[image-1]Bobby Cremins reached the Final Four once in his prolific coaching career, but the legendary Georgia Tech and College of Charleston coach and South Carolina point guard never thought he’d see the Gamecocks where they are today.
Asked during an appearance today on the David Glenn Show if he thought he’d ever see his alma mater in the Final Four, Cremins said flatly, “No, I did not.” (Full audio below.) But he says he’ll be wearing his Gamecock colors while in Arizona for the Final Four. They begin play against Gonzaga on Saturday.
Cremins played at USC 1967-1970 under coach Frank McGuire before a long coaching career at Appalachian, Georgia Tech, and College of Charleston. He even briefly committed to coach at USC in 1993 before deciding to stay at Georgia Tech.
Here’s Cremins on Frank McGuire, who coached at USC 1964-1980, and Columbia:
“Frank McGuire brought basketball to the state of South Carolina … You know everyone who played at South Carolina, we all thought it was a sleeping giant. … The fan support is incredible, great facilities, a lovely city. And when all of the New Yorkers came down to play for Coach McGuire, the people there adopted us and we loved it there.”
Cremins credits, at least in some part, South Carolina’s home court advantage playing in the Palmetto State during the tournament with how they were able to overcome opponents like Duke.
“There’s no guarantees when you play close to home, sometimes it doesn’t help … But for some reason the Gamecocks fans came out in droves and you had the North Carolina fans pulling for South Carolina. It was a great atmosphere and they played great basketball and got that victory.”
But Cremins cautions the state of North Carolina, which prides itself as the college basketball holy land, to change direction on HB2, the issue which prompted the NCAAs to move early rounds from Charlotte to Greenville, or risk a similar fate as South Carolina, which for years was closed out of hosting NCAA events over the Confederate flag:
“North Carolina, you know, they better get their act together. South Carolina went through a different type of thing with the flag, and we all understood where South Carolinians were coming from, we told them how much money they were losing, [and] how stupid it was. And it took, you know, nine people being murdered in Charleston for that flag to come down, or else that game would have never been in Greenville, South Carolina. North Carolina has got to be smart about this thing, or else they’re going to be shut out, and that would be an absolute shame.”
Coach Cremins lets one of his old assistants vouch for USC Coach Frank Martin. Perry Clark coached with Cremins at Georgia Tech and was hired by Martin in 2013:
“Perry told me, from day one, ‘Frank Martin is a great guy. He’s intense, but he’s a great guy. He’s cares about his kids. And he’s one hell of a basketball coach.'”
Cremins says his money is on the North Carolina Tar Heels to win it all, but here’s his take on USC’s chances in the Final Four:
“If South Carolina stays in the game, they can beat anybody … There’s no certainty to any of this and I think that’s why it’s wonderful.”