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Clemson Basketball Announces 5-man Signing Class

This is from Clemson's official release out today, the first day of the Signing Period.

Head Coach Brad Brownell and his staff added Jaron Blossomgame, a 6-foot-7 forward from Alpharetta, GA, Adonis Filer, a 6-foot-2 guard from Chicago, IL, Landry Nnoko, a 6-foot-11 center from Cameroon, Jordan Roper, a 6-foot guard from Columbia, SC, and Josh Smith, a 6-foot-8 forward from Charlotte, NC.

"Our coaching staff is very excited about the competitive attitude and history of success of the players in this recruiting class," Brownell said. "These young men come from very successful high school programs and play for some of the best coaches in their respective states. Coupled with our first recruiting class, we believe we have laid a strong foundation for the continued success of Clemson basketball."

Jaron Blossomgame is rated among the top prospects in the country by several recruiting services. He is the nation’s No. 74 prospect by PrepStars, No. 90 according to ESPNU, and No. 119 by He is a four-star prospect according to ESPNU and Blossomgame was a standout on the AAU circuit last summer, where he averaged a team-high 15.7 points per game for a talented Georgia Stars team at the Peach Jam. He was a second-team all-state selection at the AAAA level in 2010-11 after averaging 24.0 points and 8.8 rebounds per game for Chattahoochee High School.

"Jaron is an athletic wing with three-point range who should excel in our motion offense," Brownell said. "He has the physical tools to compete right away on both ends of the floor, as well as rebound and make plays around the rim. Jaron has a true passion for the game, which was evident this summer when playing for a high-level AAU team. He was consistently the team’s most dependable performer."

Filer is rated as high as No. 117 in the list of the nation’s top 150 prospects. He is the No. 24 point guard prospect by Rivals and No. 28 at his position, according to Last season, he led Bishop Noll Prep Academy (IN) to a 26-1 record and state runner-up finish after averaging 16 points and 4.5 rebounds per game. Filer will spend a year at Notre Dame Prep School in Fitchburg, MA before enrolling at Clemson next summer.

"Adonis is a competitive young man who always wants to win," Brownell said. "He is a physical guard who will be able to defend different positions and break down defenses and finish in the lane with his size and speed. He has an outgoing personality, and with that we think he will be a very good leader in our program for the future."

Nnoko (pronounced NOH-koh) originally hails from Yaounde, Cameroon, but moved to the United States and played for Montverde Academy in Florida last season as a high school junior. He is a three-star prospect according to the national recruiting services and is rated as high as the nation’s No. 19 center by ESPNU. Nnoko played AAU basketball with the Florida Rams this summer.

"Landry is a big, strong post player who has made tremendous strides in his short time playing basketball," Brownell said. "He possesses all the physical tools necessary to be a good post player in this league. He also has a nice jump hook around the basket, and can step out to 15 feet and make a jumpshot. He has the competitive nature to defend and rebound his position. Our staff truly appreciates the sacrifice he has made to make basketball a priority in his life. We believe he will have a very successful future at Clemson."

Roper is regarded as one of the top players in the state of South Carolina, and the nation’s No. 84 prospect according to PrepStars. Last season, he led Irmo High School to a 27-3 overall record and AAAA state championship. He averaged 20.4 points, 3.7 rebounds, 3.0 assists and 2.3 steals per game as a junior. He was the AAAA Player-of-the-Year at both the state and regional level. He was also named the AAAA Midlands Player-of-the-Year by The State and named All-Tournament at both the Chick-fil-A Classic and Upward Holiday Classic. Roper enters his senior season at Irmo with 1,219 career points.

"Jordan is clearly one of the best players in South Carolina after leading his team to a state championship last season," Brownell said. "He is an explosive guard that can really score from different areas on the court. Our staff is excited about adding a great player from the state, and specifically from Coach Whipple’s program at Irmo High School."

Smith will add size to the Tiger frontcourt with his 6-foot-8 frame. He averaged 10.8 points and 9.5 rebounds per game last season and shot 58 percent from the field in leading Olympic High School to a 28-2 record and state sectional championship. Smith was a MEGA 7 all-conference selection and also earned MVP honors at the North Carolina/South Carolina Battle of the Classes (class of 2012).

