USC head basketball coach Frank Martin has never been one told hold back his feelings and such was the case Wednesday night after his team's 80-64 win over Wyoming.
The coach has not been pleased with his team's play - even going so far as to label them soft - a problem he has vowed to fix. In his post-game news conference following the Wyoming win, Martin voiced his displeasure with the lack of fans at the game. The paid attendance was listed at more than 10,000 but the eye test said there were no more than 4,000 - 5,000 actually in the seats.
"It'd be nice if our marketing department helped us get some people in the seats," Martin said.
"It's a little disappointing to continue to play, after the two winning-est years in the history of the school, in a building with four or five-thousand people. It's embarrassing."
Thursday night on his weekly radio call-in show, Martin went further in depth about fan attendance and how that affects his program going forward.
As "Carolina Calls" host Derek Scott mentioned how the coach hopes to get "more butts in the seats", Martin then drilled down a little further about why an electric atmosphere is needed at the Colonial Life Arena.
"What I said is I need help," Martin said.
"Blake Edmonds is sitting right here and his group of folks in marketing, who I work with on a regular basis. They're great. They care and that's all I ever want."
Edmonds is USC's assistant athletics director for marketing and fan experience and someone who is in constant contact with Martin about the brand of USC basketball. A Star Wars theme is on tap for Saturday's game against Coastal Carolina and that should provide a bump in attendance. But Martin is looking at building consistency in attendance which will help him in the daily recruiting battles.
"We have sold more season tickets than at any point in the history of our school," Martin said.
"I need our fans to come help my guys out. That's all I'm asking for. I'm not being critical. Our fans are incredible. They love this school unlike anything I've ever been around. Let me make the point even a little clearer. Not only do you help the guys in the locker room right now, not only do you help to build what we've been fighting to build, I think our guys deserve support after what we've done in the last five years. But here's another part. I am in the middle of some dogfights in recruiting with some schools that sell out their building every time they play. I don't want to lose that recruiting battle because when you see our games on tv, you see a lot of seats and not a lot of people. Our fans are off the charts and we just have to keep fighting the fight."
The dog fights that Martin is referring to likely centers around Spartanburg Day phenom Zion Williamson who is rated as the second-best power forward in the country. USC is in the mix for him along with Duke, Kansas, Kentucky and North Carolina.
Martin also is probably surprised at the low attendance considering his program is coming off the first Final Four appearance in school history which featured a single-season record 26-win campaign.
But with a lot of new faces, the team is a work in progress and Martin says energy from the crowd can provide a much-needed assist in their development.
"I need people's help," Martin continued.
"I need our great fans to help our players. They're young, they don't know any better. We need our fans to give them life and help them out."
Tipoff against the Chanticleers is set for 12 noon at the Colonial Life Arena.