Italy or bust

CLEMSON - It wasn't long after Brad Brownell accepted the Clemson job in 2010 that he began looking ahead to the summer of 2013.

Brownell knew this could be one his youngest, most inexperienced teams at Clemson, so that's why he planned to the summer foreign tour for August of 2013. For the first time since the 1981 trip to Brazil, a Clemson basketball team will take a summer trip abroad.

"We kind of decided this would be the year we would try to do this a couple of years back, knowing that we wouldn't have any seniors and our team would really benefit from trip like this and one when you're kind of looking for leadership," Brownell said.

Brownell, his assistants, support staff and players left Clemson on Thursday morning to catch a flight from Atlanta to Rome, Italy. Games are scheduled for Aug. 10, 12, 14 and 17 in Florence, Venice and Lake Como.

"We're trying to get some more experience for different players," Brownell said. "Guys like Landry Nnoko that haven't played a lot that will get to play 25-30 minutes a game in each game. It'll be great experience [for] Josh Smith."

The two sophomore bigs will log plenty of minutes during the four games because three post players will not be available.

Redshirt freshman Jaron Blossomgame will travel with the team, but will watch from the sidelines since he's still recovering from surgery. Two first-year players, freshman center Sidy Djitte and junior forward Ibrahim Djambo won't make the trip.

"It's a cool trip for all of us. We're really excited about it," Brownell said. "I think what it allows us to do is to develop our identity as a team, each team kind of takes on its own personality.

"I think this year's team will develop a personality on this trip. You'll see guys become leaders."

The off the court opportunities will also be important.

"I think it'll be interesting for us to spend more time with our guys in a little bit more of a laid back setting, certainly the historical aspect of it, what we'll learn from that will be great," Brownell said. "It'll just be a great bonding time for us."

He added, "In terms of basketball, we'll try a few new things, pressure more up the court [and] try to play a lot of guys. We certainly want to try to win."

After all, that is the name of the game.

"It's going to be a really good experience on the court, especially for the young guys that haven't played as much," Brownell said. "With a younger team, we thought this would be a perfect time for it. That's why we planned it accordingly."

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