Posted: 12:05 p.m. Tuesday, Sept. 3, 2013
Jim Gober has a real passion for ACC basketball and has been doing his own e-mail analysis for years. He offered us a lot of his insights for publication, so we’re posting them periodically. Here’s his choice for #15 in the ACC. As you may have noticed, he put Virginia Tech at #16. This is because he also did an analysis of soon-to-be ACC member Louisville.
#15 – Clemson Tigers
2013-2014 Outlook: Entering his 4th season as Coach of the Clemson Tigers, Brad Brownell has a roster without seniors that is comprised solely of his recruits. With the exception of 6-7 Fr WF Jaron Blossomgame from Chattahoochee HS in Georgia, a 4 star 2012 recruit who missed last season due to a broken leg, no player on the current roster is of the 4 or 5 star variety required for any team to have consistent success in the ACC.
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Among them, the top 4 ACC teams in what will be the ACC next season, Duke, UNC, Syracuse, and Louisville, have 38 players on their 2013-2014 rosters who were ranked as national top 100 recruits. Clemson has none. Besides having a lack of such top caliber talent overall, Clemson lost its only proven frontcourt players, 6-8 Sr PF/C Devin Booker (13.1 ppg, 7.5 rpg, 54.5 FG%), a 3rd Team All-ACC selection, and 6-9 Sr PF/WF Milton Jennings (10.2 ppg, 6.4 rpg). Fortunately, Clemson has decent depth and experience on the wing and in the backcourt and a number of prospects to fill the void inside.
Other than Booker, the best player for the Tigers last season was 6-6 Jr WF KJ McDaniels (10.9 ppg, 5.0 rpg, 2.1 bpg). McDaniels is an exceptional shot-blocker for a player of any size, and he was the second leading scorer for Clemson. Until McDaniels suffered a late season ankle sprain that caused him to miss several games and limited his minutes upon his return, Clemson was positioned to finish several places higher in the standings last season than 11th place. With Blossomgame as the other wing forward, the Tigers should be especially strong at that position.
6-1 Jr PG Rod Hall (5.7 ppg, 3.5 apg, 1.8 a/to) and 5-11 So PG/WG Jordan Roper (7.9 ppg, 41.4 3s%, 1.4 3s/g) are the returning starters in the backcourt. Hall provides toughness and solid defense but not much offense, while Roper provides an offensive spark but is undersized for a wing guard. The other guards in the rotation, 6-4 Jr WG Damarcus Harrison (5.2 ppg, 21.5 mpg) and 6-2 So WG/PG Adonis Filer (6.3 ppg, 19.9 mpg), saw substantial playing time last season in support of the starters. With the return of 6-2 So WG Devin Coleman (2.6 ppg, 10.0 mpg) from a redshirt season due to injury and the arrival of several freshman wing guards, the Tigers have plenty of depth in the backcourt if not anyone who has emerged yet as a top quality ACC player.
The key to the frontcourt and greatest potential difference maker for the Tigers could be its junior college transfer, 6-10 Jr PF Ibrahim Djambo, the #58 JUCO recruit in the nation. Besides having an awesome name for a basketball player, Djambo showed at the junior college level that he could provide inside scoring (17.6 ppg), rebounding (6.3 rpg), shot-blocking (1.5 bpg), and accurate shooting out to three-point range (35.4 3s%, 1.3 3s/g).
Perhaps Djambo’s greatest potential asset is that he drew fouls and converted from the charity stripe at a high rate (74.6 FT%, 6.5 ft/g). The free throw line rarely has been a strength and weapon for any Clemson player. Behind Djambo, there are two sophomore centers who saw minimal playing time last season, 6-10 So C Landry Nnoko (6.6 mpg) and 6-8 PF Josh Smith (5.6 mpg), and a raw 2 star freshman recruit, 6-10 Fr C Sidy Djitte.
If Djambo can play at the ACC level and any of the other big men can provide defense and rebounding in support of Djambo, the Tigers may be able to use their superior defense to compete for a place near the top of the bottom third of the conference standings. Given the obstacles that Clemson will have to overcome just to remain at the same level as last season and its relative youth, however, the Tigers are a good candidate to finish at or near the bottom of the conference standings. A finish in the bottom third of the expanded 15-team ACC is a near certainty.
2012-2013 Starters Lost (2):
2013-2014 Returning Starters (3):
2013-2014 Other Key Players:
2012-2013 Season Team Stats:
Record: (13-18); ACC (5-13), 11th place
2012-2013 Major Team Strengths: Scoring Defense (60.1 ppg); Field Goal Shooting Defense (41.5%); Threes Allowed (5.5 3s/g); Turnovers Differential (+1.2 tpg); Steals (6.7 spg); Steals Allowed (5.5 spg); Blocks (4.8 bpg); Blocks Allowed (2.8 bpg)
2012-2013 Major Team Weaknesses: Losing Record Overall (13-18); Losing ACC Record (5-13); Low ACC Finish (11th); Scoring Offense (61.5 ppg); Field Goal Shooting (42.4%); Three Point Shooting (31.7%, 5.1 3s/g); Three Point Shooting Defense (34.8%); Free Throw Shooting (65.4%); Assists (10.8 apg)
2012-2013 Roster Players Not Returning:
(*Explanation of RSCI and ESPN Ratings for Freshmen and Recruits Appears Below)
2014 Recruits: 6-2 WG Gabe DeVoe (ESPN: 66 Rating, #85 Wing Guard Prospect, 2 Star Recruit)
(*) RSCI (Recruiting Services Consensus Index) ranked the top 100 high school seniors in the Class of 2013 based upon an averaging of the rankings of 6 of the better recruiting experts: (1) Van Coleman; (2) ESPN; (3) Scout; (4) Rivals; (5) Prep Stars; and (6) 24/7 Sports. For prior years, these and other recruiting experts were used to rank the top 100 seniors.
(*) ESPN Recruit Ratings: 90-100 (5 stars): Player demonstrates rare abilities, should have an immediate impact in the ACC, and has the potential for early entry into the NBA Draft. 85-89 (4 stars): Player could be the centerpiece of an ACC team and a 3-4 year starter. 80-84 (4 stars): Player has potential to make a significant contribution over 4 years in the ACC. 70-79 (3 stars): Player can contribute at ACC level and would be a standout in a weaker conference. 65-69 (2 stars): Player would be a multi-year starter in a weaker conference but an ACC bench player. 60-64 (2 stars): Player would be a role player even in a lesser conference than the ACC. 50-59 (1 star): Player would be a bench player in a weaker conference than the ACC. NR: Player has not been observed and graded by ESPN recruiting experts.