Wednesday was a rough day in the life of the Clemson basketball fan. Yes, the ACC tournament hasn't always been kind to us. Lord knows I've watched us under-perform and leave early way too many times. Maybe my memories of the the 2008 tournament where #22 Clemson (yep, we were ranked as the 22nd team in the nation at that time) played the UNC Tar Heels for the ACC Tournament have clouded my memory, but I still carry that belief of making a magical run in the ACC Tournament. We were a good team that year, but what also occurred that year was the Georgia Bulldogs winning four games in three days to make the NCAA tournament. I think watching that happen as my Tigers came so very close to winning the ACC Championship will forever keep me being overconfident in underachieving teams fighting their way to secure a NCAA Tournament appearance. That Clemson team would've probably gone dancing that season even with an early loss, but that run solidified that team's place in the tournament.
Let's look at where we are now. We fought hard, played dead for a while, and then fought even harder at the end, only to come just a rim roll shy of living to play another day. We didn't look like a tournament team. On the other hand, Rod Hall played like a tournament player. Despite being injured (shoulder), he led our squad with 25 points, and had to beg the coaches to put him in when it looked like a Seminole blowout. If Clemson does not play another game this year, then I want everyone to remember how Rod Hall's last game was him fighting through pain to give his team a chance. He fought hard! He is a senior though, so now we have to look at what is to come.
As far as experience, we will have plenty next year. Landry Nnoko and Sidy Djitte return as the big men inside. Also, Josh Smith will return for his senior year after taking tremendous steps, and could contribute more next season.
Donte Grantham has shown his skills and potential, returns as a sophomore. He's joined by Jaron Blossomgame, who was maybe Clemson's most improved player from a season ago. As a RS sophomore this year, we could possibly get two more years of Jaron. Honestly, we have a somewhat young team that could make steps in the right way next year.
Freshman Gabe Devoe has looked like a complete baller at points this year, so look for him to go hard in the offseason. Next year, the Tigers will be away from Littejohn, as it as being renovated. The games will be played in Greenville, which could mean better alumni and fan attendance, but definitely worse student attendance. The student attendance was very weak this year while games were still on campus, and there is no reason to think that will be different in Greenville. Next year could be rough atmosphere wise, unless the team gives students a reason to venture to Greenville for a game (I hear there will be a free bus). As experience returns for the Tigers, it wouldn't be shocking if Clemson made progress, thus making the 2016-17 year in the renovated arena a huge year for Tiger hoops. Basically, make improvements this year and have a solid year in 2016-17, and Brad Brownell's job will be fine, whether you all like that or not. He has two more shots at the tournament.