Game day Q and A

CLEMSON – Brad Brownell talks about Miami, their blueprint for success and how that relates to the Clemson hoops program.

Opening statement…
Brownell: Coming off a really good win [Thursday] night. I'm really happy for our players. The bus ride was much better than some other travel after the fact. I'm looking forward to a game against a team that's probably playing as well as anybody in the country right now. They're just playing great basketball. Inside, they're just big and strong. Every guy, Kenny Kadji, Julian Gamble, Reggie Johnson, just three big, physical, strong guys that can score around the basket. Kadji can make 3's. [Shane] Larkin and Durand Scott, you have two guys that can almost play point guard -- great vision, great decision makers, passers. Obviously, Shane Larkin's improved 3-point shooting, I think, is a big reason they're having the success they are now. He's always been fast. He's always been a guy that can make good decisions. Now, if you step behind ball screens, he's making deep 3's. He just creates even more problems for your defense.

They defend very well. Obviously, protect their basket with their size. It's hard to get offensive rebounds. The guys on the perimeter work at it. And they're experienced. They don't get too high. They don't get too low. When they're playing poorly, get off to a slow start and the other team plays well, and they're on the road, they just kind of play through it. That just shows experience, and guys that have been through the wars. They don't get rattled as much. When they're playing great, which they have been at times, they're confidence is through the roof. They just roll. But our guys are looking forward to it. Glad we won [Thursday] night, gave us a little extra boost, maybe, to feel better about ourselves and play with confidence on Sunday.

In this era of one-and-done issues, is experience more valuable and more rare than it's been at other times?
Brownell: It's probably a little more rare. I don't think you see as many teams -- obviously, they're unique with guys that played several years, four-year, five-year and six-year guys. So it certainly is unique, what they have this year. And it certainly is different. There aren't a lot of teams like that. It's special. They're capitalizing. When you have older teams, guys that have been through the wars, guys that have paid their dues a little bit, there's an appreciation for the journey. There's an appreciation for the success you're having this last trip through the league. Those are the kinds of things, when you have an older group together and it's going well, it's a pretty special feeling. It's a pretty special time in those guys' lives. You come to practice with a little different type of mindset. You come to games with a different mindset. I'm sure they're all invested, because you don't want to let each other down.

Is Miami a team you look at and go, ‘In a couple of years, maybe that's possible.'
Brownell: I hope so. Certainly, that's what I've talked about. Maybe your best years at Clemson are when you have older teams. You don't get a lot of one-and-done guys here. You hope to put together two classes, three classes of guys that get to play and get some experience, kind of learn through experience, grow up through the program. By the time they're seniors, juniors and older players, you feel good about a group that's been together for three or four years. That's the case, for the most part, with Miami this year -- everybody but Shane Larkin, who's in his second year. I just think that's kind of what I was talking about. To appreciate the process, enjoy the fight of each game, and take a lot out of it the last season.

Does it surprise you that Miami doesn't get more attention, nationally?
Brownell: I think they're getting some here in the last two weeks. It doesn't hurt when LeBron [James] and Dwayne Wade show up to your games. That's pretty good for P.R. and recruiting, all those other things. They haven't been a basketball power. They're not one of the name brand schools, probably getting promoted a little more than others. It's going to take a while for their success to get them the kind of notoriety they deserve. They deserve it this year, the way they're playing right now.

Can you relate to having older teams like that?
Brownell: I can relate to having teams that are older, have won and are appreciating that journey. You see it in your guys and can tell that your guys are in a great place, and you're enjoying a special season. And you have unbelievable confidence that your players are going to find ways to win games, they're so invested that it's going to take a lot to beat you. I've certainly been a part of those teams. Those are special feelings. You don't get those every year.

Do you and coach [Jim] Larranaga know each other well from previous years?
Brownell: We've had good battles, competed very hard against each other, when he was at Mason and I was at Wilmington. Those were two of the best programs in the league -- tightly contested games. He's, obviously, a good coach, doing a good job down there. So, yeah, we've gone at it for several years. Top Stories