2009-2010 Clemson Tigers Basketball Preview
After three straight years of attending the NIT, the Clemson Tigers (23- 9 overall, 9- 7 ACC) have been to the NCAA Tournament two times in a row. Both years they’ve been eliminated in the initial round. Now starting his seventh season, head coach Oliver Purnell looks to get beyond simply making it to the Big Dance. He’s wants to ensure that his Tigers stay for more than just the first tune.
If Clemson needs to improve in any areas, it would be in free throws, where their 69% rate of success placed them 10th in the league and in rebounding margin, which was plus-1.9 (9th). They posted an average of 78.3 PPG (3rd) and allowed 68.0 PPG (4th). The team’s 37% success rate from downtown placed them third in the conference. The best stat may be the fact that the Tigers have had two consecutive winning seasons in the ACC. Something they have not done since 1967.
The frontcourt will have a new look with senior forward Trevor Booker (15.3 PPG, 9.7 RPG, 1.7 APG) being the only player guaranteed a starting spot. Booker, who was tops in the conference in both rebounding and field goal percentage, is a tough presence down low. Look for him to shoot more from the wing this season. Small forward David Potter (4.9 PPG, 2.2 RPG, 1.3 APG), a senior, will face competition. Two freshman could prove to be instrumental in upgrading the front: Devin Booker, Trevor’s brother, and Milton Jennings. Forward/center Devin Booker, a massive athlete, could be an immediate impact player. Jennings, a McDonald’s All-American, can hit from mid-range consistently.
With the loss of guard Terrence Oglesby to Europe and departure of K.C. Rivers, the Tigers took two big hits in the backcourt. Sophomore shooting guard Tanner Smith (3.6 PPG, 1.8 RPG, 1.1 APG), who put up sound stats in his freshman season, looks to be an important part of this year’s team. Freshman Noel Johnson could be a major factor on the wing. Junior point player Demontez Stitt (8.7 PPG, 2.4 RPG, 3.8 APG) has been inconsistent, although at times he’s shown great promise.
This is the best team that coach Purnell has assembled in his
time at Clemson. They’ll be a top-tier ACC club and could
get into the second and maybe even the third round of the NCAA
Tournament. There’s some fine depth, one of the better incoming
classes in the league and experience. Watch out for these Tigers.