Clemson basketball coach Brad Brownell has become one of the most active and successful recruiters of the burgeoning transfer market. And that success is starting to feed itself.
His most recent acquisition on the rebound, 6-8 David Skara, formerly of Valparaiso, picked Clemson largely because of the success of transfers in Brownell’s program according the athletic director and assistant coach at his former school in Indiana.
Skara visited Clemson, Georgia Tech and Richmond and drew interest from Michigan, Florida State and Virginia Tech according to David Maravilla of Don Bosco Prep in Crown Point, IN. Skara also wanted to visit Vanderbilt which is where his former coach at Valpo Bryce Drew landed, but his former school blocked him from transferring to the SEC program. ]
“I think the recent history of transfers to Clemson was an important factor because he saw that OK, this isn’t the first time they’ve brought a guy in from a mid-major program and they’ve had success,” Maravilla said speaking of guard Avry Holmes who transferred from San Francisco. “And then, player development was a factor. I think he felt really comfortable with Brad knowing his background. That was an important factor also that during his sit out year he’s going to have the opportunity to improve as a player. I think that, combined with the general atmosphere at Clemson, from facilities to campus to the level of play, which for David it was important he was going to play at the level he’s capable of playing at. He has seen for himself after playing a number of high major schools that he was more than ready to make the move. Everything just kind of fell into place.”
Skara is a native of Croatia who average over five points per game as a freshman and a point more as a sophomore. But Maravilla believes Skara has only just begun to develop his complete game and expects him to be a force with the Tigers.
“David is not your typical European player,” he said. “He’s really a driver and a an athlete, a defender, he’s a guy who guards two, three or four which most guys from Europe at 6-8 don’t have that capability. He’s a blend in type of guy on a good team that does so many things well. David’s stats are a little misleading (because Valpo ran most of its offense for another player) and he had two ankle injuries so it really slowed is progress. But the one thing he does do is in big games, he always steps to the forefront. The bigger the game the better he plays.”
As proof of that, Maravilla points to last season’s NIT semi-final win by Valpo over BYU in which Skara hit the game winning three pointer, and as a freshman he was the MVP of his conference title game.
“His whole game translates to the ACC level,” Maravilla said. “Every coach will tell you you are who you can guard. He’s the guy that can play any number of positions and with that type of length, athleticism and versatility combined with big game experience and he’s played on a winning team, he’s played in the NCAA Tournament and he’s played in the NIT final four, so he’s got some experience.”
Skara, according to Maravilla, is expected to be at Clemson in June so he can enroll in summer school. He gives the Tigers five transfers from other D1 programs for this year’s roster and 12 scholarship players including senior forward Jaron Blossomgame who has until Wednesday to decide if he’s leaving his name in the NBA Draft.
Clemson also has been involved with Baylor transfer 6-11 Chad Rykhoek. He recently visited Clemson, Georgia Tech and Colorado.