Against Tennessee, the Gamecocks ‘gotta make their jumpshots’
South Carolina’s 2018-19 basketball season summed up in six words: Nonconference losses, SEC wins, multiple injuries.
The latter of those themes was brought up Monday during a news conference with Frank Martin at Colonial Life Arena. Two days after announcing Justin Minaya will be taking a medical redshirt, the Gamecocks coach said the same for Jason Cudd.
Cudd, a sophomore center who hasn’t played since the win against North Greenville on Dec. 31, won’t be back this year because of a knee injury. He was hurt during a practice before USC’s win against Missouri on Jan. 13.
“Cudd is off crutches,” Martin said. “He’s off crutches. He’s starting to move around. He’s not in a place where he’s jogging yet.”
Cudd, a 7-footer from Socastee High, has logged 28 games in a Carolina uniform, but 23 of those came as a freshman. He has career averages of 1.1 points and 0.9 rebounds.
Cudd, Minaya and T.J. Moss are all officially out for the remainder of this season. Moss, a freshman point guard, suffered a high ankle sprain before the Virginia loss on Dec. 19. He’s also dealt with a foot injury that required surgery.
“T.J.’s deal is like a five- to six-month thing for everything to completely heal where he’ll be allowed to get back out there,” Martin said of the former three-star prospect from Memphis. “But he’s close … he’s out of the cast, he’s in a boot now. He’s close to now being off that (scooter), where he can actually put his foot on the ground with the boot on.
“We gotta be patient there.”
Minaya, a starting swingman out since late November because of knee surgery, was thought to have a chance at returning this season. But when the final decision was made last Friday, it was the right one, Martin said.
“Him going out there right now would be for one thing and one thing only — the University of South Carolina’s benefit,” Martin said. “That doesn’t benefit Justin Minaya in any way. So this allows him to catch his breath and not be in a rush to get out there and try to play in four games.”
The Gamecocks (12-11, 7-3 SEC) play at No. 1 Tennessee on Wednesday.