Junior guard Evan Hinson will focus on football and will no longer play with the Gamecocks in basketball, the school announced Wednesday.
Hinson saw action in 46 career games on the court and was part of the team’s 2017 Final Four squad. He is on scholarship for football but came to USC with the goal to play for both Frank Martin and Will Muschamp.
“I want to thank both Coach Martin and Coach Muschamp for supporting me and giving me the opportunity to play basketball and football here at Carolina,” Hinson said in a statement. “I couldn’t be more grateful for the basketball experiences I’ve had here, and that is thanks to the staff and my teammates who accepted and helped me from day one.”
Following USC’s 85-73 loss to No. 1 Tennessee on Wednesday in Knoxville, Martin provided some background on Hinson’s decision.
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“The practice before Arkansas, he wasn’t really engaged in practice,” Martin said. “Something wasn’t right. It’s his third year with us, so I have a pretty good feel for him. We played the game (last Saturday) and then we were off Sunday.
“And then Monday, my objective was to call him and say, ‘Yo, Ev, everything all right?’ Before I reached out him, he said, ‘I need to come see you.’ We talked on Monday and we spoke again yesterday. Obviously Will Muschamp was engaged in those talks.
“I understand, man. His clock’s ticking. We had senior tight ends on the team this year. There’s an opportunity for him to to be a starting tight end. He’s been doing this year-round for three years. He wanted to rest his body for 10, 12 days before (spring) camp starts for them.
“It hurts us, but when you take on a young man that’s a football player on your team, that’s something you gotta be prepared for.”
Hinson started 17 games last season, but only logged 10.1 minutes a contest. He averaged 2.7 points. Hinson had less of a role this season, seeing just over nine minutes a game off the bench after joining the team in December.
Because he’s on scholarship for football, the basketball Gamecocks are still at their 13 scholly limit for next season.
A 6-foot-4, 230-pound tight end, Hinson has two years of eligibility remaining for Muschamp. Hinson has made one career catch.
Hinson will have the opportunity to break through at the tight end position for the Gamecocks in 2019.
K.C. Crosby and Jacob August have graduated. Kiel Pollard and Kyle Markway will be seniors. Will Register will be a sophomore, and USC signed two at the position in the 2019 class (Traevon Kenion, KeShawn Toney.)