Center Court: Upstate Basketball Insider – Episode 15 – 02/25/2015

Jason Patterson: Hello Spartan fans. Welcome
to Center Court: Upstate Basketball Insider for our latest edition of the inside look
at Upstate hoops. Alongside, as always, is coach Eddie Payne. Coach, you’re coming off
another road trip through the Sunshine State, those are familiar this time of year, and
you split the two games. A win on the road at Stetson and then you fall to Florida Gulf
Coast. Look back on the week that was and walk us through where your team sits right
now as we come down the home stretch in conference play. Eddie Payne: Well, the first game on
the road was Stetson and anytime you play on the road, a win is a great thing and we
played fairly well in that game, fairly consistently throughout the game, didn’t have any bad stretches.
Worked to get the lead early in the game and ran them out of the zone. It was the first
time in several games we played against man-to-man. They tried to pressure us and get up into
us and we handled it fairly well. We had, I thought, a couple short stretches where
we didn’t move the ball well but all in all, we performed well, particularly late in the
game and took a ten point lead and pushed it out to 20 in the last five, six minutes.
Jason: Let’s take a look back at those two contests. First, the game on the road at Stetson,
then the battle with Florida Gulf Coast. You mentioned the ability to pull away down
the stretch at Stetson, what were the things you felt like, as a basketball team, you did
very well in that contest? Eddie Payne: Well there was a period of time offensively where
we had guys trying to make plays and we got down to about the five minute mark and we
had a good margin. We just talked about, “let’s just move the ball. We’re in the bonus, make
them chase us, we’ll shoot free throws,” and it kind of like transformed their mindset
a little bit. We’re not necessarily trying to shoot, we’re just trying to move the ball.
Well, when that happened, guess what happened? We started getting layups and broke them down
defensively so we made that mental shift, if you will, at least the players did. I was
thinking, we need to do this, but when that happened, it enabled us to open up the game.
Jason: The win in DeLand puts Upstate in position where a win on senior night could clinch a
home playoff game in the first round of the conference tournament. Then you travel a little
farther south, a very physical game against Florida Gulf Coast and Ty Greene leads the
way for you once again down there with over 30 points. Eddie: Yeah Ty played exceptionally
well. They beat him up pretty bad and we’re a little upset about the way teams have been
playing him. Gulf Coast consciously, purposely tried to be physical with Ty. Maybe they hadn’t
been paying attention, I don’t think you can intimidate that young man but conversely though,
they played what appeared to be, what was said and described by people down there was
their best game of the year and really played well. Shot the ball well, we just had a hard
time stopping them. They were very proficient from the three point line, 48 percent or something
like that. A lot of deep threes, just played extremely well with Comer and Thompson and
Jones, their three senior guys that really were effective in that game. So, they’re better
than we are when they play like that and they certainly played exceptionally well. Jason:
Eagles putting things together and pulling away themselves in that second game of the
week. Some of your role players getting some big minutes in that game, we haven’t talked
a lot about Jacob Schulte yet on one of these shows, but he seems to be coming along in
playing time and really is a presence inside for you of late. Eddie: Jake has done an exceptional
job, particularly in light that he’s a freshman. In light of the fact that he’s not what you
would call a prolific offensive player. He’s a tough kid, though, he’s a good position
player, he’s a good rebounder. He fits in with the offense in terms of how it flows.
He can give us something when people spread us by guarding the perimeter, he just does
a number of things that don’t show up in the box score that help us and he’s had a great
freshman year, I think. Jason: He’s one of the freshman certainly making a contribution.
Another of those role players really stepping up of late is Marvin Smith and Marvin was
nice enough to sit down with us in our Get to Know Your Spartan segment. Let’s check
in with Marvin. Marvin Smith: What’s up? I’m Marvin Smith, number two on the men’s basketball
Upstate Spartans team. I know I’m from Memphis, but I’m actually not an Elvis fan. Sad as
it may sound, I have not been to Graceland and my family members have not been to Graceland.
