Brownell discusses Johnson situation

CLEMSON - The timing of the most recent transfer from the Clemson basketball program couldn't have been much worse.

Seven games into his sophomore season, Noel Johnson, called an early end to his Clemson career.

In the last month, two players have opted to transfer.

Less than a week before the start of his first season as head basketball coach at Clemson, Brad Brownell was informed that Donte Hill wanted to leave.

"There's got to be a commitment on the part of young people, to something bigger than themselves," Brownell said. "That's a problem in society, not just Clemson basketball or any other sports teams."

But he didn't want to keep players around that weren't willing to be a part what's being built.

"I believe that this is a great place, an unbelievable opportunity for young men," Brownell said. "If you're unhappy in the least here, then you should try to find a place that will better fit your needs."

Scout.com No. 11 class in 2009 is down to just two—Devin Booker and Milton Jennings.

"I like both kids a lot. Donte and Noel are nice young men," Brownell said. "Maybe they don't fit our style of play as much as they thought they would. Some of this is time. You need to give it some time.

"It certainly has left us in a little bit of a bind."

Booker and Jennings are two of nine scholarship players that Clemson (5-2) has on the roster before Sunday's game at South Carolina (5-1).

Already limited at guard before Johnson's transfer, the Tigers are even shorter on experience with Demontez Stitt, Andre Young and Tanner Smith as the only upperclassmen in the backcourt that are on scholarship.

Freshman Cory Stanton, who's already played meaningful minutes this season, will be asked to do more.

So will Brian Narcisse, an undersized power forward will see an uptick in minutes at small forward now that Johnson is gone.

Catalin Baciu is also expected to play more, despite seeing just two minutes of action in the last two games.

Clemson has already added four-star power forward Bernard Sullivan and three-star guard Daniel Sapp for 2011.

But the last-minute departures of Hill and Johnson impacted some of the other possibilities for the class.

"The troubling things with the kids leaving now, there were some kids we could have signed early and would have signed early," Brownell said. "Because we had these guys in the program, we didn't follow through all the way in their recruitment. We approached the idea that we were going to have four scholarships, and we wanted to get two, for sure, maybe three."

Seniors Demontez Stitt and Jerai Grant are the only two players scheduled to leave after this season.

"Maybe we'll hold another scholarship or so for a transfer, for next year," Brownell said. "We are very involved in 2012. I think we're going to put together a very good class in 2012, because we've had time to build relationships with those people.

"That's always a challenge when you take over a new job—getting to that point where you find good players and getting into a fair recruiting fight where you can get in early enough to build a lasting relationship with those kids."


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