CLEMSON, SC -- News, notes and ramblings from a guy now officially large and in charge. Emphasis on large, of course...
From the “Hope They’re Listening in Jervey” Dept....
Spent two hours Friday subbing for the Mad Dog on the radio while he’s off in Florida blinding innocent motorists with the reflection off his head.
Two hours of phone calls, many of which dealt with Clemson basketball coach Larry Shyatt. The overwhelming theme?
Give Shyatt a chance to finish what he’s started.
To a man - and one woman - those callers said what we’ve been preaching for months: The improvement in the Clemson basketball team is blatantly obvious, even if a ridiculously strong Atlantic Coast Conference schedule is keeping said improvement from showing up in wins and losses.
If Shyatt’s first two recruiting classes - this year’s three freshmen (Tony Stockman, Chris Hobbs and Dwon Clifton) and next year’s No. 11 class in the country - are an indication of things to come, Clemson basketball is going to be something special in a very short amount of time.
When he officially took over as president of Clemson University, James Barker said in a speech that one of his long-term goals was to see the Tigers in an NCAA Final Four within 10 years.
Not this year. Not next year.
In 10 years.
Barker himself realizes that in order to build a program the right way, patience is required. If the prez sees the long-term solution, so should everyone else. Given time, Shyatt will prove himself to be the key part of that solution.
Now, about that contract extension...
Clemson added another signee to its impressive list of recruits Friday.
Defensive end Maurice Fountain (6-foot-4, 230 pounds) from Camden signed a letter of intent with the Tigers early Friday, bringing Tommy Bowden’s total number of recruits this period to 30.
Fountain, who spent this past season at Fork Union (Va.) Military Academy, is ranked as the No. 78 player in the Southeast by Tom Lemming, according to a release from the Clemson Sports Information Office. He was a SuperPrep All-American as a senior, when he had 94 tackles - 17 for loss - and 11 sacks.
Word is Fountain chose Clemson over South Carolina.
Complete Profiles of All Signees
Had a chance to catch up with Ray Leone via telephone last week.
The former Clemson women’s soccer coach is headlong into his new job at Arizona State, working hard to land those elusive final recruits as signing day nears.
“We have a decent core of returning players,” Leone told me. “Just not a lot of them. We’ve got some good players signed already, but we’re always looking for more.”
Leone also agreed with CU assistant athletic director Dwight Rainey that there were no ill feelings over the departure.
“I have nothing but positive things to say...I love Clemson,” Leone said. ³Tracey and I worked hard to build a program there, and it’s important to me they stay where they are. We’re not leaving on any bad terms at all.”
Dan Scott is the managing editor of Seneca Daily Journal/Clemson Daily Messenger.
His columns can be read at www.dailyjournalmessenger.com.