be needed to help stretch defenses attempting to collapse the lane to deny Downey penetration and negate some of the USC post length.  Freshman sensation LaKeem Jackson, was scoreless on 0-6 shooting (0-4 from 3) and displayed early maturity avoiding frustration and continuing the little things that don't show up on stat sheets.  His defense and aggressive play still posted 3 rebounds, 3 assists, 2 blocks and a steal to go along with several uncharted ball deflections on defense.  This defensive effort held the Bulldogs to 36% from the field and caused poor shot selection for the visiting opponents.  The team defensive effort also held the visiting squad to only 22 second half points on 10-28 shooting.

While the season opener was not the most impressive victory, it was a display of what should evolve into a very promising and exciting season as this team will only get better based on the practice and development philosophy of the young Darrin Horn era.  Even with the loss of shooting guard Zam Fredrick, USC appears to be a better ball club already.

Game 2 will be played tonight again at the Colonial Life Arena against a very athletic Georgia Southern ball club.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

How Good Is The SEC This Year?

As the Gamecocks begin their preparation for the official 2009-2010 season, ranked preseason in the 4th position in the Eastern Division, the question is just how good is the SEC this year?  Last year ended with only one SEC squad ranked nationally in men's basketball, the LSU Tigers (17th).  By season end no other team in the SEC had received votes.  But that was then and this is now, with Kentucky playing with NBA talent and new head coach, John Calipari, Kentucky is already preseason 4th ranked after a NIT appearance last year.  But after that the next preseason national ranking is Bruce Pearl's Tennessee Vols wasn't recognized until the 22nd spot , it appears that the SEC will be competitive, but on the national scene will have to earn it's claim to improved play compared to the Big East, ACC, Big 12 and even the Big 10, which represents the most preseason ranked teams and previous years field of 64.

But, LSU still has some athletes to go with a very good coach, South Carolina has it's own future professional players on roster with a very athletic incoming class, that includes JUCO experience.  Vanderbilt returns all 5 starters to a team that allowed the second lowest points in the SEC last year and that preseason respect as a 31st team in the projected field of 64.  Florida lost some talented youth and seniors last season and will be rebuilding, but Billy Donavan did have a good recruiting year, so expect to see a dog fight in the SEC East with Kentucky, Tennessee, South Carolina and Florida on the same side of the conference split.  Auburn is probably the best team in the West and the most experienced with the Jeff Lebo coached team ready to play the more up tempo style in the West.  This side of the race should be between Auburn, LSU and Mississippi State who also has an improved roster through experience, but no guarantee of substantive newcomer contributions.  Anthony Grant has proven at VCU that you can win with players outside of marquee names.  While Alabama is in a rebuilding year, don't be surprised if they compete immediately for a spot atop the West.  Arkansas and Ole Miss will probably fight to stay out of the cellar of the league, they are the two programs that can probably consider the NIT an accomplishment rather than a concession .

So the answer is, the SEC will not be great, just competitive, but if you look at the SEC East you may find the top 4 teams, the Wildcats, Vols, Gators and Gamecocks , will all be playing for national rankings, 20 plus wins, a conference title and a dance card for the field of 64 in March.  Keep all eyes on the SEC East, it is close to being a challenge to the other top half of the leading major conferences.   I know you would now say what about Georgia, your guess is as good as mine.  Can't wait for the season to start to see if this is the Cinderella Sleeper that has gotten lost in good recruiting and a coaching change with a history of coveting talent and athletes.  The Bulldogs could be the "Best Kept Secret".

Cocks Collide With Hogs and Sustain More Damage Traveling Out Of The Regular Season

While resuming the journey out of the regular season, the USC Gamecocks sustain damage to its football unit 16-33, losing to Arkansas in Fayetteville.  The Ole' Ball Coach, Steve Spurrier came out with a wide open game plan, but miscues and missed opportunities cause the team to slide off course land in a defeated ditch.  From the start of the game you could feel that the team was using every reasonable scheme in its arsenal on the offensive side of the ball.  Early, the Razorbacks seemed vulnerable to the spread offense and the flow of the Ole Ball Coach's play selection.  But along the way early was a communication problem that would eventually eliminate all first half timeouts in the first two possessions.  With early field position advantages, South Carolina could only muster 10 points on five early favorable possessions.  A combination of impatience and learned patience allowed the host team to draw even as they awaited self inflicted damage to the USC squad to draw even at 10-10 at the half.

