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Clemson basketball looking to improve success this season: Tigers are led by veteran Jaron Blossomgame, young talent adding to impressive roster

Ashley Stout, staff

Jaron Blossomgame (5) returned for his senior season rather than going to the NBA.

When Jaron Blossomgame announced this past spring that he would return for his redshirt senior season, the aspirations for this year’s Clemson Tigers men’s basketball team automatically skyrocketed. While the general feeling was that Blossomgame would bolt for the NBA, as most draft projections had him as an early second-round pick, the star small forward opted to exhaust his Clemson eligibility by coming back for one more ride. 

With Blossomgame leading the way, the Tigers are off to a solid start to the 2016-2017 campaign, and several impact players are combining to bolster the Tigers.

Blossomgame is a rare talent, skilled in every facet of the game of basketball. The reigning Most Improved Player of the ACC, Blossomgame came on strong last season, serving as a one-man show at times on the offensive end. 

With Clemson’s offense much more developed and rounded out this season, Blossomgame has an abundance of help around him, but he is still manning Clemson’s offensive attack nevertheless. 

In the recent Clemson victory over the High Point Panthers, Blossomgame scored a season-high 27 points, helping the Tigers win 83-74. Following the game, Clemson head coach Brad Brownell told reporters, “It was really good to see Jaron (Blossomgame) play the way that he did in the second half. I thought he was outstanding offensively.”

After sitting out last season due to NCAA transfer rules, shooting guard Marcquise Reed has quickly made his presence felt in the Clemson lineup, leading all Clemson scorers with 19 points in his debut for the Tigers in a season-opening win over the Georgia Bulldogs. 

Sporting a quick release and a relentless shooting prowess, Reed is an impressive offensive player and a key to rejuvenating a Clemson offense that has been somewhat static in recent years.

Senior center Sidy Djitte is many things on the basketball court, but, above all else, he is a top-notch rebounder. Djitte corralled nine rebounds in Clemson’s close call triumph over the Nebraska Cornhuskers and salvaged the win for the Tigers with a clutch offensive rebound in the game’s closing minutes. The board led to a Clemson three-pointer that made a major difference in the 60-58 outcome. Discussing the crucial rebound and ensuing feed for the three-pointer, Brownell said, “(Djitte) does a good job of that, trying to find guys.”

The Tigers have a favorable mixture of veterans and youngsters on the roster this season, and the three aforementioned players are arguably the primary x-factors. 

The college basketball season has only just begun, but, with skilled newcomers such as Reed and point guard Shelton Mitchell, the probability of Clemson receiving a berth in the NCAA Tournament is appearing favorable. Expect Blossomgame, Reed and Djitte to all continue excelling in their respective crafts, and expect the

Clemson Tigers to make some serious noise throughout the course of the season.

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