It's been a long and interesting offseason. We said goodbye to one of our program's best in recent history, K.J. McDaniels. He is now on the Philadelphia 76ers and is certainly making a name for himself. We also saw two players transfer: Adonis Filer and Ibrahim Djambo. On the flipside we didn't lose any scholarship seniors to graduation and pulled in arguably the best recruiting class of the Brownell era with Donte Grantham and Gabe DeVoe joining the team this year. Now we're ready to get the final season in Littlejohn Coliseum as we know it underway.
Florida A&M is ranked by KenPom as the 335th best team out of 351 total teams. Early ranking should be taken with a grain of salt, but not when they're this bad. This should be a slam dunk for Clemson, as KenPom gives the Tigers a 96% chance to take care of business. The Rattlers went 0-10 in non-conference road games a season ago. They did the same 0-10 in 2012-13. Check my math, but I believe you have to go back to a 11/24/2008 win at Kennesaw State to find their last non-conference road win, a 48 game win-less streak.
They were a very poor offensive team last year and their three biggest contributors were senior, so Clemson should be extremely successful when playing defense. Trey Kellum, the next guy down on the list, transferred to SE Missouri State. Not encouraging to say the least.
So, what will we be looking for from Clemson beyond a 1-0 start?
The rotation at power forward will be interesting to watch. Jaron Blossomgame lead the team in minutes (30) in their exhibition against Anderson. Will that trend continue, and will Grantham shift up to the four-spot or will Josh Smith play when he steps out. Smith only played four minutes against Anderson?
I believe Jaron Blossomgame is a major X-factor for this team and has an opportunity to play a major role in their success. Will he pull in double-digit rebounds?
What is Grantham capable of doing immediately? He led the team is shots taken during the exhibition. Obviously we're not putting too much stock into an exhibition game, but it will be interesting to see if he remains such a large part of Clemson's offensive plan so early in his career.
Will Landry Nnoko stay out of foul trouble? He improved in this area tremendously throughout last season and we're hoping for that progression to continue.
Finally, we've come to expect dominant defensive performances from Brownell's teams against over-matched opponents, but will the offense find a flow and a look like one that can avoid the long, painful scoreless droughts that plagued the Tigers' against their best opponents a season ago? We shall learn soon.
It's the last first tip-off in LJC. Share thoughts with us before and during the game in the comment section below.