Not all nice guys finish last

CLEMSON - You know the old saying about nice guys and how they finish last? K.J. McDaniels has thrown that right out of the window.

Kind of like he does to opponents' layups, dunks and jumpers.

"He's such a nice guy. K.J. is a nice person," Brad Brownell said on Tuesday, after McDaniels scored 12 points and blocked six shots in a win over N.C. State.

McDaniels leads Clemson in scoring [17.1], rebounds [7.2] and blocked shots [2.8]. He's fifth, eighth and first among ACC players in the two categories, respectively.

That well-rounded stat line would suggest that McDaniels qualifies as a good player. Twenty-five games into his junior season, it's hardly up for debate, even if he is a good guy.

"A lot of guys that are good players, they have a little edge about them. They probably have a little more edge about them," Brownell said. "K.J. can get provoked to a certain degree. I don't want to act like he's a soft kid, because he's not a soft kid, but K.J. would never be one to look for a fight. He's not going to look to be that way.

"He's just going to play his game, kind of let things happen, so it is probably a little different. I do think, more times that are really, really good players are ultra competitive and can get nasty about it. Sometimes, that's OK. You need a little bit of that. K.J. is not so much."

Welcome back, big guy

When Landry Nnoko emerged off the bench in the first half on Tuesday, he received a nice ovation from the 6,987 fans at Littlejohn Coliseum.

After Nnoko was forced to sit out last Saturday's game against Virginia because of the flu, the Clemson faithful realized just how valuable he was to their Tigers. He responded with nine points, six rebounds and three blocked shots.

Brownell wasn't sure what to expect out of his sophomore center.

"We thought he would be fine. He asked to come out one time in the game, which is rare, so I know he was a little fatigued," Brownell said. "There was a point there the way the game was going he didn't have to do too much. But, certainly, I was pleased. That was about top-end of what I was -- the top-end of what I was hoping was 20, 29-30, was about the top end of what I thought."

Back on the scene

It's been an up-and-down-type of season for Damarcus Harrison.

"I've been teasing him here a little bit like, he went from not playing really well for a while then he was playing really well for halves," Brownell said. "He'd play well for a half, then the second half, he would be gone and I'd be like, ‘Where are you, man?'"

Lately, he's been playing well. And that's been much needed.

Harrison had 14 points [2-of-4 from 3] against N.C. State.

"He's practiced well here recently. He's kind of gotten some confidence. He's actually shot the ball pretty well in practice the last two or three weeks," Brownell said.

For Clemson to continue its push towards a spot in the Madness, they'll need that to continue.

"It makes a huge difference for our team," Brownell said. "When he plays well, all of a sudden we've got another 6-5 guy at the perimeter spot with K.J. and we look like a team that has much better size. We're still a little small with[Jaron Blossomgame], but everywhere else we're a normal sized ACC team."

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