Clemson basketball coach Brad Brownell, who came up short in recent in-state recruiting efforts with Zion Williamson and Josiah-Jordan James, won a major recruiting victory Wednesday when the state’s top player in the 2020 class 6-10 PJ Hall of Dorman announced a commitment during a ceremony at the Dorman Arena. Hall is the first commitment for Brownell’s 2020 class. He had narrowed his destinations down to Clemson, Florida and Virginia Tech. He also considered Tennessee and Georgia Tech during the latter part of his recruitment.
Hall’s family has strong ties to each of the three finalists. His sister plays volleyball at Florida and Virginia Tech’s Mike Young had been an assistant coach to his father during in his playing days at Wofford. But in the end, Clemson, the school he had visited the most often, was the choice.
Hall said he did not grow up a Clemson fan, but his visits there, and most notably his official visit last month, planted that see in his mind that Brownell’s program was the best fit for him.
“There wasn’t a bad thing that happened on that visit,” Hall said. “I love the team. I love the campus. Everything that went on, the energy. There’s nothing like Clemson. I knew that that was my favorite right then and I knew that if I went to the other schools that I could see if there was another school I could be at, but in the end I knew there was nothing else once I got finished with my visits. I can’t wait to go there, win some games and put Clemson basketball on the map. We’re going to do some big things up there.”
“The way they use their big men,”Hall said. “I know that being a four man, a skilled big man that I can get the ball in my hands on almost every possession. I know that I can go out there and help them win, help them dominate the ACC, and I can’t wait to get out there.”
Hall said one of the big selling points to him by Clemson is the type of offense Brownell likes to run, with five men out away from the basket, including the bigs. And he also appreciates Brownell’s reputation for rewarding playing time for playing great defense.
“The ball is always in the 4-man’s hands, people are cutting off him and I really like that,” Hall said. At Dorman coach (Thomas) Ryan’s always screaming defense is the number one thing, which it is, so I know that I could go there, be effective on both ends. Like I said skill big men, the ball is always in the four man’s hands, the people are cutting off him and I really like that.”
Hall’s recruitment may be behind him, but his time as a recruiter has just begun. As is often the case, high-profile recruits bring other talent along with them. Hall referenced that possibility just moments after announcing his commitment to the Tigers. “I can’t wait to try to get more South Carolina kids,” he said. “We need some more of those. He (Brownell) told me “hometown hero” a few years ago, and I never forgot that. Hometown hero sounds great to me.”
Hall can now put his commitment behind him and look forward to completing a rare feat, winning four consecutive state championships. Hall said the Cavaliers “will be a force to be reckoned with” this season.