Athlon: Clemson bball preview

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8. Clemson (16-15, 8-8)

Asking for patience is justifiable given that second-year coach Brad Brownell is losing his top two scorers from last season in Andre Young and Tanner Smith, and relying on a roster that features a whopping 10 freshmen and sophomores. Brownell has shown in his first two seasons that he was an excellent choice when Clemson found itself looking for a new coach after Oliver Purnell’s abrupt departure for DePaul. He’s done an impressive job of developing players and cultivating substantial improvement as the two years have worn on. But he has no juniors, largely the result of unexpected attrition during and after his first season (three players elected to transfer). And seniors Devin Booker and Milton Jennings, while talented, haven’t inspired abundant confidence that they are the building blocks for rousing success in 2012-13. Booker and Jennings shouldered more of the burden last season and produced so-so results. Now, with Young and Smith gone, these two must take their games to a higher and more consistent level if the Tigers are going to make substantive improvement. There’s a major void at point guard with Young gone. Sophomore Rod Hall will get competition from freshmen Adonis Filer and Jordan Roper — probably more Filer than Roper — for the starting point guard spot. Hall will need to make significant improvement as a shooter to keep defenders from backing off and playing the drive.

Postseason prediction: NIT

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