#129 Clemson Men's Basketball 2015-2016 Preview

Clemson Tigers

2015-2016 Overall Rank: #129
Conference Rank: #13 ACC

Clemson Team Page#129 Clemson Men's Basketball 2015-2016 PreviewBuy Clemson Basketball Tickets

Clemson slipped to 8-10 in ACC play last season and barely managed a winning record overall. Coach Brad Brownell had to once again replace his top scorer and once again, it did not go all that well. But this time around the Tigers do return their top scorer. Jaron Blossomgame, a 6-7 forward, easily led the team with 13.1 points and 8.2 rebounds per game. Blossomgame is an explosive athlete and has All-ACC level talent. Now Clemson and Coach Brownell just need the talent around him to develop.

2014-15 Record: 16-15, 8-10
2014-15 Postseason: none
Coach: Brad Brownell
Coach Record: 90-73 at Clemson, 257-158 overall

Who’s Out:
But there are fewer options to step up with two of the next top three scorers behind Blossomgame gone. Rod Hall averaged 9.2 points per game and led the squad with 3.4 assists. Hall was never the most dangerous point guard in the ACC, but he was pretty steady and efficient. Offensively, he had enough of an outside shot to keep the opposition honest too. Damarcus Harrison was the best shooter on the team during his senior season, knocking down 34.8 percent of his attempts from beyond the arc. The depth in the backcourt took another hit when Patrick Rooks opted to transfer after seeing limited action as a redshirt freshman. Rooks probably would have been stuck behind a couple more guys on the wing this year unless his outside shot started falling.

Who’s In:
This small class should help fill the holes left behind by the departures. Most notable is Avry Holmes, a transfer from San Francisco. Back in 2012-2013 as a freshman with the Dons, Holmes knocked down 47.1 percent of his three-point attempts. A year later he connected on 41.9 percent of his attempts and even dished out 3.1 assists per game while leading USF with 12.5 points. Holmes is a shooter first and foremost, but he can handle the ball too. Life in the ACC will be different than in the WCC, but he has been around his new program for a year and should be ready to step in and become this team’s top shooter. The lone incoming freshman is Ty Hudson. He is a tough point guard who can drive the lane and finish around the basket. Hudson has the skills to play at this level as a freshman and, with a little work on his outside shot, will be a dangerous point guard for Clemson for the next four years. Junior college transfer Legend Robertin rounds out the three-man group of newcomers. The seven-footer picked up a lot of interest during his tenure at Chipola Junior College. While he may not be the most polished seven-footer to ever play the game, Clemson will benefit from having a player of Robertin’s size coming in off of the bench.

Who to Watch:
Thanks to a strong defense, Clemson does not need to score all that much to win. However, they do need to have far fewer stretches of poor offense if they are going to battle for a spot in the NCAA Tournament. Much of that falls on the backcourt to help complement Blossomgame’s scoring output. And this is a very different looking backcourt now that Hall and Harrison are gone. The pressure will fall mostly on Donte Grantham and Jordan Roper. Grantham was a regular starter as a freshman last season and averaged 8.8 points per game. He was a big-time recruit and now it is time to live up to his potential. Grantham is a big 6-8 wing who can block shots and get up and down the floor in a hurry. He is a more than capable outside shooter and actually led the Tigers with 41 three-pointers in 2014-2015, but he connected on just 27.9 percent of his attempts. He needs to start knocking down more shots or look to attack the basket a little more often instead of hoisting up a long ball. Roper came into last season on fire after leading the team in the 2014 NIT. But he cooled off, averaging just 6.5 points per game last season. Still, he is an experienced senior who can knock down shots. Austin Ajukwa, a 6-6 junior, and Gabe DeVoe, a sophomore sharpshooter, will add options from the bench.

Final Projection:
Everybody must get involved in Clemson’s defensive efforts, but it often starts with 6-10 senior center Landry Nnoko. He led the team with 2.0 blocks per game last season and added 7.6 points and 5.4 rebounds. With the addition of Robertin, Clemson can always have a big defensive presence eating up space next to Blossomgame. Josh Smith and Sidy Djitte, at 6-8 and 6-10, respectively, add more size and rebounding to the frontcourt. Overall, this team has some potential. There is enough experience returning that it is reasonable to expect a small jump up from their 16 win season. However, the pure talent is just not there to expect much more in the ACC than a .500 record.

Projected Postseason Tournament: CBI/CIT

Projected Starting Five:
Jordan Roper, Senior, Guard, 6.5 points per game
Avry Holmes, Junior, Guard, DNP last season
Donte Grantham, Sophomore, Forward, 8.8 points per game
Jaron Blossomgame, Junior, Forward, 13.1 points per game
Landry Nnoko, Senior, Center, 7.6 points per game

By the Numbers:
Scoring Offense: 62.7 (285th in nation, 15th in conference)
Scoring Defense: 62.2 (61, 3)
Field-Goal Percentage: 40.9 (285, 14)
Field-Goal Defense: 40.2 (56, 4)
Three-Point Field Goals Per Game: 5.5 (254, 8)
Three-Point Field-Goal Percentage: 29.9 (325, 14)
Free-Throw Percentage: 68.2 (216, 9)
Rebound Margin: 2.1 (102, 8)
Assists Per Game: 10.6 (296, 15)
Turnovers Per Game: 11.8 (98, 9)


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