Nothing’s going in, but he’s not coming out.
Duane Notice is locked into a funk bordering on the supernatural. While he’s usually been at his best as a bench player (2015-16 SEC Sixth Man of the Year), he was doing very well in a starting role this season.
He was the third or sometimes fourth scoring option on the floor behind Sindarius Thornwell, P.J. Dozier and take your pick of Chris Silva or Maik Kotsar. Notice could hit a big 3-pointer or finish a fast break for some points but they weren’t necessarily needed as South Carolina soared to an 8-0 start.
As Thornwell took a seat for six games, Notice scored 27 points against Florida International.
He has 40 points in six games since.
“Everybody goes through it,” Dozier said. “I have the utmost confidence in him, and our coaching staff and our team does. We know he can knock it down, he knows he can knock it down.”
Maybe, but Notice is having a hard time of it. Against Georgia the other night, he was 1-for-7 for two points. He even bricked both ends of a two-shot foul.
In a tight game, many would holler for Notice to not only be benched, but to be sitting in the stands. Notice played the final 12:25.
Which is why Georgia guard and noted Gamecock nemesis J.J .Frazier was blaming himself for the Bulldogs’ loss. He had a career-high six turnovers and only made one of the six 3-pointers he attempted.
Notice, the man guarding him, walked out with the win and a lot of unsung praises.
“Even the greatest of greats go through bad spurts where the ball won’t go in,” coach Frank Martin said. “What makes Duane a real good player for us is his toughness and his energy. And he did that today.”
Martin credited Notice’s aggression on offense, where he drove the lane, moved around and didn’t stand in one place, ball clasped over his head. Outside of one – an airballed 3-pointer that barely hit the net – Notice took good shots.
But like so many more over the past month, they didn’t go.
“I think after the first game, I kind of felt like I had some pressure on me. But coach did a good job talking to me, and letting me know that I don’t have to do too much to be the best I can be, and everything else will fall into place,” Notice said. “I think (Thornwell) coming back relieves everybody, but at the same time, everybody still has to do what they’re supposed to be doing.”
For Notice, that’s playing strong defense and being active on offense even if he’s not real confident in his shot right now. He’s not going to give the opponent the impression that the Gamecocks are going 4-on-5 in terms of shooters, and the solution is simple – he can’t break the slump if he quits shooting.
“Duane’s ball will go in the basket. I’m not worried about that,” Martin said. “What I’m worried about with him is not to be consumed with that ball not going in right now.”
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Who: Texas A&M (8-5, 0-2 SEC) at USC (11-3, 1-0)
When: 1:30 p.m. Saturday
Where: Colonial Life Arena
Radio: 107.5 FM
USC vs. Texas A&M
Texas A&M’s probable starters: G Chris Collins 6-3 So. (1.3 ppg, 1.0 rpg); G Admon Gilder 6-4 So. (12.5 ppg, 4.4 rpg); F D.J. Hogg 6-9 So. (12.5 ppg, 4.8 rpg); F Tavario Miller 6-8 Sr. (4.2 ppg, 3.2 rpg); C Tyler Davis 6-10 So. (14.2 ppg, 7.3 rpg)
South Carolina’s probable starters: G P.J. Dozier 6-6 So. (15.9 ppg, 4.9 rpg); G Sindarius Thornwell 6-5 Sr. (18.8 ppg, 7.3 rpg); G Duane Notice 6-2 Sr. (9.4 ppg, 2.3 rpg); F Maik Kotsar 6-10 Fr. (8.1 ppg, 5.3 rpg); F Chris Silva 6-9 So. (9.3 ppg, 6.4 rpg)
Next game: South Carolina tips off at Tennessee at 6:30 p.m. on Wednesday.