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With Increased Performance Comes More Expectations, Oliver

How do I not blame Purnell for losses like this?And yet another 1st round ACC Tourney loss to a lesser team.

I'm fully cognizant of what OP has done for Clemson since he's been here. He took the garbage Larry Shyatt left him to play with and took us to a level we've never consistently been at before. We have more talent on the team today than we've had since at least the late 80s. We've won more games the last 4 years than we ever have before. I'm not calling for OP to be fired, and even those who do want him gone realize that he's not going anywhere.

But the man can't coach an offense. He hasn't gotten through to Trevor Booker, who still takes days off and actually seems to have regressed. He hasn't recruited any shooters to take pressure off the interior game. His teams don't play defense on the road and generally look AWFUL away from Littlejohn.

In all fairness, Booker is a senior, so his problems are partly on himself. He's mentally weak. When his offensive game is ever stifled, he lets it affect his defensive play. He begins to look lethargic and instead of being the man who leads his team by demanding the ball and using the talent he has to score when we need it, he gets lazy and doesnt play ball anymore. Against Wake Forest OP noticed it I'm sure, and Booker was yanked quite a bit from the game. I'd have sat him down much faster, like last year. Maybe OP believes he's got nothing else to run out there yet that can do better than Trevor can when he's on. To me it seems that Trevor's attitude infects the whole team, and thats the Coach's problem to fix.

Clemson lost K.C.last year, that was expected. You can recruit one to make up for the loss. Losing Terrance Oglesby was not, and we should've had our necessary shooter. Still, Purnell seems to have a preference for a ton of Wing players and no PG, and none of them can shoot deep consistently. Does it not seem to anyone else that we have a glut of guys in here to play the same positions with similar skill sets, when we really need someone who can a) shoot 3s, and b) distribute the ball and run the offense? Are we going to have to recruit all 5-star lineups like Georgia Tech just to win more than 9 conference games?

Speaking of offense, where is it? Our half-court sets be honest....shitty. I have never seen a team that set screens worse than we do, and with a motion offense you have to set screens!!!! The spacing is bad, we dont box out, we can't set screens, and even though we run motion I often see guys NOT moving at all. I see no offensive strategy out there, and its not even there with the experienced players.If it was just the young guys it would be ok, but it isnt. Thats the Coach's problem.

And the defense....where is it when we go on the road? We play very good D at home and lets be fair, winning a road ACC game is a struggle anytime, but we can't beat the weaker teams on the road. How is that any different from going up to Wake Forest in football and barely beating them, or going up there and getting smacked around 45-17? Or a trip to Maryland where we're one of only 2 teams they beat all year? How do we trail an entire game against a team we should beat in a neutral site, and who we beat at their place? We do show up and make a fight of it sometimes, but the killer instinct that I see missing from Clemson football is still missing from Clemson basketball too. Whenever the opponent plays bad, we decide to match their level.  Its all mental weakness. If a team is that different home vs. away, then they are not mentally tough. That ultimately comes down to the Coach.

"It seemed like they wanted it more," Stitt said. "We just didn't play with a lot of energy, a lot of passion. "You can't really explain it. If you don't play with want-to, energy and passion, there's no explanation for that. It comes from within. At Littlejohn, we're pumped up and our fans are into it and we feed off of that. At away games, we've got to create our own energy. We can't let other crowds get to us and let frustration get to us. That's what it boils down to."

"I think we came out and played a little flat," Booker said. "N.C. State came out and they wanted it. You could tell they wanted it."

WTF? How can I hear that and not blame the Coach? Mental preparation is HIS job. Thats no different than going down to Columbia and shitting the bed against a team that got their ass kicked by UCONN. Then, Purnell made a Tammy-like statement.

"You're swimming upstream when you're a high seed and if you don't have a bye, because that other team is coming in highly motivated," Purnell said. "That other team is coming in highly motivated, because this is their Super Bowl. This is their opportunity here. So they're coming in highly motivated with everything to play for, and you've got to get yourself really juiced up."

Yeah no shit Oliver, I know its their Super Bowl, its your job to make sure your team doesnt piss the game away and lose because they dont have the "want-to". Last weekend we pissed the Bye away because they didnt "want it bad enough". At Sakerlina last November didn't have the "want-to"....for half of Bowden's tenure we didnt have the "want-to" either, despite having the talent to win the damn conference.

Purnell wants Clemson basketball to elevate itself. He wants those sellouts every week and wants students camped out for basketball tickets. However if he expects that to happen, he needs to elevate himself or eventually Clemson fans will grow tired of early exits in Tournaments and find a new coach. Getting to the NCAAs won't be a hurdle if it goes to half of Div 1-A soon. 

It won't be this year, and it won't be next year, but if this trend continues his monster is going to eat him.