Anxious for his debut

CLEMSON - More than a year in the making, Jaron Blossomgame will make his debut at Littlejohn Coliseum on Friday night.

Finally.

A three-star addition in the 2012 signing class, Blossomgame spent all of last season watching from the sidelines as he recovered from a compound fracture in his left leg.

He'll hit the floor when Clemson opens the season with an exhibition against Francis Marion at 7 p.m.

"Getting back into the flow is going to be tough for anybody coming off that injury and being out for that long. But I think I've handled it pretty well, up to this point," Blossomgame said. "I've been coming to practice everyday, ready to work. I work as hard as I can. I don't think about my leg when I go dunk or something in the lane, off of the leg I broke. I just do it.

"It's like second nature to me. I just do it. I don't think like, if I do this, it's going to hurt me or I'm going to break anything. That doesn't bother me at all."

A Georgia AAAA All-State selection as a senior, Blossomgame averaged 25.8 points per game that season. He broke the leg during a workout in the spring after that final year of high school ball at Chattahoochee.

In a recent scrimmage against Charlotte -- the first game-like environment Blossomgame's been a part of since being named MVP in the GACA All-Star Showcase -- he and Ibrahim Djambo each played 20 minutes at the power forward position.

They'll continue to split time this season.

"I guess it will be based on who's playing better, who's been more consistent and things like that," Blossomgame said.

Back in the fold

While most folks have spent the last year wondering about Blossomgame's return, Devin Coleman will be back after missing the entire 2012-13 season after suffering an Achilles injury after his freshman season.

Coleman thinks his experience on the bench helped turn him into a more cerebral player.

"I feel like I got a lot smarter, understanding defensive rotations and where to go with the ball in certain situations, offensively," he said. "Watching definitely gave me a different perspective. Obviously, being on the side, you get to sit and watch with the coaches, a lot of teaching points that I picked up on. I feel like I'm a lot smarter."

Though he averaged 2.6 points per game as a freshman, Coleman was solid over the final three games of his freshman season, averaging 10 points during that stretch.

The redshirt sophomore from Philadelphia will be contending for playing time at the wing position with Austin Ajukwa, Damarcus Harrison, K.J. McDaniels, and Jordan Roper.

"We're loaded at the wing position," Coleman said. "We've got a lot of guys at that spot. I think that's a benefit. That's something good about the team that we're deep at that position. One guy's having an off game, a little banged up or something like that, next guy up. He can step in and fill that role."

Ready, set, lead

K.J. McDaniels is the most recognizable name and face on the Clemson roster. He's also the Tigers' best player.

So it's no wonder that Brad Brownell has pushed for his top returning scorer and rebounder to help lead a team that has no seniors.

"I feel like a lead-by-example-type deal, just on and off the court," McDaniels said. "Coming out here and playing as hard as we can, I believe that will flow to the team and they'll do what they have to do."

Fellow junior Rod Hall has been pegged by Brownell as another source of leadership.

"It's a good challenge for Rod and me because we're not out-spoken dudes. We're kind of to ourselves," McDaniels said. "I feel like we'll learn."

Hall, who is the top returning assist maker, pointed to his past experiences as a leader, when asked if he's ready to take on that role.

"I used to lead all through high school. I did bits and parts of leading [last year] behind Devin [Booker] and Milt [Jennings]," he said. "I think I'll be ready for it."

CUTigers.com Top Stories