College Sports

Will Chris Silva be drafted? ‘He’s got a lot of momentum on his side,’ says Frank Martin

How Frank Martin is helping Chris Silva during NBA process

Former South Carolina basketball player Chris Silva speaks to the media after working out for the Charlotte Hornets on June 4, 2019.
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Former South Carolina basketball player Chris Silva speaks to the media after working out for the Charlotte Hornets on June 4, 2019.

The list of South Carolina players drafted under Frank Martin starts and ends with Sindarius Thornwell.

PJ Dozier has appeared in eight NBA games and Duane Notice and Michael Carrera have had runs in the G League, but none other than the Los Angeles Clippers’ Thornwell were selected in the two-round NBA Draft.

Could Thornwell gain company Thursday night?

Chris Silva was a two-time first team All-SEC selection as a Gamecock. He finished his USC career with over 1,500 points, 870 rebounds and 185 blocks. He was measured 6-foot-10 during a combine in May.

But the forward/center doesn’t pop up on respected mock drafts, a sign Silva doesn’t go among Thursday’s 60 picks.

Martin, though, has the phone log to tell you a surprise could happen.

“There’s some genuine interest in Chris right now,” the USC coach said during a Wednesday news conference. “My phone’s been really busy the last 48 hours and it’s mostly about Chris. I’m also getting calls about Brian Bowen. But it’s mostly been about Chris. There’s a lot of realization because he’s had some great workouts and people have been able to engage with him.

“He’s such a beautiful kid.”

Silva has worked out for the Charlotte Hornets, Sacramento Kings, San Antonio Spurs, Atlanta Hawks and Minnesota Timberwolves.

In the very least, he’s expected to join an NBA Summer League team.

If Silva is drafted, he’ll likely be just one of roughly 10 college seniors to do so.

“He’s performed a lot better over a longer period of time and won more games head-to-head and won more games than a lot of guys that are supposedly going to get drafted,” Martin said. “But I get it. He wasn’t a sexy recruit coming out of high school, so all the recruiting gurus didn’t give him credit coming out of high school. So then it’s hard to give him credit when it’s time to be a pro because they didn’t think that he was good enough back in the day.

“We’ll see. There’s some genuine information gathering for Chris that’s taken place over the last week and a lot of phone calls over the last couple days. He’s got some momentum going on his side right now.”

Andrew Ramspacher has been covering college athletics since 2010, serving as The State’s USC men’s basketball beat writer since October 2017. His work has been recognized by the Associated Press Sports Editors, Virginia Press Association and West Virginia Press Association. At a program-listed 5-foot-10, he’s always been destined to write about the game. Not play it.

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