Shooting with a purpose

Defense might win championships but there's a reason Brad Brownell placed such an emphasis on shooting during offseason workouts.

On the defensive end last season, Clemson gave up just 60.1 points per game, the school's lowest defensive average since 1950.

But they struggled to make baskets on the other end. The Tigers scored 61.5 points per game, the school's lowest offensive average since 1971.

Their 32 percent clip from behind the 3-point line was the lowest percentage from behind the arc by a Clemson team since 1997.

Brownell makes no bones about it. Shooting from anywhere on the floor -- not just downtown -- needs to improve as he enters his fourth season as the head coach in Tigertown.

"We just did not shoot the ball well and just, probably, couldn't over come it [last season]," Brownell said. "It's an issue that we're really working on. I think our guys understand that and will improve a lot."

That work began not long after Clemson was bounced out of the ACC Tournament.

"We certainly have spent a lot of time on it. In our spring workouts, heading into Italy, I bet two out of every three workouts were all working on shooting," Brownell said. "We charted it, we stat-ed it, we spent a lot of time on it, because we know that was a major problem with last year's team."

With the departures of Devin Booker and Milton Jennings, two of the three best scorers and shooters from last year's squad are gone. Booker and Jennings accounted for four of the five 20-point games and half of the 80 double-figure scoring nights. And one of the two led Clemson in scoring 19 times.

K.J. McDaniels, who averaged 10.9 points as a sophomore, is the Tigers' top returning scorer. Jordan Roper, the second-best returning scorer, led the team in 3-point percentage a season ago with a 41 percent clip.

After sitting out the 2012-13 campaign with an Achilles injury, the return of Devin Coleman could help make Clemson a better shooting team in 2013-14.

"Devin Coleman has shot the ball well. Jordan Roper was a good shooter last year. I think he can consistently shoot the ball well. K.J. is a much improved shooter," Brownell said.

Point guards Rod Hall and Adonis Filer combined to shoot 40 percent from the field and 30 percent from behind the 3-point line.

"I think Rod and Adonis are both better shooters than they were," Brownell said. "They're not marksmen or anything like that. They can make open shots."

Damarcus Harrison, who hit 36 percent from the field and 22 percent from long-range, "is a better shooter," according to Brownell.

"He shot the ball well in Italy, a guy who we worked on his shot all spring and summer," Brownell said.

Much of that time was spent tweaking some of the mechanics to Harrison's jumper.

"He's been a little more receptive this year after last season, to change some things," Brownell said. "I think that he'll shoot the ball better."

Maturity has a significant role in the equation.

"I just think all those guys being a year older and having another year of experience, hopefully they'll be more comfortable while they're out playing," Brownell said. "Sometimes, when you're more comfortable, you're more relaxed, you're more confident. That affects your shot as much as anything." Top Stories