"Josh is a strong, physical post player who will provide us with a good inside presence," Brownell said. "Our staff loves the fact that he is the kind of guy who embraces contact. He is a very good passer with an excellent feel for the game, and can shoot the ball well out to 15 feet. He comes from a very successful program in Charlotte and his Olympic High School team should have a good chance to win the state championship this season."

It’s never easy when you’re recruiting this many, and I thought our coaching staff did a really good job of grinding out.

The thing about the class we like is their workers. They want to be coached, they want to be pushed. They come from winning programs. They play for really good coaches, and we’re really blessed in that regard.

It’s very difficult to recruit Landry Nnoko from the summer to now and still get him. There have to be some unique circumstances. Most of the kids you’re recruiting, you’re going to recruit as juniors or maybe as sophomores.

And you know, we’ve been behind recruiting since I took over. Did the right thing, I think, by being fair and giving every kid an opportunity who was already here. And then we had some defections, and really you don’t anticipate that when you already have plenty of scholarships. So then all of a sudden you’re actually behind because you have so many scholarships to fill. And at this level, that’s hard to do because the higher levels you get, there aren’t as many guys you feel can come in. So it puts even more strain and you become behind in classes.

Really, the 2013 class is the first one we feel we’ve been on the exact same level playing field with since I’ve gotten the job. We’ll see what happens through the course of all that. These guys, I think our staff did a good job of analyzing and finding these guys – like Jordan, Jaron and Josh – early on and really tracking them through just one recruiting cycle. Then I thought we did a good job of really attacking Landry’s recruitment … and really Adonis’ as well.

Fair to say ball-handling was an area you needed to address?

Yeah, we certainly wanted to add some ball-handling. Losing Andre (Young) is going to be a major loss. Even Tanner (Smith) for that manner because his decision-making, experience, poise, that’s hard to replace.

We have some guards in the program, but really, Rod (Hall)’s the only guy that is kind of a point guard, and he’s not a true point guard all the way yet.

We don’t always worry about having a 1, 2, 3, 4, all those kinds of positions. But we do want guys who can do different things. Even though Jordan is a point guard, he really has more of a scoring mentality. Adonis can do a little bit of both. Rod is more of a distributing type player to be a passer.

Jaron, we just wanted another big wing. Then we needed to big, physical bodies inside. We needed to solidify the post.

Is this class kind of the foundation for your program?

Oh, kind of. You know, I don’t know that my recruiting is a ton different than what Oliver (Purnell) was recruiting. I think people make more into that than you can.

We just tried to recruit kids we think can help us be successful. I was fortunate to fall into a bunch of those guys when I got here. Oliver’s teams had a good level of athleticism, and we have a good level of athleticism.

Where we are located, that’s probably easier to recruit. There are more athletes down here. At times, it feels like there are more shooters in the Midwest. Kids grew up playing basketball all year long.

I think that’s starting to turn and happen down here in the south a little bit more. But I still think the football influence is so strong that you have kids playing multiple sports and maybe don’t quit football till their freshmen or sophomore years to devote their time to becoming a full-time basketball player. And I think there are more full-time basketball coaches maybe in the Midwest and the northeast. As a result, maybe kids aren’t in the gym as much.

I like the kids we recruited, and I’m sure Oliver would have recruited some of them, too.

Do you intend to add one more in the spring?

Maybe. We knew we wanted to get five, and the sixth one has kind of been like, hey, we’ll see what happens. We knew we wanted two guards, two post players, and we had Jaron committed for a long time. So we had a starting five if we needed one and could figure some things out.

So it’s never easy when you’re recruiting kids on top of kids. And that’s the challenge for ’13, is there are going to be two classes of 10 guys ahead of you. It’s not as appealing to recruits as open spaces. So that’s basically where we’ve come from.

If we hold it for 2013, that’s great because it gives us a third scholarship right now. If there’s a transfer, we can do that. Or if there’s a guy we find out about and really like, we can use that. We’ve kind of held to that. But we recruited to the idea we were going to try to sign five.