Every time I go out of town or do anything they always ask me the same question you just
asked me. “Am I an Elvis fan? Have I been to Graceland?” I always say no. The best BBQ
out of Memphis, South Carolina, North Carolina, I would have to go with Memphis because it’s
the hometown. My favorite spot to go to in Memphis is a small spot called A&R BBQ. Conference
in Kansas, the Jayhawk West Conference is actually one of the top JUCO conferences in
the world, so it was pretty competitive. If I could have a super power, I think it’d be
probably either I could fly or I could just zap myself to wherever I think about. Say
we were just in Florida and I was ready to come back to Spartanburg, I would tell one
of my teammates, I wish I could just zap back to Spartanburg. So that’d probably be my super
power. My dream vacation is to go anywhere outside the states because I haven’t left
the states yet so somewhere cool, relaxed, chill by the beach. I like to eat a lot. I
have a lot of favorite foods but I’ll say Honey Gold Wings and Rotel. I know that’s
two but I have to confine them somewhere so that’s probably my favorite meal. Jason: Thanks
Marvin. Always good to learn a little bit more about one of our Spartan athletes in
the Get to Know Your Spartan segment. We’ll break away, come back with more Center Court
in just a moment. “For 35 years, the Atlantic Sun Conference has supported it’s member institutions
and their commitment to the hard work, dedication, and determination of building winners for
life. As the A-Sun aggressively seeks to expand opportunities, it’s student-athletes, and
the institutions they represent, stand among the nation’s best in academics, athletics,
and service to their communities. At the A-Sun, the aim is the successful balance of student
and athlete. The Atlantic Sun Conference at it’s best, “Building Winners for Life.”
Jason: Welcome back to Center Court. We continue now with a look at the women’s basketball
program and coach Tammy George enters with us to visit with us as always. Coach, a disappointing
week, you’re up against the top tier of the Atlantic Sun Conference, but you have to be
pleased that here you are, going into the final week of the regular season, very much
in the fight for a home game in the first round of the tournament. Tammy George: Yeah,
again, we’re just taking it one game at a time, as we’ve said all year long. Each game
is so important when you’re separated between 3rd and 6th or 7th like that with one game,
so each game is important. I do feel like it’s still in our hands, we’re in a good spot.
Would you have taken where you sit right now if they had told you at the beginning of the
season, this is where you’d be with a chance to host a home game? Tammy: I would like for
a better situation, but yeah, I’ll take it right now in the situation that we are in.
Jason: Let’s talk about these past two games. You faced teams that has given everybody trouble
in the Atlantic Sun Conference this year, but I thought you fought real well and especially
the taste that you left in everyone’s mouth here in the Hodge Center on Saturday night,
really battling Florida Gulf Coast, an unbeaten team in the conference, right down to the
wire. Tammy: Yeah, again, this is like you said, two top teams for everybody else as
well and I just felt like we did, especially on Saturday, I felt like we competed and we
kept it around a 10 point game and it seems like every time we got close, they would hit
a big three to push it back up but I told our kids after the game that I was really
proud of them, they really competed. I feel like we’re playing really well right now.
Again, we’re playing some very good competition, but I think we might be peaking a little bit
so I’m very excited where we are and the situation that we have these last two games. Jason:
Well if you could pick a moment you were going to peak, this would be it. Tammy: That would
be correct. Jason: Your three usual suspects were involved again this week. Sharmayne Edwards
just continues to make the best of her senior season. Starling showed up big in that game
on Saturday and Brittany Clency really stepped up, especially early. Tammy: And that’s good
to see. Starling and Sharmayne have been key all year long but it’s good to see Clency
start to step up a little bit. I felt like she played really, really well and I’m pretty
sure, not 100 percent sure, but I think she played about 40 minutes that game and handled
the ball and scored for us and that’s good to see. I think that’s a little bit of a key
role that she did for us last year so it’s good to see her stepping up into that role
a bit more and take a little bit of a load off Sharmayne and help out Starling and getting
in the scoring column. Jason: Well you play two tough contests like you did and you play
as well as you did, we felt like, those of us who watched on Saturday, what do you say
to them in the locker room after a game like that in preparation for what’s to come? Tammy:
You know, just this was really good for us and I think there is something you can take
from a loss and we took away that we competed. Again, like I said earlier, I like where we
are right now. Everybody has struggled with these two teams but I felt like we competed,
made it a game. We were maybe a little bit of a threat and I just like where we are.
