Clemson basketball coach Brad Brownell announced Tuesday that junior wing man Austin Ajukwa plans to transfer. The timing couldn't have been worse for the Tigers, who are less than two weeks from their first game of the season.
Ajukwa averaged 3.1 points and 1.8 rebounds in 12.1 minutes as a sophomore. Although Ajukwa was not a projected starter, he figured to have a pretty sizeable role as a reserve, and this is a blow to a team that now very thin on the wing.
The word is Ajukwa wanted to play 25-30 minutes per game this season, which wasn't feasible considering his position as clearly behind Donte Grantham at the 3 spot. It's very possible he could have logged at least 15 minutes per game with the potential to earn more while providing depth at both wing spots, but that obviously wasn't enough to keep him committed to the program.
Ajukwa didn't take the step many expected from him as a sophomore after showing progress toward the end of his freshman season — his three-point shooting regressed drastically, and there were still times when he looked a bit lost. Still, he was a useful piece with a lot of upside and was one of the team's better athletes. He was playing increased minutes toward the end of last season, and his role seemingly only stood to increase, but apparently not to the degree he desired.