Welcome to the Hoos Place 2019 Summer Hoops Refresh, where we review last season and this summer's personnel moves for all 15 ACC programs in alphabetical order. To read program capsules already complete, you can click here. Today we look at the...
After an apparent breakthrough in the 2017-18 season (where the Tigers lost Jaron Blossomgame to the NBA yet somehow leapt from a 2017 NIT participant to an 2018 NCAAT 5-seed), the Tigers slid back to the middle of the pack last year and ended the season in the NIT. The starting backcourt is gone, but has Brownell brought in enough talent to where Clemson can simply reload, or will they continue to be an afterthought in the conference discussion?
Coach: Brad Brownell; 336-212 in 17 seasons overall, 169-127 (76-82) in 9 seasons at Clemson.
2018-19 Record: Last season: 20-14 (9-9); ACCT quarterfinals (8 seed); NIT second round (2 seed)
ORtg: 108.0 (106 of 353)
DRtg: 91.8 (14 of 353)
ORtg: 98.6 (10 of 15)
DRtg: 94.8 (2 of 15)
G Marcquise Reed (Graduated)
G Shelton Mitchell (Graduated)
SG AJ Oliver (Transferred to ODU)
F David Skara (Graduated)
F/C Elijah Thomas (Graduated)
C Javan White (Transferred to UMKC)
31 G, 35.4 mpg, 19.4 ppg, 3.1 apg, 36% 3P%
32 G, 32.8 mpg, 11.5 ppg, 3 apg, 32% 3P%
33 G, 31.2 mpg, 7.6 ppg, 4.2 rpg, 36% 3P%
34 G, 25.7 mpg, 13 ppg, 7.8 rpg, 61% FG%
33 G, 8.4 mpg, 2 ppg, 2 rpg, 56% FG%
G/F Clyde Trapp (JR) ***
G/F John Newman III (SO)
PF Aamir Simms (JR)
PF Tyson Hunter (SO)
C Trey Jemison (SO)
34 G, 24 mpg, 6 ppg, 3.4 rpg, 31% 3P%
34 G, 12 mpg, 2.1 ppg, 1.8 rpg, 32% 3P%
34 G, 26.6 mpg, 8.1 ppg, 4.6 rpg, 44% FG%
31 G, 8.3 mpg, 1.6 ppg, 1 rpg, 25% FG%
20 G, 3.6 mpg, 0.4 ppg, 0.8 rpg, 33% FG%
G Al-Amir Dawes (4-star FR)
G Chase Hunter (4-star FR)
SG Alex Hemenway (3-star FR)
G/F Curran Scott (RS SR Transfer)
SF Tevin Mack (RS Sr Transfer)
F Khavon Moore (4-star RS FR)
F/C Jonathan Baehre (RS Jr Transfer)
32 G, 24.7 mpg, 8.9 ppg, 2.5 rpg, 39% 3P%
as a RS Jr at Tulsa
34 G, 20.6 mpg, 9 ppg, 3.3 rpg, 33% 3P%
as a RS Jr at Alabama
34 G, 21.8 mpg, 7.4 ppg, 4.6 rpg, 54% FG%
as a So at UNC-Asheville
*Projected starters in bold
*** Trapp suffered an ACL tear in June and will be questionable for availability this season.
2019/20 ACC Opponents:
|Home & Away:||Florida State, Georgia Tech, Louisville, NC State, Virginia Tech, Wake Forest|
|Home Only:||Duke, Miami, Notre Dame, Syracuse|
|Away Only:||Boston College, North Carolina, Pittsburgh, Virginia|
Brownell, for all Clemson's offensive mediocrity, usually turns his team into a pretty consistent defensive force. The last two years they've finished with an ACC Top 3 and nationally Top 15 defense, shutting down the paint as well as anyone and securing the defensive glass. But these last couple years that's largely been possible thanks to elite mistake-eraser Thomas blocking multiple shots a game, very deserving of his place on the ACC all-Defensive Team. With Thomas gone (very quietly deciding not to exercise a 5th year of eligibility) along with three other starters, and more newcomers (seven) than returners (five), will Brownell be able to install as effective a defense this offseason? Probably not.
Blue Ridge (Albermarle) product Aamir Simms is the only returning starter at the 4 spot, though he's probably undersized to effectively cover down to the five. He's a good scorer and rebounder, but probably not someone who's going to anchor a defense or carry an offense. Baehre, coming off his redshirt year, did block 61 shots his final year at UNC Asheville, and Brownell will hope that defensive presence translates to the ACC. True sophomores Hunter and Jemison will be looked to for frontcourt depth now that they've had a full season to acclimate to D-1 ball. The backcourt and wings, however, will take some sorting out. There's no obvious answer at PG; Trapp suffered an ACL tear this season and Newman probably isn't a natural 1-guard, while Dawes and Hunter are just true freshmen, though I do expect one of the freshmen to seize the spot and be given the opportunity to learn on the job. Brownell went the grad transfer route to paper over his question marks on the wings, with the sharp-shooting Scott and the physical Mack the front runners to start at the 2 and 3. Mack also brings the versatility to play small-ball-4. The wild card may be Khavon Moore, a former 4-star combo-forward from the 2018 class who spent last year injured at Texas Tech; technically he's a sit-out transfer but due to last year being a medical washout I'd predict his earning a medical hardship exemption for immediately eligibility. He'd bring additional athleticism to the forward spot, a good 6th man option at the 3/4 with an eye on breaking out as a sophomore.
There are just too many new pieces for me to have a ton of confidence, especially under a coach in Brownell who really hasn't earned the benefit of the doubt yet. There's an outside shot they put pieces together to make a run at the bubble, especially if Littlejohn stays a difficult place for visitors to win. But I'm projecting up to four starters who didn't even wear a Clemson uniform last year, and to me that just screams that this will be a wildly inconsistent team from game to game, and another NIT-bound team at the end of it all.