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Basketball Preview: Clemson vs. Presbyterian

NCAA Basketball: Syracuse at Clemson Andersen Independent Mail-USA TODAY NETWORK

Opponent: Presbyterian Blue Hose
Time: 7:00pm
Location: Littlejohn Coliseum

The Clemson basketball season officially begins Tuesday night as the Tigers host Presbyterian. The Blue Hose posted an ugly 7-15 record last season while playing a COVID-adjusted schedule that did not include their usual trips to major-conference opponents like Clemson. KenPom and ESPN’s FPI both give the Tigers a 95% chance to win. Nevertheless, the matchup will offer a couple of key things to keep an eye on for Clemson fans.

If the exhibition game is any indication the Tigers lineup will be:

F - PJ Hall
F- Hunter Tyson
G- David Collins
G - Al-Amir Dawes
G - Nick Honor
Sixth man - Naz Bohannon

The guard combo of Dawes and Honor is fairly well established, but we’ll be watching to see Nick Honor get back to form after struggling down the stretch last season. He is consistently an excellent on-ball defender, but when his offense cooled off down late in the year, the Tigers floundered.

PJ Hall was a high four-star recruit and the number one player in South Carolina coming out of high school. He didn’t make a huge impact last year as a true freshman, but his role will expand greatly this season. He led all players with 23 points in the exhibition and while he certainly won’t be that dominant all season, the Tigers need him to be a major contributor. At 6-foot-9 he will have a size advantage against Presbyterian so you’d really like to see him make a big mark in the game.

This game will also offer a chance to assess the new transfers — David Collins from USF and Naz Bohannon from Youngstown St. Both are graduate transfers who should be able to make an instant impact. Collins can create his own shot and get to the free throw line. That’s something the Tigers needed more of last year so he should give them a boost.

Bohannon may be only 6-foot-6, but he can bang inside and get rebounds. He has averaged 8+ rebounds for four straight seasons. We will have to see how effective he is against the bigger players in the ACC, but he can be the “junkyard dog sparkplug” that endears himself to fans. Even though he is likely to come off the bench, he may get starter minutes. He is also a very good passer for a forward, averaging 3.2 assists per game across 25 contests last season.

From Presbyterian’s side, Rayshon Harrison is the player to keep an eye on. He is a 6-foot-4 sophomore from Greenville, SC and led the Blue Hose in scoring (17.2) and rebounding (5.6) as a freshman last season. He was a volume shooter with middling efficiency posting a FG percentage of .391 and a 3-point percentage of .350. Keep an eye on who is guarding him and how they perform. There will be tougher assignments in ACC play, but this is a good early season defensive challenge for Clemson’s veteran guards.