After an opening play 80 yard vertical touchdown to Alshon Jeffery from Stephen Garcia,[video] USC botched the extra point and took a short lived 16-10 led and brief, very brief momentum.  On the ensuing possession, Arkansas regained control of the game and the Gamecock's vision, steering and direction, guiding them further off course with a stronger effort, precision passing, hard running, firm blocking and patient play calling taking only what was offered and cashing in on ever opening.  First to regain the lead, 17-16, immediately driving down the field on the accuracy and decision making of Ryan Mallett, who had a career day passing, with only 4 incompletions and 329 yards, 11-12 in the second half.  The Gamecocks then swerved and sputtered with having each successful play countered by interceptions, bad snaps, dropped passes, over throws, missed tackles, bad angles and penalties.  Did I forget to mention that Mallett was able to count on good blocking and a near mistake free second half from his teammates.  The two different executions allowed the Razorbacks to score the final 23 points to derail the Gamecocks.

Damage assessment, "severe", as the cost of this major collision may result in a "total loss" season.  The damaging pileup was so severe that under the shattered frame was an official unveiling of Bryce Sherman, the 5'6" wingback who was able to cut, scoot and run his way into a viable roll on this team's game plan every week.  His efforts were often one, blocker one cut away from carrying the distance on a few very impressive gainers for the struggling Cocks.  Garrett Chisolm will not be noticed due to the amount of damage that will be seem to both the offense and the defense, but the first time starter at left guard played with often precise jab to his opponent defensive linemen and was seen getting clearly beat only once during the entire game.  These potential shining stars will be overlooked by the bigger story, a Gamecock Unit in the ditch.  There will be no celebration for Garcia passing Mike Hold, Garry Harper and Ron Bass to become the 11th all-time passer in USC history with 327 yards with little points productivity to accompany the gains.

The Defense and Offense will take on critics, but they entered this trip without Cliff Matthews, Chris Culliver, Jarriel King and Jarrett Burns, as starting regulars who could have possibly helped to steady the unit.  Nonetheless, the game plan was good, defensive calls were good, the player executions were horrible, it is as simple as that.  You don't have to talk about the play calling, just talk about execution.  And please spare me from the coaching criticisms, nobody was out coached, just out played.  Right now, the Gamecocks have a workable road map, but when the players hit the field you can identify their self imposed damage of miscuses, mistakes, lack of effort and energy, to several players driving recklessly.  Well, it's back to driver's ed...ok, the practice field and finding a way to get back on the road to success against a real tropical storm coming out of the gulf in the Florida Gators.  The storm category of the Florida Gators may just be too strong for USC to steady it's unit and get it back on track.  As we discussed two weeks ago, this journey is extremely hazardous for the Gamecocks.

Friday, November 6, 2009

Sportsmanship Has Reached An All Time Low

Elizabeth Lambert is a college football defender playing for New Mexico in the Women’s Mountain West Conference college tournament. In the game against Brigham Young University (BYU), things got a little rough with Elizabeth. Things got so rough that she earned the nickname Elizabeth “cheap-shot” Lambert. Seriously, words can’t describe what she has done. So, here’s the video of the event: [Link]

Watch this video and tell me if you have seen any greater violation in college sports this year.  While many players have been suspended from football and basketball in the last year for unsportsmanlike conduct,  this video of the Ladies BYU vs New Mexico takes the lead for most blatant abuse of sportsmanship in college, including LaGarrette Blount of Oregon during his post game cheap shot.

New Mexico has suspended their soccer player for several plays in a Mountain West Conference semifinal that have drawn some unwanted attention to the tournament. Elizabeth Lambert, a junior defender, is shown in video highlights throwing elbows, taking out BYU players at the legs and finally yanking BYU forward Kassidy Shumway to the ground with a tug to Shumway's ponytail.

Talk about "Lack of Institutional Control!"

