Hopkins concentrating on football for now, excited about joining basketball team

by - Senior Writer -

CHARLOTTE, N.C. – It may seem like wide receiver DeAndre “Nuke” Hopkins has a football cleat on one foot and a basketball shoe on the other, but Clemson’s record-setting freshman insists he is all football – at least for the next week or so.

Tuesday, the Tigers completed day two of bowl practice in Charlotte for this Friday’s Meineke Car Care Bowl, and Hopkins made a couple of nice grabs during the almost two hour session. Afterwards, he had to field questions about his impending move to Clemson’s basketball team.

Brad Brownell’s hoops squad faced the transfer of two players since the beginning of the season, and it was announced last week that Hopkins will transition to the hardwood once his football duties are completed.

Hopkins said it was football coach Dabo Swinney who first approached him with the idea.

“Coach Dabo came to me with it, after Coach Brownell called Dabo,” Hopkins told TigerNet Tuesday afternoon. “They talked about it, like professionals, and then Coach Swinney came to me with the proposition. He told me he thought I should go out. And I play all the time. I actually played the day before we came up here. I am always playing.”

Hopkins was no slouch for the Daniel Lions during his high school basketball career. He was a four-year starter and compiled over 1,300 points, 400 rebounds, 600 assists and 200 steals at Daniel. As a senior, he led Daniel to the state championship. He was first-team all-state in hoops his final three seasons, and he said he has already spoken with Brownell.

“It was just a regular conversation; he was asking me how football was going and how my grades are,” Hopkins said. “He was asking me how things were off the field. He said he wanted to sit down and talk after the bowl game. He told me to not worry about any of the basketball stuff until after the bowl game.”

Hopkins said he will wait a week – following Friday’s bowl game – before joining the basketball team. He said he wants to give his body a little bit of a break before the rigors of ACC basketball competition begin.

He said he has no idea what Brownell will ask him to play, but he has always played point guard.

“I see myself as a one [point guard]. That is what I played all through high school. But I can play the two, or wherever he thinks I can fit in. I can take somebody off the dribble, and I feel like I see the court very well. I feel like I can find the big guys and get them the ball. I didn’t have to do too much shooting in high school, but I can penetrate and help a team play up-tempo.”

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