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Running Out of Time: Next Season is Critical for Men’s Basketball, Brownell

Savannah N. Miller, Photo Editor


“Am I disappointed in what we’ve been able to do the last couple of years? I certainly am. But I think we’re right there.” 

Brad Brownell, the Clemson Tigers men’s basketball coach, recently made this remark in an interview following Clemson’s fifth straight season not playing in the NCAA Tournament. While Brownell’s appeasing statement that the Tigers are “right there” may be true, he is running out of time in Clemson.

After going 17-14 overall and 10-8 in conference play, the Tigers were not invited to participate in any postseason tournaments, a dismaying end to what appeared in January as a promising season. That was when the Tigers defeated three ranked opponents in a row for the first time ever, setting the stage for what looked like a run to March Madness. 

The season as a whole, however, ended up being one long rollercoaster ride. The Tigers looked decent in November, pathetic in December, spectacular in January and sub-par in February and March.

This inconsistency displayed by the Tigers has plagued Brownell since he took over as head coach in 2010. Clemson did earn a berth into the Big Dance that season and even garnered a first round victory, but the Tigers have not been back since, making next season seem like a make-or-break year for Brownell.

Of course, the fact that, due to renovations at Littlejohn Coliseum, the Tigers were forced to play their home games in Greenville all season long can serve as something of an excuse for the lackluster play displayed off and on throughout the year. But with their return to Littlejohn this coming season, much more will be expected of Clemson. 

Even if star forward Jaron Blossomgame opts to go pro, the Tigers will still boast plenty of talent next year. Donte Grantham and Avry Holmes will be back in the fold to lead the team and shooting guard Marcquise Reed, who was forced to sit out this season due to NCAA transfer rules, will help bolster the backcourt. Expect rising sophomore point guard Ty Hudson to contribute in a big way next season, as well. Scott Spencer, a small forward out of Saint George, Virginia, has committed to Clemson for this coming season, and he should definitely pick up some of the slack left by Blossomgame’s departure, should he choose to leave. 

The bottom line is that the Tigers have no excuse not to seriously compete for a bid to the Big Dance in 2016-17, as the rapid dissipation that occurred in the latter half of this season’s conference play simply will not cut it. Coach Brownell has done an excellent job in the recruiting department in recent years, including hauling in talented transfers, but that must translate into on-court success if Clemson men’s basketball is to stay competitive and relevant in the exceptionally deep ACC. Expectations will be running high in Tigertown come November, and it will be on Brownell and crew to rise to the occasion. 

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