USC's Young Talent Appears To Be Ready For 2009-2010 Season

While Sam Muldrow stole the scoring show with 17 points, Devan Downey seemed ready to assume his leadership role and become the extension to Head Coach Darrin Horn on the floor.  The exhibition game, between USC and Kentucky Wesleyan (Div II) was just that, it was an opportunity for the coaching staff to place their young talent, and I do mean talent, on the floor in true college competitive exhibition.  The result was a display of raw talent, a glimpse of aggressive defense, a lot of movement without the ball, a few nice moves, a couple of dunks, some aerial highlights and a touch of energy in certain transitions.

On display was the newcomers, 6-5 Fr. Lakeem Jackson, a solid athlete who is capable of playing small forward and big guard, great elevation and appears to really like attacking the glass.  Fr. Ramon Galloway, at 6-1, is a leaper and displays tremendous speed, awkward shot technique, but appears to score the basketball with confidence.  Both Players can defend on the perimeter and will make the Horn pressure schemes very effective with Downey and Dominique Archie lurking in passing lanes.  In the post, junior college transfer, Johndre Jefferson offered extreme promise with his vertical foot speed and half court quickness at 6-9.  Jefferson is quick off the floor around the glass as evident by his 6 rebounds in 15 minutes.  Jefferson's balance and athleticism should also support the defensive rotation and allow Coach Horn to maintain his desired defensive schemes that are often requiring pressure from full and mid-range.

The nights entertainment for this writer was the quarterback style of Downey, reading the defense, watching the progression and offering often pinpoint accurate passes in very attractive scoring positions to players throughout the contest.  I know it was an exhibition, but these were Division II college athletes who were talented as well.  The effort only provided Devan with 7 assists, but the passes were delivered in positions that will produce 11-15 dimes once this group fully recognizes the vision of its team and court leader.  Another point of reference for fans interested in the Gamecock basketball team is that Coach Horn has given a tremendous amount of latitude in shot selection to the players, which appears to let them feel good on the floor in transition.  Once these players learn how to play together, the synergy of veterans, Downey, Archie, Muldrow, Mike Holmes, Brandis Raley Ross, Evaldas Baniulis, Austin Steed and Robert Wilder engaged with the first year sensations Jackson, Galloway, Jefferson and Stephen Spinella a heralded pure shooter at 6-4, the Cocks should be ready to play with a chip on their shoulder for be placed in the SEC Eastern Division 4th spot in the preseason ranking to include a recent sports poll that placed them 66th in the country.  Let's not forget a Division I 6-6 transfer, Malik Cooke, that will sit out this year, but will have the opportunity to assist in practice in making his teammates better and in the game preparations.  Cooke was a starter last year for Nevada, before returning home to South Carolina.

While it appeared that the energy level was down, a few things are clear once the house is packed with the Garnet Army and the real basketball faithfuls, this team has the ability to repeat the early success of the 2008-2009 squad, but they should be able to extend the success with the legs and length offered by the new additions to the unit.  The problem for the coaches, distribution of minutes to a lot of quality players.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Scientifically Opposites Attract, Does This Work For USC Football?

We have been taught and some have witnesses that opposites attract, if this is true then the annual rivalry of South Carolina versus Clemson should prove to be a very attractive ticket.  Going into this weekend, the Cocks were the #21 team in the country, with the 3-4 Tennessee Volunteers hosting their visit to Knoxville, then disrupting the Gamecock visit with a 31-13 win and with the 4-4 Arkansas waiting on them next week after destroying Eastern Michigan 63-27 Saturday and the top ranked Florida Gators coming to Columbia in two weeks, the Cocks are not playing any team with an opportunity to carry an advantage.  While Clemson, following it's strong overtime victory over then # 10 Miami in south Florida, last week, now starts to close it's schedule as the favorite in each of it's contest against Sub-Division Coastal Carolina, which they trounced 49-3 without really playing their key skill players after the first half, with a meeting at home next week with struggling Florida State (4-4), at NC State (3-5) next and returning home to host Virginia (3-5). 

