Previewing Clemson

2010 Scouting Report / 2010 Game Plan / 2011 Scouting Report / 2011 Game Plan
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2011 Roster
2011 Schedule

Clemson Offense 09-10
Four Factors Percent Nat'l Rank
eFG% 51.1 78
Turnover Rate 21.5 231
Off Reb Rate 36.7 41
FTA/FGA 34.8 248
Clemson Offense 10-11
Four Factors Percent Nat'l Rank
eFG% 51.8 71
Turnover Rate 20.6 173
Off Reb Rate 34.7 93
FTA/FGA 42.4 73

 

 

 

 

 

Clemson could have been forgiven for a hiccup, as the Tigers not only faced life without Trevor Booker but also life without Oliver Purnell, who decided he needed a fresh start.  Clemson turned to Brad Brownell, who built successful programs at UNC-Wilmington and Wright State and led both to the NCAA tournament.  The hire seemed a good one in the long run but also seemed to ensure some serious growing pains as the players on hand adjusted to a very different approach.

Andre Young said it took them "months to get comfortable." Some players weren't willing to make the adjustment.  Donte Hill left the program just before the season started, while Noel Johnson hit the eject button seven games into the season.  Johnson's father took a shot at Brownell in the press, calling his offense "very boring" while adding that "the style of play wasn't for his [son's] benefit." Real mature, pops.

Those departures left the Tigers short on scholarship players and depth; it was bad enough that Brownell asked DeAndre Hopkins, a wide receiver on the football team, to join his basketball team.  The 6-2 Hopkins has not and likely will not have much of an impact--he logged three minutes against Maryland--but they need the warm body.  Matters were made worse when Tanner Smith suffered a knee injury against North Carolina last Tuesday.  Smith is not expected to play against the Wolfpack.

For all the turmoil, Brownell has done an admirable job.  The Tigers played well in both of their recent close-but-no-cigar losses to UNC and Maryland, and they're probably good enough to win eight or nine conference games and get themselves into the NCAA tournament discussion. 

I don't know if it's as boring is Johnson the elder suggested, but there is no question that Brownell's motion offense has Clemson pumping the brakes.  While it may be offending a few more eyes, the new offense hasn't cost them production; in fact they've been a hell of a lot better.  They head into Tuesday's game averaging 1.12 points per possession in league play, second only to Boston College.  Last year they couldn't crack 1.0 PPP.

Demontez Stitt and Andre Young are better than they were a season ago, and that's where it starts.  Perhaps owing to Brownell's more deliberate attack, both players have improved their turnover rates significantly.  They've been able to carry the Tigers' three-point shooting and effectively distribute the ball to Jerai Grant and Devin Booker down low.  Attrition may get the better of this team eventually, but so far so good.

Starters

Demontez Stitt (6-2, 180) --Stitt assumed some of the shots Trevor Booker left behind, and that's going about as well as Clemson could hope.  His effective field goal percentage is about where it was last season; he's lost some of his two-point accuracy but he's hitting a higher percentage of his threes.  Under the circumstances of a bigger workload, that's a win.

Andre Young (5-9, 175) -- Andre Young, better known by his liberty-defending alter-ego Ray Dungeon, is a hero and a shooting guard, sometimes both at the same time.  He can handle the point, too, it's really just a matter of where Brownell needs saving.  Young also has had to become a larger part of Clemson's offense, though he is not quite as diverse a threat as Stitt.  But he's shooting better than 40% from three.

Brian Narcisse (6-6, 220) -- Narcisse is the reserve on the spot while Smith is sidelined.  He logged 25 minutes against Maryland over the weekend, more than double his average going in.  The added playing time probably doesn't change his light role too much.  In that role he's been pretty okay, hitting 68% of his twos and 36% of his threes.  Can't handle the basketball, though.

Jerai Grant (6-8, 230) -- Grant shot over 60% in the paint as a role player off the bench in 2009 and 2010.  Out of necessity he's taking a lot more shots this season, but he's had no trouble staying efficient.  His athleticism makes him an outstanding offensive rebounder and shot blocker and therefore one of the team's most important contributors.  He rarely turns the ball over and gets to the free throw line often.

Devin Booker (6-8, 245) -- Booker shoots well in the paint and at the line and appears to have added some range to his jumper.  But he tends to get into foul trouble and needs to take better care of the basketball.

Bench

Milton Jennings (6-9, 225), Cory Stanton (5-10, 175), Zavier Anderson (5-9, 170).  Stanton and Anderson are struggling through their respective freshman seasons and don't figure to provide the Tigers with much offense.  Jennings is getting about 21 minutes per game and taking way more shots than he should be.  Clemson does not need him to attempt 27% of the shots, and they definitely don't need him to shoot as often as he does from outside, where he is 11-42.

Clemson Defense 09-10
Four Factors Percent Nat'l Rank
eFG% 46.4 58
Turnover Rate 24.7 9
Off Reb Rate 33.6 217
FTA/FGA 35.4 130
Clemson Defense 10-11
Four Factors Percent Nat'l Rank
eFG% 46.2 69
Turnover Rate 23.2 55
Off Reb Rate 31.5 132
FTA/FGA 33.6 93

 

 

 

 

 

Looks good, except in conference play Clemson's only forcing turnover 19 percent of the time and their defensive rebounding has taken a dive as well.

The Pomeroy Predictor likes Clemson by 10.

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