Clemson basketball coach Brad Brownell struck Monday to add some size to his incoming class by signing 6-11 Ben Middlebrooks of Fort Lauderdale. Clemson, and others, had been recruiting Middlebrooks for the 2022 recruiting cycle, but he recently reclassified for 2021. He narrowed his list to Clemson, Ole Miss, Dayton, Georgia and Oral Roberts before deciding on the Tigers.
“Just the past two months we’ve really started talking because they knew I kind of wanted to go 2021,” Middlebrooks said. “I had the credits with my school and I felt like I was ready to do it, and I wanted to take that step. They were with me on it. We went thru the process and got the job done. A big part of it, too, is my sister actually goes to Clemson, plays tennis there. That was a huge part of it, too. With Covid, you couldn’t have official visits but I was able to visit her and she was able to show me around and see things and really help me to make that decision and finalize it.”
This past season Middlebrooks averaged over 20 points and 14 rebounds per game. He’s rated a three-star prospect and the #34 power forward nationally in the 247Sports Composite. With Aamir Simms departing, Middlebrooks said the Clemson coaches laid out for him a plan where he could see early playing time as he develops in their system.
“Being able to come in and fill the roll of a big, a power forward who is able to spread the floor,” Middlebrooks said. “Able to shoot the ball, able to set picks, pick and pop, pick and roll, and be able to expose mismatches on the floor. I like to catch and shoot, be able to shoot the three a lot. If I have a slower defender on me, be able to go by them and score at the basket. Obviously, smaller guys, take them down low, get in the post and get easy buckets that way.”
Clemson went to the NCAA Tournament this past season, and in 2018 reached the Sweet 16. That recent success, and the fact they play in the country’s top league, were very appealing factors to Middlebrooks as he weighed his decision.
“Being an ACC school, that’s a different level of basketball,” Middlebrooks said. “That’s the best of the best, can’t really get better than that. They’ve had a lot of success recently. They’ve been to the NCAA Tournament twice. They went to the Sweet 16. They are obviously a great school when it comes to basketball, so that was obviously a big part of the decision.”
Middlebrooks is the third signee for Brownell in the 2021 class joining 6-3 Joshua Beadle and 6-8 Ian Schieffelin.