Ask and you shall receive..
Before I say anything, let me begin by saying, obviously they’re playing Francis Marion so take everything with a grain of salt or two, but I still came away with some strong impressions. Overall, I think they’ll be a high-quality opponent that will challenge for one of the top spots in the league this year.
1. Clemson can shoot. Yeah, they lost Oglesby, but they’re probably better for it. They had 4 guys hit at least three 3-pointers AND shoot at least 50% from 3 (Potter 3-6, Smith 3-5, Young 3-5, Noel Johnson 3-6). They also had 2 other players that hit at least 1 3-pt shot (Hill and Jennings).
2. They are very athletic. The depth and athleticism on Clemson right now is really rivaled only by a few teams in the ACC (UNC, FSU, GT). Of course, a lot of that athleticism is young, but as you’ll see from some comments below, some of that young athleticism is going to pay off for them bigtime.
3. Business as usual on D. Pretty much the same story on D: full-court pressure on nearly every possession. But with the increasingly large stable of athletes to run the D, they look like they could be an improvement in that regard over last year. They also have 2 or 3 guys that are going to block a lot of shots.
4. The freshmen are going to elevate the team.
In particular, Noel Johnson (4-star) was incredible. He led all scorers with 19 points in only 21 minutes. He was 7-10 from the floor including 3-6 from downtown. He also gets after it on D. He looked confident and smooth and scored in pretty much every possible way. He might very well be in the end of the year conversation about ACC FOY
Jennings (5-star) was the most heralded recruit coming in, but he looked a little less comfortable. He did have a couple of WOW moments like an extremely strong drive to the left from the perimeter with a strong finish at the rim, and of course he’s a big man that is mobile and can shoot. But he still gets pushed around under the basket at the 4 position.
Hill (3-star) looked good in 14 minutes of play. He was 3-5 from the field and knocked down one fade-away 3 at the end of the shot clock that was clutch. He also got after it on D. He may not play much this year b/c of the guys in front of him, but he’ll be a solid player for this team for a few years.
Little Booker (4-star). Very similar to his big brother in build but obviously still learning the game at the college level. He only played 4 minutes and that will probably be similar to his contribution in the regular season.
5. They are deep at PG, but also a bit troubled perhaps. Both Young and Stitt shot the ball well, but they seem to be polar opposites in other regards. Stitt is the much better defender, but his ball handling skills looked really suspect (A:TO = 4:4). Young on the other hand had great A:TO numbers (6:0), but isn’t a very good defender and at 5’9″, opposing players shoot over him, even guys from Francis Marion. So the good news for Clemson is that they have quality depth at PG, but the bad news for them is that right now both of their PGs have serious problems.
6. Other players:
Tanner Smith: I put him first b/c he was easily the most improved player from last year. Scored in every way, shot lights-out from the perimeter (3-5) and showed some ability to create his own shot. Also defends hard. He’s moving into Oglesby’s spot and I’d have to say that lil Terrance won’t be missed.
Potter: Another guy that has improved markedly. He’ll be starting this year most likely rather than coming off the bench. He’s a Danny Green type player, racking up shots, boards, steals, and assists. He’s not on par with the senior **** yet, but their games are really similar.
Booker: more or less what you expect. He looked bored during the game but still went 4-7 from the field and grabbed 6 boards.
Grant: He’s a defensive center, doesn’t look good scoring the ball. But he CAN play some mean D.
Baciu (BoBo): BoBo has apparently been an exhibition superstar in the past, so don’t read too much into it, but he deserves a mention. He’s a Jr. 7’2″ guy that Clemson has been trying to develop for a while. He looked good in the exhibition with 2-3 from the feild, 3 boards and 2 blocks in 7 minutes of play. Of course, he was also playing against a FM lineup that probably averaged 6’4″ so….