South Carolina vs. Alabama 2019

Chris Silva

Frank Martin received a text last Wednesday night from Andy Assaley, South Carolina’s Director of Basketball Operations, letting him know Chris Silva had checked in for the Miami Heat.

So South Carolina’s head coach went to his phone and pulled up the game’s live play-by-play feed.

What he saw somewhat surprised him: Chris Silva offensive rebound. Chris Silva tip in. Chris Silva dunk. Chris Silva blocked shot.

“Holy cow, this maniac is doing what he did for us,” Martin thought to himself.

In 11 minutes, the 6-9, 234-pound former Gamecock scored eight points on 3-of-3 shooting and grabbed six rebounds. He also had three blocks, including two on No. 2 overall pick Ja Morant.

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“It was an emotional night for me, because I know how hard that kid worked to make his dream real close to becoming reality now, full time,” Martin said.

“Which is a big reason why he’s put himself in a place that he’s going to have a job in that league. Because he’s at peace being who he is, not trying to be who he’s not. A lot of guys try to do things they’re not capable of. He’s at peace being who he is.”

Martin, a Miami native, knew Silva would have a chance to thrive with the respected Heat organization.

“I knew they were going to appreciate what he does, because that’s so important in that organization,” the coach said. “It’s what [Heat president] Pat Riley preaches. It’s what [head coach Erik] Spoelstra believes in. … The things that are of value to them, are the things Chris exceeds at. I’m really happy he’s with the team he’s with so he continues to grow as a player.”

Having realized he had a free NBA League Pass trial, Martin watched a bit of Silva’s game Sunday night against the Minnesota Timberwolves.

On one possession, Silva switched on to defend the electric guard Shabazz Napier. Silva fell for a shot fake and fouled Napier on a 3-point attempt, and Napier sank the ensuing three free throws.

Shortly after Silva was called for a moving screen.

“There we go,” Martin joked with reporters on Monday. “We’re right back at home. One minute, two fouls.”

In 11 minutes, Silva finished with two points, three rebounds, two blocks and three fouls.

Said Martin, “I’m really happy for him. He’s living a dream.”