Basketball season is now underway and we'll be bringing you our observations and analysis of what we see from the hardwood Tigers in quick hitting notes throughout the year. We have a very young team so we're tempering our expecations, but absolutely expect improvement from last year's 13-18 (5-13) club. For our more on our outlook check out our Season Preview article.
Here's what we saw in the season opening win over Stetson.
11/8 v. Stetson
Result: 71-51 Victory
Leading Scorer: K.J. McDaniels (20)
Key Stat: Shot 43.5% from three as a team
- Clemson began the game with dominant defense. The perimeter pressure was especially suffocating and Rod Hall was a huge part of that.
- We read a lot of comments in our Season Preview about how Rod Hall shouldn't get as many minutes, but he had 24 minutes and scored 11 points. I agree, he doesn't have a reliable jump shot, but he was able to penetrate to the basket, was 4/4 from the charity stripe, and was even better on the defensive end.
- After hyping Devin Coleman, he only played five minutes, took one shot, and did not score. I'm only speculating, but I would think that either Brownell does not yet trust him on defense or he is still making his way back from the torn Achilles.
- K.J. McDaniel was 4/7 from three. We said if he could improve his jump shot he could make waves in the ACC. He seems well on his way.
- Jordan Roper was 4/9 from the field with 9 points. He also had four assists as he transitions into sharing the point guard role with Filer and Hall. He will be a crucial component to this offense and looked good tonight.
- It was great to see Blossomgame score his first points as a Tiger. He was a bit tougher in the post than expected.
- Landry Nnoko, Josh Smith, and Sidy Djitte combined for just three points on 1/6 shooting. I expect very little scoring that position throughout the season. Some of their shots weren't even close.
- Ibrahim Djambo looked much more developed than I expected. He also played more minutes than Nnoko. We may see him get a lot of playing time throughout the season, especially if he outplays Nnoko and Smith. He pulled down five rebounds compared to Nnoko's one, but beyond that he looked athletic and according to the announcer "silky smooth." His quickness and perimeter defense were better than what you'd expect from someone with his height. In the second half, he had a great drive and lay-up while getting fouled. Unfortunately he missed the free throw, but he looks ready to contribute immediately.
- Demarcus Harrison was 4/8 overall and 2/5 from three. As we mentioned in our Season Preview article, he wasn't making shots last year. He looked much better tonight.
- Offense looked completely different from last season. Played with a much quicker tempo. Looked much improved.
- Overall, disappointed that we faded in the second half, actually losing the half by 11 (25-36), but very pleased overall. Perimeter defense was excellent even though the new, more stringent rules on defense were annoying. Clemson's shooting was the big take-away. We were simply making shots, something we didn't do last season. We'll have to see how this carries over when more of them are contested. If you read the words "better" and "improved" a lot in this post, I apologize, but consider that a good thing.
Next up is Delaware State this coming Wednesday. It's on ESPN3, so get yourself a setup with an HDMI cable and tune in. We'll be bringing you our thoughts and analysis after every couple of games, but for the season opener, we wanted to share our first impressions, and they are positive.Follow @Ryan_Kantor