Martin, Johnson & Thornwell Begin Preparations For Four Nations Cup

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By Sports Department

COLUMBIA, S.C. (USC SID) -- South Carolina head men's basketball coach Frank Martin, along with senior guard Tyrone Johnson and sophomore guard Sindarius Thornwell, have joined fellow team and coaching staff members for the USA East Coast Basketball Team at a training camp in New York City this week in advance of the team's participation in the 2014 Four Nations Cup in Estonia, Aug. 4-7. The squad will travel to Europe to compete against foreign national teams consisting of NBA players and Euro-League all stars.

With Martin serving as head coach, the group will meet July 31, for a two-day training camp at Columbia University, before flying to Helsinki, Finland, on Friday night (Aug. 1) and continuing to Estonia on Saturday (Aug. 2). The squad will practice on Saturday and Sunday (Aug. 3) before its first game versus Tallinna Kalev on Monday (Aug. 4). Tuesday (Aug. 5) will see USA East Coast compete against the Austrian National Team, before facing the Estonian National Team on Wednesday (Aug. 6) and Helsinki on Thursday (Aug. 7).

Martin spoke with GamecocksOnline.com prior to his departure for training camp on the opportunity for he and his players.

"Selfishly, having to prepare a team over three practices and one exhibition game to compete against three national teams and a professional team is going to put tremendous pressure on me to be efficient and clear, and to maximize and utilize practice time in an unbelievable way," Martin said. "That is going to help me, so when we [South Carolina] have quick turnarounds during the season and play different styles, I'm prepared for it and can help my team, which is my ultimate job.

"For Sindarius and Ty, it's going to be a great experience for them. For Ty, because of his situation at Villanova and his injury last year, it gives him a chance to play five competitive games to continue to prepare him for his senior year. For Sindarius, it is a chance for him to continue to grow as a player and build on what he did as a freshman. It's an unbelievable opportunity for both of them to travel abroad, and see how other people live in other countries and be extremely appreciative for how good we have it where we are at."

Johnson and Thornwell spoke about their selection to the team earlier this summer.

"This opportunity is a great thing for Sindarius and me," Johnson said. "We get to play with other guys from other colleges and continue our chemistry playing together. This gives us another few games where we are playing with each other, and other players, and competing for our country and playing against other countries."

The trip abroad will be the third for Johnson, but the first for Thornwell.

"I've never been overseas, but I did play in the Global Challenge in high school, where teams [from overseas] came here to play. This will be something new to me and a learning experience."

You can keep up with the USA East Coast squad on Twitter at @East_Coast_BBC and on Facebook at www.Facebook.com/USAEastCoast.

Continue to visit GamecocksOnline.com for updates on Martin, Johnson and Thornwell at the 2014 Four Nations Cup.

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