No one was happier to see Oliver Purnell leave more than I was. I guess I was spoiled. I arrived at Clemson in 1994 during Rick Barnes 1st year on campus and saw what he did in his 4 years. The ACC was a lot tougher then. (Dukies winning national titles in 91,92, and then UNC in 93). Larry Shyatt then made December thru March completely pointless on the sports calendar. To his credit, OP was successful in taking us out of the cellar and making us a respectable program, but his years were extremely predictable.
While we were hopeful that things would change in moving from TB to Dabo, much of the staff and philosophy remained the same. OP departed and none of his staff was retained. Brad B has an opportunity now to make his own mark and do things his way. I personally believe he will ultimately be more successful than OP, but
I dont think we'll see that this year. Let's make sure we have realistic expectations. Our non-conference schedule is once again --- pathetic. We have USC and Michigan (in the ACC-Big 10 challenge), and that's it. Yes, we could play a couple of decent teams in the Paradise Jam, but this has to be addressed. Can we at least play some middle of the pack teams in other BCS conferences ? Georgia, Alabama, Seton Hall, something like that ?
Our conference schedule has 2 games vs UNC and at Duke. that's 3 losses. In order to have a winning conference record, we'll have to go 9-4 in the rest of our games. I don't see it. 7-9 with this team would be respectable and I am personally praying for 8-8.
The things I am looking for in Brad's 1st season are --
Production from Milton, Devon, and Noel -- 5 star, 4 star, 4 star. They played like 2 star, 2 star, 2 star in OP's system last year. We know what we have in Demontez, and Jerai is a very solid role player, but we have to get a big step up in production from these 3 sophomores.
A half court offense -- it's unlikely to be a well oiled machine in Brad's 1st year, but i want to see screens, i want to see hard cuts to the basket, and i want to see a plan-- that gets executed.
Hard nosed defense -- yes, we pressed full court for the last 6-7 years and it was feast or famine. When it worked, it led to easy points because that's how we had to score. when it didnt work it lead to teams shooting 60% against us because they shot layups all game. We won't press now. I want to see solid half court defense and 5 guys going to the glass
If we can get these 3 things in Brad's 1st year, we can compete in a top heavy ACC. Maybe 8-8 is a lofty goal with a new coach and a new system, and maybe we won't see immediate results given that we only have 10 guys on scholarship this year. 2 have already signed for next year, and we have 3 open spots. the next few months will also show us what kind of recruiter we have.. and what he can do with the talent that he gets.