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Clemson men’s basketball: What has changed?

Ashley Stout, Contributor

Brad Brownell currently has an 11-9 record through the team’s first 20 games.

The 2022 Clemson men’s basketball team closely resembles the squad that made the tournament as a seven-seed last season. However, this year, the Tigers are moving into February flirting with a .500 record.  

The roster talent has not changed much and PJ Hall is a scoring machine in the post. So why are the Tigers struggling to find prolonged success?  

The primary explanation for this inconsistency is a lack of bench depth. According to, an advanced basketball analytics company, last year’s bench unit accounted for 37.6% of the team’s total minutes played. This percentage ranked 38th out of 356 Division I teams.  

The current Clemson bench unit accounts for only 27.8% of the team’s total minutes played, dropping them down to 256th out of 356 teams.  

This is a steep drop-off from just one season to the next, and it could explain why you see certain players with their hands on their shorts, looking winded in the midst of blowing leads.  

Only eight players are averaging over ten minutes per game for the Tigers this season, as opposed to the eleven players that head coach Brad Brownell trusted to contribute last year.  

Brownell has shifted the team’s identity this offseason by making PJ Hall the team’s focal point. Hall has injected life into Clemson’s offense; the team is scoring 8.3 more points per game than they did in 2021.  

Meanwhile, the Tigers’ adjusted defensive efficiency, defined as points allowed per 100 defensive possessions, has moved from 90.9 to 98.7 since last season. This is according to, which ranked Clemson as the 19th best defensive team last season. As we approach the end of Jan., Clemson’s 2022 defense ranks 84th nationally.  

This is no reason to panic, however. It was expected that after making the tournament the team would take a step back, especially with the departure of Aamir Simms. The defense will recover; asking an offensive-minded, 6-foot-10 sophomore to anchor an ACC defense is a difficult task.  

Although the Tigers may not be looking at a tournament run this season, their problems are easily fixable. PJ Hall will continue to develop on the defensive end, and the three freshmen have shown that they will be able to make significant contributions next season. 

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