2007 Clemson Tigers Basketball Preview
Last year, coach Oliver Purnell (70- 58 in 4 years at Clemson, 326- 249 in 19 years) guided the Clemson Tigers (25- 11 overall, 7- 9 ACC) to the NIT Finals where the team lost to West Virginia 73- 78. In the ACC regular season, the Tigers finished tied for eighth. Since Purnell took over in 2004, Clemson wins have steadily risen, from a low in 2004 of 10 to last year’s high of 25. The next step in many people’s minds is the conference tournaments for the team from South Carolina.
Clemson’s scoring defense allowed 65.7 PPG, ranking them third in the ACC, while the Tigers averaged 73.2 PPG. The club ably moved the ball around, notching 15.6 APG. Opponents averaged just 12.6 assists which was great for the college basketball betting odds. The team’s free throw mark of .578 was the worst in the conference. Teams they played hit frees at a rate of .709. Clemson’s .578, which is the lowest free throw success mark in NCAA history, is a negative killer of a stat.
In his first season, forward Trevor Booker (10.4 PPG, 6.4 RPG, 60.2 FG%) made a major impression on the college hoops picks. As a rookie last year, he started all 36 games, averaging 26 MPG. With a full year of experience, look for Booker to make an even bigger contribution. At center is senior James Mays (12.2 PPG, 6.4 RPG, 47.8 FG%)—a player who brings double-double potential to the court. Forward K.C. Rivers (14.0 PPG, 4.5 RPG) is a top scoring threat.
Point guard is up in the air. Senior guard Cliff Hammonds (11.6 PPG, 4.1 APG) is in charge of running the game. Freshman Demontez Stitt has the potential to start and will probably learn the ropes at the point. Keep an eye on his performance when you bet on college games.
The Tigers played hot at the start of the 2006- 2007 season as they started 17- 0 and went 21- 1 before losing 10 of their final 14 contests. But this season should be different as the club returns four of five starters, a deep bench and some of the hottest shooters in the conference. Coach Purnell has done an excellent job in rebuilding the team. The Tigers have a legitimate shot at March Madness.