Clemson is poised and positioned to finish first in the Coastal Division of the ACC and play in the ACC championship game, where the Gamecocks just relinquished the SEC Eastern Division crown to Florida with it's loss to Tennessee Saturday.  South Carolina could possibly finish with 3 consecutive losses, while the Tigers could finish with 4 consecutive wins from NCAA week 8  up to week 13 when the two in-state institutions meet in the hostile and festive rivalry.

The tale of two programs, the tale of two halves of a season, the tale of two seasons will be on observation right up to the the Thanksgiving week.  But for now, each program is as opposite of the other as teams can be after this weekend.  Don't expect any sympathy for either program by the supporting faithful, but this season could find formerly 21st ranked South Carolina in an unranked status, struggling for Bowl respectability, playing against a once criticized Clemson Tiger team, now sporting a division title and ranked coming to Columbia on November 28th.  Both seasons taking opposite directions in the same year.  Not to include the young inexperienced first year Coach Dabo Swinney, plotting against the Ole Ball Coach, Steve Spurrier, once acclaimed as an offensive genius for his history in developing offensive schemes that resurrected programs and won conference (7) and national titles (1), at Duke and Florida.  We always say through out the records when this game comes around, and it will be no different this year as the records will not truly tell the story of the challenges for both programs during the season and the effort that should be placed on the field for this annual Bragging Rights event in South Carolina.

South Carolina Has Early Wreck In Knoxville

Well history said the journey would be tough, looking back this final stretch for the Gamecocks was an obvious adventure, to say the least.  But with the rock slide on I-40 last week already causing an inconvenient routing adjustment, Steve Spurrier and the Cocks were well aware of the 1-13 USC record in Knoxville, the recent controversial Tennessee loss by 2 points against then #1 Alabama, a Tennessee defense even more stout than the highly ranked USC defense, a Stephen Garcia led offense that is ranked 8th in the conference and 91st nationally and one of the lowest "red zone" efficiencies in the SEC.  Yes you get the idea, the route to victory and keeping a promising season alive was lined with additional obstacles, road blocks, caution signals and hazards.  Well the horror of this night was evident when the Vols returned to the field wearing black jerseys and orange pants, to denote the Halloween theme and the threat of ghost, goblins and nightmares.

The game started with USC winning the coin toss and the election to take the ball first.  With a drive moving and appearing to move the chains, TE Justin Cunningham fumbled his first reception, a first down catch, following a powerful hit which provided Head Coach Lane Kiffin and the Vols their first offensive series from the USC 43, 2 plays later a UT touchdown.  On the ensuing possession, Kenny Miles  fumbled on second down at the USC 27 yard line, after a six yard gain.  It took the Vols 8 plays, but again Vols score a touchdown.   On the fourth possession, Garcia chose to run the ball and stick his head in on a large gain, rather than go down and cover up, another hat on the ball causes the third first half fumble and gives the ball back to the Rocky Top Goblins who score ten plays later on fourth and two.  The Gamecocks could only muster middle of the field movement after that and had to settle for a 47 yard field goal, Spencer Lanning's career long.  With three fumbles in USC territory resulting in 3 touchdowns the Gamecocks were at best driving a bang up jalopy to the locker room, at the half.  Even when Stephon Gilmore caused a fumble on the Vol QB, Jonathan Crompton in the first quarter, the team from South Carolina found the football to be like a ghost, "now you see it, now you don't".  USC DB Shaq Wilson extended to retrieve the ball, in what appeared to be an easy turnover recovery, saw the ball disappear and ended up under the sacked and fumbling Crompton.

The second half started with a Vols three and out possession, and USC mounted a drive that could only get inside the red zone and had to settle for another Lanning field goal.  But, Tennessee quickly regroups and sustains it's longest touchdown drive of the evening with a 56 yard 5 play scoring attack fueled by the running of Montario Hardesty, who had a highlight night with 121 yards on 23 carries.  With score 28-6, the Gamecocks found a big play drive, going 77 yards in 3 plays with a 23 yard run by Miles and a 23 catch by Weslye Saunders.  The drive was capped with a 31 yard scoring strike to Moe Brown.  The drive would be the last thing to cheer about for the Cocks.  Any USC momentum shift and comeback was basically chased from the stadium when Garcia shot a high bullet on a 5 yard dump off to Miles that was intercepted by Vol LB Greg King.  With both defenses offering grit and hits, the Vols basically sealed the contest with 4:23 to go with a 39 yard field goal.  The final score was determined 31-13 Volunteers.

