Sophomore center Chris Silva and redshirt sophomore TeMarcus Blanton have been cleared from a school standpoint and will return to South Carolina next week, coach Frank Martin said on Thursday.
“They’ll be on campus starting June 30,” Martin said at his Little Gamecocks camp. “They’ll be back in class for the second summer session. We’ll sit down and figure out what the next step is with them. They’ve paid a price.”
Silva and Blanton were two of five players Martin suspended before the NIT due to a conduct issue. He’s kept in touch with them throughout the suspension.
“I’m not into holding grudges and holding people down,” Martin said. “They’re in the good graces of our campus again, so when they get here, we’ll sit down and start talking basketball.”
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Martin also updated the rest of his team.
* The entire six-man recruiting class will be on campus by July. Kory Holden, Maik Kotsar and Sedee Keita have been here for a few weeks while Rakym Felder, Hassani Gravett and Khadim Gueye will be here by July 1.
Gueye was cleared early (he was thought to be an August enrollee), Gravett finished junior college on Wednesday and Felder graduates high school Friday. All will be on campus next week.
All but Holden and Kotsar will go through individual workouts and play in the S.C. Pro-Am (beginning July 10). Holden had a minor procedure to alleviate tendonitis in his left knee and Kotsar has a small stress fracture in his right foot, requiring him to wear a boot. He can lift and condition but can’t work out or play right now.
* Martin is recruiting to fill the vacant scholarship created by Marcus Stroman’s departure. He said he has four players in mind for the one spot.
Martin could go several ways in filling it -- taking a graduate transfer or junior-college player to play right away, or taking a transfer like Holden and having him available beginning in 2017-18.
“We’re still recruiting to see if there’s anything there that might be worth taking,” Martin said. “And if not, we’ll go into the year with 12 guys and a couple of walk-ons and make the best of it.”
* Former forward Michael Carrera has worked out for seven NBA teams and was hoping for a draft selection Thursday. If not, he could be picked up as a free agent.
“To know that one of our guys is in that conversation is exciting for our program,” Martin said. “He’s in great spirits, as he always is. Truth be told, you don’t need 32 teams or whatever to like you, you need one general manager to believe in you.”
* Brian Steele will stay on staff as a graduate manager. He was a student assistant coach last season after knee injuries derailed his senior year before it started.
“He’s phenomenal,” Martin said. “He just loves what he’s doing. He’s good at it, and he’s great with kids.”
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