Wake Brings In Dangerous Backcourt
Chris Paul may very well be the best point guard in the nation. In the offseason, Wake Forest head coach Skip Prosser wanted to see Paul improve his outside shot. Never afraid of a challenge, Paul has raised his three point percentage to 55.6. Coming into the game, Paul has a 2 to 1 turnover to assist ratio.
Justin Gray compliments Paul in the backcourt. Gray is the Deacs leading scorer at 16.2 points per game. The backcourt duo combine for 30.5 points per game, with both players shooting 44 percent from the field.
No matter how impressive the Deacs are on paper, do not expect the young Clemson backcourt to play intimidated. Last Sunday night, the Tigers opened ACC play on the road at Duke and never blinked an eye. On Saturday at 4 pm, the Tigers return home to Littlejohn Coliseum to face Wake Forest. The students will be back on campus, and this could be a factor that helps the Tigers. The team has stated publicly several times that they feed off of the crowd.
Clemson will be double digit underdogs in Saturday's matchup, but thus far the Tigers are undefeated at home. Cliff Hammonds and Vern Hamilton will be responsible for guarding Paul. Paul will look to establish his drive first early in the game. Also, Paul is an excellent passer, so the Tigers will have to be careful if they pull over to help out. Hammonds has tremendous footwork, and may be able to frustrate Paul much like he did Daniel Ewing on Sunday night.
How the Tigers defend Gray will be interesting. Shawan Robinson will most likely guard Gray, however Cheyenne Moore or Sam Perry may defend him, because of their length and athleticism. Gray moves well without the ball to set up his shot, but is not an explosive driver with the ball. A longer more athletic defender could pose some difficulties for Gray.
Once again Sharrod Ford, Akin Akingbala, and James Mays will have an advantage inside. Erik Williams is the only true big man for the Deacs. Williams is very prone to foul trouble, and the Tigers would like to go at him early to take him out of the game. Sunday night, the Tigers wanted to do the same with Sheldon Williams, but they were unable to do so.
This will be the home opener in conference play. This may not be a game the Tigers are expected to win, but this team has yet to back down to anyone. On Saturday, improvement once again will be evident. I encourage everyone to come out and support this team on Saturday.
Wake Forest 79 Clemson 67