’97 SEC Champion USC basketball player hoping Gamecocks bring home NCAA title


NORTH AUGUSTA, S.C. (WJBF) – Coastal Carolina won the college world series, Clemson won the college football national championship and U.S.C. is on the verge of playing for the title in basketball.

The Gamecocks making it to the final four could be considered one of the greatest moments in U.S.C. history.

“So as coach Martin says why not us?” Antonio Grant, former U.S.C. basketball player and 1997 SEC Champion said.

From the Sweet 16, to the Elite 8 and now the final four, the Gamecocks are making their shots count on college basketball’s main stage.

Antonio Grant hasn’t forgotten what it feels like to be out on the court.

The pressure, the crowds and the legendary moment when the Gamecocks won the 1997 SEC Championship.

“And then going on to play in the NCAA tournament was huge,” Grant told WJBF NewsChannel 6. “I believe back then that’s the first time we have been back to the tournament in years.”

Grant says in a way history is repeating itself.

20 years later, the Gamecocks made it back to the NCAA tournament. Justin McKie is on the team now and he just happens to be the son of Grant’s former teammate and fellow SEC champion BJ McKie.

“Just to see Justin out there, I remember him when he was a baby, just throwing the ball with him.” He said. “He would be at some of the practices or after the game.”

Grant says before the Marquette game he was skeptical, but that all changed for him the moment he heard U.S.C. Coach Frank Martin speak to his team.

“After that he had me inspired and I was like we are going to win,” said Grant.

The Gamecocks are going to be facing Gonzaga University Saturday in Glendale Arizona at 6 p.m.

The championship game is on Monday.

If you’re looking for a kids camp next week, Grant is hosting a Spring Break Hoops basketball camp.

It’s from 8:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. Monday through Thursday at Riverview Park in North Augusta.

To sign-up call 803-441-4311.

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