Last night’s loss to Boston College was Clemson’s fifth straight and its eight in the past nine games. Brad Brownell’s third season running the Tigers program has been hard and during his press conference last night he admitted there isn’t a whole lot he can do about it at this point.
“Nothing is going to change during the course of this season,” Brownell said. “I mean you can get hot for a couple of games and shoot better, but you’re not going to consistently, you know, a guy is not all the sudden turn it on and become a lights out shooter. It’s just hard to improve that much at this time.”
Clemson is 13-16 and 5-12 in the ACC, but it’s not like they’ve been terrible. Sure there were a couple of blowouts in there, but for the most part the Tigers have been in just about every game. Eight of their 16 losses were by single digits. Yet for one reason or another the Tigers haven’t been able to turn those close games into wins.
As Brownell said, there isn’t much hope for this season. This team isn’t going anywhere. Now the attention turns to next year’s prospects. Last night against BC, 48 of Clemson’s 61 points were scored by players that aren’t going to be back next season. Seniors Devin Booker and Milton Jennings scored 19 and 18 points respectively and Damarcus Harrison, who will be on a Mormon mission trip next season, scored 11. You take those three out and that’s 78 percent of the Tigers scoring against the Eagles. The only other players to score were Adonis Flier (4), Rod Hall (4) and Jordan Roper (5).
Perhaps this is why Brownell is very guarded when he talks about how optimistic he is about next season. Is Brownell confident they can turn around these struggles next season?
“No, because it’s going to be the fourth year then when we’ve lost our two best players every time,” he said. “That’s hard in that you don’t feel like guy coming back.”
That isn’t what Clemson fans want to hear, but it is the truth.
As for this season, it has turned into every bit the challenge Brownell thought it would be, and then some. He candidly told reporters last night that this has been the toughest season he’s had as a head coach.
“I knew this year was going to be challenging with no senior guards and no junior guards. I mean it’s hard. It’s just very challenging and I knew that. You know, if we could have won a few of these close games maybe then our confidence would have been better and maybe we would have finished a couple more off. But hopefully we will learn from it.”
The last of the Oliver Purnell era walked off the court at Littlejohn for the final time Tuesday night. Next season will be crucial for Brownell to show that his system with his players can produce the kind of results Clemson fans want. That means a lot of guys are going to have to grow up and learn quickly.