It’s a good time to be peaking, like you said, and just keep our heads up and everyday just
try to get better and better and good things will happen to us. Jason: Your journey with
even better seeding this week begins with a trip to the Music City, break down Lipscomb
and that basketball game for us. Tammy: Well, you know, it was a close one here. The start
of the conference season was here against Lipscomb and, they’re a very good basketball
team. They fight and play hard and they can shoot the basketball. They have a lot of threats
from the outside, they got two very good basketball players in Fothergill and Ashley Southern
so it’ll be a challenge for us on the road. We have to defend the three point line and
hopefully we can score on the other end. Jason: I know as a coach that you don’t like to look
too far ahead but we won’t visit with you again until after that Northern Kentucky game,
it looks like it’s all going to come down to that contest as far as maybe a home game,
break down the Norse for us who are eligible for conference tournament play this year.
Tammy: Well hopefully we’ll come out on top Wednesday and if it does boil down, it’ll
be good to be at home. I think we’ve played very well at home, I like where we are and
I like that match-up. We’ve struggled with them in the past. We almost pulled an upset
up there at their place and they’ll be fresh in our kids minds and, again, being at home,
senior night, and those kind of things. I think all of those things will play in effect.
I like our odds. Jason: Is there one thing you’re going to look for this week as a tell-tale
sign of how ready your team is to play and how prepared you are for these games? Tammy:
Again, I want them to keep competing, just go out and fight, just play hard and I feel
like we’re doing that right now and that’s really pleasing to me. I think if you can
get them to do those things, the little things, all those other things will take care of themselves.
Jason: Tammy George and this basketball team, they’ve made it interesting going into the
last week of conference play to say the least. You’ll want to keep up with everything related
to their program on the road Wednesday, at and then we’ll have, of
course, the live broadcast on Saturday of the regular season finale. Congratulations
on a good season so far coach, all the best this week. Tammy: Thank you. Jason: We’ll
be back with more Center Court right after the break. Taylor Smith: People know you and
they get to know you on a personal level and they know your abilities. Dr. Abraham Goldberg:
And this is really a place where I have seen, and I mean this, this is a place where I’ve
seen students come here and really try to figure out who it is that they are. Sandy
Vang: Is this what I want to do for the rest of my life and I think every college kid goes
through that, but being here at Upstate and being a part of so many different programs,
I know what my purpose is and I can say that with confidence. Taylor: You don’t get lost
in the crowd at Upstate. “USC Upstate is a place where people can discover themselves.”
Jason: Welcome back to Center Court, Coach Payne remains with us and coach, this is your
Inside the Game segment. Usually, we take a moment to break a play down here but what
we want to do this week with it being a special week, Senior Day coming up on Wednesday night,
we’ve got to break down the impact of these seniors. Are there words in the English language
that can communicate the kind of impact Fred Miller, Mario Blessing and Ty Greene have
had on this program? Eddie: Well I just think you described it. They came in as freshmen.
They were all freshmen, they were all guards. We’d won five games the year before with a
pretty good crew of players but none of them were guards, Torrey Craig, Ricardo Glenn,
Jodd Maxey and those guys. So we went from five wins to 21 wins and it was with all freshmen
guards which is, other than Kentucky, maybe, it doesn’t happen, very unusual. Win 21 games,
have the best turnaround in the country and those kids brought toughness and good, heady
play, and all those things to the table pretty much as soon as they got here. Then if we
win a few more games, they’ll finish their careers averaging 20 wins per season throughout
their career. Now, that’s pretty special and along the way, they’re really special kids.
They haven’t caused us any problems, they’re doing things they’re supposed to do. They
get in the gym and work, they set an example, they’ve been good leaders. From a coaching
perspective, you couldn’t ask for more than what they have done for our team and this
program and certainly we’re going to honor them but we’re going to miss them a lot too.
Jason: Speaks to their impact that this will not be their final home game, you would think,
if they’re able to take care of business down the stretch. They have a chance to have another
postseason game here in the Atlantic Sun Conference. Coach, one more thing then we’ll ask you about
those three. I know they’re very special to you as individuals. What will you share with
them as they go into senior night? Eddie: I won’t talk a whole lot about “the night”
until the night, the celebration occurs. We’ll talk about preparing and trying to keep them
focused on that stuff and we’ll reflect after it’s over. I think they will embrace that.
We approach the game as a big game because it’s our next game and try to keep focused
on our assignments and our duties but I won’t get nostalgic until afterwards. Jason: Then
the nostalgia well come. Certainly an emotional night as three very important pieces to the
puzzle in this Upstate program will play here one final time in a regular season fashion.
