Across the court Thursday, South Carolina men’s basketball coach Frank Martin heard a familiar voice long-absent from practice.
There he was, in the flesh, guard Rakym Felder, fully enrolled and back with South Carolina basketball, coaching up the Gamecocks guards like he'd never left.
“We missed that,” Martin said.
Felder arrived Thursday, a few weeks after news broke he’d return to USC. Martin explained that while Felder, who wasn’t at school the past semester following legal trouble in the summer, won’t play this season, he’ll be on the bench at games and a part of the team. He still has some things that Martin wants him to do and be held accountable for before he makes it back on the court (those things might be revealed later on).
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“I could play him tomorrow if I wanted to,” Martin said. “We need a point guard. I can use his personality and I can use a point guard. It’s not the right thing to do.”
Martin emphasized Felder was already back in his good graces, but it will take something more to put on the uniform again.
Felder was suspended in mid-August after a July 13 arrest that according to police reports started with the Brooklyn, N.Y., native spitting on a woman, which started a “large brawl.” The charges have since been dropped.
That was Felder’s second suspension from the team. He also was arrested Oct. 23, 2016, after knocking one victim unconscious and assaulting a Columbia police officer after being tased, according to an incident report from the Columbia Police Department.
Felder averaged 5.6 points, 1.5 rebounds and 1.3 assists per game as a freshman last season, helping USC to the Final Four. The backup point guard posted nine double-figure scoring games, including a 15-point performance in Carolina’s upset of No. 2 seed Duke in the NCAA Tournament.