Originally created 03/13/98

McKie not talking of next year



WASHINGTON -- Only minutes after South Carolina's season ended Friday, junior All-SEC guard BJ McKie was asked if he'd be back for another one.

"I'm not even talking about that," McKie said. "It hasn't even entered my head yet. You guys are not going to get that out of me today. Seriously, I'll talk with my family and coaches soon, and then we'll go from there."

NO FREEBIES: Kentucky coach Tubby Smith said Sunday that McKie was "the best I've ever seen at drawing a foul." However, neither McKie nor his teammates had success in that area against Richmond. The Gamecocks went to foul line 9 times, including only once during the entire second half.

"We've been good at getting to the foul line (this season)," South Carolina coach Eddie Fogler said. "But Richmond did a good job of not fouling. (Nine foul shots) is a telling stat. We usually get there a lot more than that, but we didn't today. You have to give Richmond credit."

EXCUSES?: South Carolina blamed last year's upset-loss to Coppin State on everything from fatigue to complacency. This time around, the Gamecocks did not hide behind excuses.

"I don't think we were tight (or nervous)," USC guard Melvin Watson said. "They made their shots. We contested every shot. We had to plenty of opportunities to win, but it just didn't happen. You have to give the credit to Richmond. They played better."

INSIGHT FROM GRANT: After the South Carolina players left the court in shock, the lockerroom was in complete silence, according to small forward Antonio Grant of North Augusta.

"Nobody was saying a word, just like last year," Grant said. "BJ and Melvin had their heads down, and some of the seniors were crying."

Even though the Gamecocks were a much higher seed, the team heavily feared being upset by Richmond. The upset history of the Spiders had been documented in the Washington papers all week.

"All the papers said that South Carolina would likely get upset and that disgusted me," Grant said. "I didn't want it to happen, but it did. When I heard the final horn, my stomach dropped. All I could think about was that those tabloids were right."

ROCKY BALBOA: Richmond is the No. 14 seed in the East Regionals, and the Spiders are playing up to there image well. The school band played the theme to "Rocky" before and during the game. Richmond, which is located about 100 miles away from Washington, brought a large contingency of fans to the game.

"I really don't think the (crowd support for Richmond) was a factor," McKie said. "I usually don't listen to the crowd that much anyway during the game."

BAD MEMORY: McKie sounded like a tape recorder in the lockerroom after the game, answering question after question about his two missed shots in the final 41 seconds.

"Of course I felt confident in my shot," McKie repeatedly said. "I feel if I had to do it again in the next 10 minutes, I would make it."