2012-2013 Overall Rank: #100
Conference Rank: #10 ACC
Clemson Team Page
Coach Brad Brownell has won everywhere he has gone and so far that has held pretty much true at Clemson. The Tigers won 22 games, including a first round NCAA Tournament game two years ago. Last year they at least had a winning record and a decent 8-8 record in conference play. However, it is hard to see this team being any better than they were last year. The only upperclassmen on the roster are senior forwards Devin Booker and Milton Jennings. Booker will spend most of his time in the paint and does a great job on the glass. After averaging 10.5 points and 7.0 rebounds last year, the Tigers will have to rely on him even more this time around. The same is true for Jennings. The versatile 6-9 forward can stretch out the defense with his shooting ability, but will spend plenty of time banging in the paint as well.
2011-12 Record: 16-15, 8-8
2011-12 Postseason: None
Coach: Brad Brownell
Coach Record: 38-27 at Clemson, 203-112 overall
Gone are the Tigers top scorers and a couple superb ball handlers in Andre Young and Tanner Smith. Young, yet again, had one of the best assist-to-turnover ratios in the country and added 13.3 points per game and 1.7 steals. Young was also the most prolific outside shooter on the team. The other outside shooter was Smith, who connected on 35.1 percent of his attempts from beyond the arc en route to an 11.2 point per game average. The backcourt now is now extremely, extremely young. And the frontcourt has no experienced depth with the graduation of center Catalin Baciu and Bryan Narcisse, who often started at the small forward spot.
The newcomers will be needed to fill in the holes around the lineup. If Clemson is going to make any serious noise in the ACC, they will need to do much more than that. Yet, Coach Brownell also needs fresh bodies that can play some defense. Jaron Blossomgame is the most likely candidate to see major minutes since he is a versatile forward who can play at the three or four spot. The four spot needs depth and the team could use a big 6-7 wing playing small forward to help out on the glass. Landry Nnoko, a 6-11 center, and Josh Smith, a bruising 6-7 forward, will also have to spend some time in the post when Booker and Jennings need a break. The other two freshmen are both point guards. Adonis Filer and Jordan Roper will compete for playing time off of the bench, but Filer is the most likely candidate to fill in as a backup point guard. However, Roper can play defense and that is enough to give him an opportunity.
Who to Watch:
The rest of the team is a bunch of sophomores who really did not do that much as freshmen. Coach Brownell will always go as deep as he can down his roster in order to get fresh defensive players on the floor, but Rod Hall and T.J. Sapp played the most as freshmen and they certainly did not prove that they can take over the scoring load left behind by Young and Smith. The tough Hall should take over the point guard duties, while it is hoped Sapp will turn into the go-to-scorer on the perimeter. Sapp is a solid shooter and can run the point as well, so that versatility fits in nicely with what the Tigers had going in 2011-2012. Devin Coleman tore his ACL in July and could be back by January, but that is unlikely. That leaves K.J. McDaniels on the wing. He is a great athlete who can fly above the rim and he will get the fans excited on many occasions this year. The other sophomore who played some as a freshman is forward Bernard Sullivan. He rarely saw the floor last year, but will have to be in the mix for quality minutes off of the bench.
Coach Brownell will get the best out of his team, but the best may not lead to much. The young backcourt has to grow up quickly and they must remember that the talent and experience on this team lies in the frontcourt with Booker and Jennings. Clemson is not a team that gets up and down the floor by any means, but the guards still have to work the offense through the post on nearly every possession. With the opportunity, the youngsters will be much improved, but there is a long way to go. This is a team with the talent to have another winning record and reach a postseason of some sort, but they should be a couple years away from even sniffing the NCAA Tournament.
Projected Postseason Tournament: CBI/CIT
Projected Starting Five:
Rod Hall, Sophomore, Guard, 3.8 points per game
T.J. Sapp, Sophomore, Guard, 3.6 points per game
K.J. McDaniels, Sophomore, Forward, 3.9 points per game
Milton Jennings, Senior, Forward, 9.7 points per game
Devin Booker, Senior, Center, 10.5 points per game
Madness 2013 NBA Draft Rankings:
#81 Milton Jennings
Madness 2012 Men’s Basketball Recruit Rankings:
#112 Jaron Blossomgame
#139 Adonis Filer