So what happened?  On a rainy Halloween night the Black and Orange Vols released tremendous energy from the defense designed by Monte Kiffin, Defensive Coordinator.  The key goons and goblins were true freshman DB, Janzen Jackson (15), senior NT Dan Williams (55), senior LB Rico McCoy (5), who caused two of the three fumbles, including 10 tackles, junior LB Savion Frazier (43),  and All American Junior SS, Eric Berry (14).   As always another solid rushing performance by a SEC running back against the South Carolina.  Failure to wrap up and secure tackles led to a potential superlative weekend for the senior RB, Hardesty, whose churning running style led to a 5.3 yards per carry night.  While the turnovers will loom as the obvious reason for the loss.  It was the defensive energy early by the elder Kiffin's defense that set the short field advantage for the Vols and made the game the perceived lopsided event.  My assessment of the football contest is that the aforementioned Tennessee stars were just like a "rock slide", rolling down it's terrain, destroying everything in it's path.  In this case, it was the USC offense, that never had a chance to get any momentum to get up the mountain, before the orange and black rocks and boulders began to fall and roll with fierce force and from very unsuspecting angles, a characteristic of a Monte Kiffin defense.

The real nightmare for the Gamecocks may not be the ghost, ghouls and goblins of Rocky Top but the internal injuries, first downs negated by alignment and motion penalties, a 81 yard touchdown return wiped out by a slight block in the back that had nothing to do with the play, as Gilmore's return was lost to what eventually you can call a 90 yard penalty.  The damage to this team is not just the loss, by the loss of Cliff Matthews for at least a week if not more with what appears to be a dislocated shoulder.  While this loss does not end the season nor guarantee anything but a third loss, it exposes the level of challenge and the prospects of another season ending crash of nationally ranked season that has the team projected as the underdog in its final 4 games of the season, where only one of those teams is ranked.  Remember the Vols entered this game displaying a 3-4 record.  Easily making them the best 3-4, now 4-4, team in the country.  With there remaining schedule revealing teams of less stature that South Carolina, Tennessee looks prime for a fantastic finish, while the Cocks look for answers to an accident proned offense and a battered defense.

The good news for USC, the freshman and younger players on this team are confident that the engine is still good, that the vehicle can be repaired in a week and will be ready to make the next leg of this journey to complete the season on a, often allusive and seemingly improbable, winning note against the toughest part of the season's journey.  Saturday's nightmare collision with the Vols presented tremendous damage to the South Carolina unit, but with only one player loss and only one game decided the season still has hope, but there is an obvious apprehension about the successful future of what appears to be talented team heading in the wrong direction.

Final Stats    Video Quotes

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Don't Miss Another Game, Get ESPN 360 Today

Now you can see all the games you've been missing.  ESPN offers live internet viewing of games through it's ESPN 360 feature. is available at no charge to fans who receive their high-speed internet connection from an affiliated internet service provider. is also available to fans that access the internet from U.S. college campuses and U.S. military bases.

However Fans you can register for ESPN 360 while visiting any Barnes & Nobles or local McDonald's Restaurant. ESPN 360 is a cool way to view games that are not televised, via the internet.  It is really simple, just take your laptop to any local Barnes & Noble or McDonald's and connect to their open access WiFi.  At that point open Internet Explorer and Go to  Once on the site, register and set up a free ESPN account, then go to ESPN 360 and activate the service under your new account information.  Once activated then Click the tab that is labeled Remote Access, activate the remote access and you are now ready to go home or anywhere to view ESPN 360.  You will then be a member of the ESPN family and will be able to access the ESPN 360 anywhere you have internet access, regardless of provider.  If ever prompted to select Internet Provider, always select AT&T, including during this setup process.  This process can be done at any friend or family's house that has AT&T internet provider service, as well.

