David Cloninger

Patience, prayer pay off for USC’s TeMarcus Blanton

South Carolina redshirt freshman Temarcus Blanton receives support from his teammates against Allen University during exhibition play Sunday afternoon at Colonial Life Arena.
South Carolina redshirt freshman Temarcus Blanton receives support from his teammates against Allen University during exhibition play Sunday afternoon at Colonial Life Arena. Special to The State

“One of the scariest moments of my life,” TeMarcus Blanton said. “Soon as I got out there, I was shaking.”

The nerves went away, Blanton grabbing a missed shot and scoring on his first touch on Sunday in the Gamecocks’ exhibition win over Allen. Better than that, there was no pain.

Blanton’s surgically repaired hip nixed his true freshman year. He didn’t know if he’d ever play again, since the injury on a basketball player was unique. There was no plan to follow to get him back on the court, just a lot of patience and prayer.

Each worked. Blanton feels the best he ever had, is starting to build his strength so he can practice every day without the hip stiffening – and he got to play.

He scored seven with three rebounds while playing six minutes. He may not start, but he’ll contribute. As much a part of the team as he was last year – Frank Martin says he’s never had a more positive guy in his locker room – he never got to pull on his uniform.

Now good luck getting him to take it off.

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