South Carolina’s Martin given 2-year extension

South Carolina men’s basketball coach Frank Martin has received a two-year contract extension through the 2024-25 season.

The school’s board of trustees approved the deal Friday.

The move ends more than a month of questions about Martin’s future after the Gamecocks finished the season with a 6-15 record. They have not qualified for the NCAA tournament since Martin led them to the Final Four in 2017. The team also was placed on two years’ probation in February for bribes accepted by former assistant coach Lamont Evans.

Martin, 55, did not receive a raise — he’s set to make $3.2 million next season — and the university will not owe him a buyout if he is dismissed in the final two years of the deal. Martin also won’t owe the school if he leaves for another job during the final two seasons of the contract.

Martin, whose South Carolina teams have gone 153-134 in nine seasons (70-88 in SEC play), will make $3.3 million in each of the final three years of the contract.

The Gamecocks struggled last season in part due to the coronavirus. Martin twice tested positive for COVID-19, once in May and again in January. The team played just twice between Dec. 5 and Jan. 16 because of stoppages due to the pandemic.

Martin also could be coaching a vastly different team next season.

Four players — forwards Jalyn McCreary and Justin Minaya and guards TJ Moss and Trae Hannibal — have entered the transfer portal since the season ended with a 76-59 SEC tournament loss to Ole Miss on March 11.

Two additional players, starters Keyshawn Bryant and Jermaine Couisnard, have entered the NBA draft process. Neither has hired an agent, so they could return to college.

Martin picked up commitments from two transfers, Murray State guard Chico Carter Jr. and George Mason forward AJ Wilson.

Carter, who is from Columbia, averaged 12.7 points per game for the Racers last season. The 6-foot-7 Wilson enters as a graduate transfer and is George Mason’s career leader with 212 blocked shots.

The Gamecocks’ leading scorer, junior forward AJ Lawson, has not made his intentions known for next season. Lawson went through the draft process after his freshman season but returned to school. He was interested in the NBA after his sophomore season until the pandemic changed the process and he once more returned to campus.

Had the university fired Martin, it would have owed him $6.5 million — a hefty sum given the $12.9 million it paid dismissed football coach Will Muschamp to settle his contract.

Martin’s assistant coach Chuck Martin, no relation to the head coach, received a one-year contract that was approved by the trustees.

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