Don't miss another game you want to see, because of regional programming decisions, although periodically, blackout may apply, but the game can be viewed after the scheduled programming time through the ESPN 360 archive library.  Enjoy all the games you've been missing in the past, ESPN is making it possible.

Friday, October 30, 2009

South Carolina High School League Announces New Internet TV Site

SCHSL, PlayON! Sports forge partnership to create Digital Sports Network

Atlanta, GA – October 30, 2009 – The South Carolina High School League (SCHSL) and PlayON! Sports (PlayON) jointly announced the launch of the SCHSL Network, a partnership providing multi-platform distribution of South Carolina high school sports content. Unprecedented postseason coverage of all South Carolina sports, beginning in Fall 2009, will be made available to fans in a variety of live and on-demand formats across television, broadband, DVD, and download-to-own.

"The SCHSL is excited to partner with PlayON! Sports to showcase high school sporting events in South Carolina,” said Jerome Singleton, Commissioner of SCHSL. “These productions will allow our fans greater access to these high school events and will create lasting memories for the participants and their families.”

The new internet portal for the SCHSL Network,, will host all events produced through the partnership. Many events will be streamed live, and all events will be archived and available on demand. There will be no charge for fans to view the streamed content. “We are building a library of content that will allow students, families, and communities to have access to their school’s sports programs, plus showcasing student athletes in a manner that was not possible before,” said David Rudolph, CEO of PlayON! Sports.

The initial archived content contains prior-year playoff and championship events in football, basketball, and competitive cheer. Inaugural events for the 2009 season are the Volleyball State Championships on Saturday, November 7; Competitive Cheer State Championships on Saturday, November 21; and the Football State Championships on November 27 and December 4 – 5. All of these events will be available live and on-demand at

Another component of the SCHSL Network is the opportunity for SCHSL member schools to utilize PlayON! Sports’ proprietary software for coverage of their regular season and region tournament events. This content will be featured on the portal as well. Says Rudolph, “Schools can leverage the PlayON platform to create their own content, provide educational opportunities for their students, generate more exposure for their student-athletes, and provide unique digital advertising opportunities for their sponsors. We are rolling this program out immediately and plan to have an initial group of schools producing and broadcasting their games during the winter sports season.” Schools will be able to create links on their respective websites to directly access their own school page on the portal.

Inaugural Events at

2009 Class A Volleyball State Championship – Saturday, November 7, 11:00am

2009 Class AA Volleyball State Championship – Saturday, November 7, 1:30pm

2009 Class AAA Volleyball State Championship – Saturday, November 7, 4:00pm

2009 Class AAAA Volleyball State Championship – Saturday, November 7, 6:30pm
Competitive Cheer

2009 Class A/AA Competitive Cheer State Championship – Saturday, November 21, 11:00 am

2009 Class AAA Competitive Cheer State Championship – Saturday, November 21, 1:15 pm

2009 Class AAAA Competitive Cheer State Championship – Saturday, November 21, 3:30pm

2009 Class A – Division II Football State Championship – Friday, November 27, 12:00pm

2009 Class A – Division I Football State Championship – Friday, November 27, 3:00pm

2009 Class AAAA – Division II Football State Championship – Friday, December 4, 8:00pm

2009 Class AAAA – Division I Football State Championship – Saturday, December 5, 12:00pm

2009 Class AA Football State Championship – Saturday, December 5, 3:00pm

2009 Class AAA Football State Championship – Saturday, December 5, 6:00pm
About PlayON! Sports:

PlayON! Sports is an Atlanta-based digital media company and technology provider specializing in the production, distribution, and monetization of professional-quality, low-cost video content. PlayON! Sports’ proprietary technology platform includes video production capabilities and a multiplatform distribution system. For more information, contact PlayON! Sports at , or visit
About South Carolina High School League (SCHSL):

The South Carolina High School League (SCHSL) is a voluntary organization dedicated to formulating and maintaining policies that safeguard the educational values of interscholastic competition, cultivating high ideals of sportsmanship, developing and directing programs which promote, protect and conserve the health and physical welfare of all participants and promote uniformity of standards in all interscholastic competition. For more information, contact SCHSL at, or visit