One of those seniors is the focus of our Spartanburg Regional Medicine injury report and that’s
Ty Greene. He’s maybe the toughest guy on this basketball team but he was a little banged
up coming back from South Florida. Walk us through his health. Eddie: Well they were
running up under him when he shot his jump shots and they have a freshman that got up
under him and he came down and landed on his foot and rolled his ankle and it’s a pretty
good ankle sprain so he gets three shots. He says he’s okay to shoot them because we
wanted him to shoot them because then they can pick whoever they want to shoot them.
So he makes two out of three, fortunately he makes the last one and we can get him out
of the game. Sandy takes him in there and wraps him up. Then he comes back after that
and ends up with 31 points. I think he’s going to play on senior night but he had a fairly
significant ankle sprain but, as he does with everything, he’s right on it. He’s getting
treatment three, four, five times a day. That young man, from a preparation standpoint,
as well as a playing standpoint, puts all he’s got into it. That’s why he’s as good
as he is. Jason: Never takes a play off, does he? Eddie: Nah, Ty’s a special player. Jason:
Time for our creative segment on this edition of Center Court. Let’s check in, as always,
with Alex Love. Alex Love: I’m Alex Love reporting for Center Court and I’m here in the Jazzman’s
Cafe here on campus with my new friend, Evan. Evan, how are you today? Evan: I’m good, how
are you? Alex: I’m doing well, thank you. So, February is known for Black History Month
and we’re going around campus wanting to ask students, who would you say is the most inspirational
behind the African American Civil Rights Movement and why would that be? Evan: In my opinion,
it would be W.E.B DuBois. His outlook on how America should function with a new African
American population in it, I think a lot could be said for it and it’s really influential
and he had a really good outlook on what you can achieve together as a people.
>>I guess I would just say Martin Luther King for obvious reasons, of course.
>>I would have to say Martin Luther King Jr. just for his massive contribution to the Civil
Rights Movement during the 1960s. Alex: In Black History Month, who would you say is
the most influential leader throughout American black history, and why would that be? Jasmine:
I think I would have to go with my idol, Oprah Winfrey. She was the first African American
to be on the Forbes billionaire list so I think, not even just about the money, she
is just very influential just to all African-American women, to all African-American people so I
would have to say Oprah Winfrey, Alex. Alex: A woman who cares and is a billionaire, I’m
Alex Love reporting for Center Court. Jason: And now we ask Coach Payne to break down the
two upcoming games in this final week of the regular season. It will be Lipscomb here at
home, as we’ve documented on senior night and then on the road to finish things up against
Northern Kentucky. Coach, it couldn’t be any bigger than these two. I know we talk about
it every week, they’re all big, but now you’re really fighting for the positioning in the
Atlantic Sun Standings. Eddie: Well Lipscomb’s been a dangerous team all year, they’re a
good team. They beat us, obviously, up there by two I think it was. They’ve got a key player
back in Martin Smith is his name. There’s two brothers on that team, Marvin and Martin.
Martin’s an additional perimeter shooting threat and that’s how they play and that’s
what makes them so dangerous. They spread you out and they can make threes on you so
with that young man back in the lineup, they’re even more potent. So that’ll be a real, real
challenge for us and then Northern Kentucky’s been playing really well, particularly at
home, a very good team at home. So, those are two big challenges as you finish up the
regular season. Jason: Spartans will try to avenge that loss on the road in Nashville
and send the seniors out on a very positive note in their final regular season home game.
You can come out and let these seniors know how much you appreciate their time on campus.
Coach, as always, we appreciate your time and wish you the best in this final week of
the regular season. Eddie: Thank you, Jason. Jason: Now it’s time for us to tally your
votes in our Social Media Play of the Week. Surviving from a week ago, the solid defensive
effort by a number of different players on the men’s team and it will be up against Sharmayne
Edwards who sliced her way through the lane in an outstanding performance from last weeks
women’s basketball action. Again, you will tweet to @Upstate Spartans, using the hashtag
#CCTopPlay and let us know which play you hope survives for the next edition of Center
Court. Heading into the final week of the regular season, you’ll want to stay very close
to all the athletic information at to find out where both the men’s and women’s
team will be headed or who they’ll be hosting in the upcoming Atlantic Sun Conference tournament.
We’ll look forward to seeing you again on the next edition of Center Court: Upstate
Basketball Insider.

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