Non-Conference Evaluation of Clemson Basketball (Part 1)

The 6-2 Clemson Tigers are in the middle of exams and halfway through their non-conference schedule. CUTigers contributor Jake Sloan evaluates Clemson's performance before an important ACC/SEC clash with Alabama on Sunday in Greenville.

The Clemson Tigers (6-2) have gotten off to a pretty good start. Despite losses to Massachusetts and Minnesota, Clemson has showed promise, especially on offense. Playing in Greenville, SC, while Littlejohn Coliseum undergoes $63.5 million worth of renovations, the Tigers are currently undefeated at Bon Secours Wellness Arena in Greenville (5-0).

Clemson has been known for its scoring defense and slow-paced offense under Head Coach Brad Brownell, but they're currently shooting 39.2% (65/170) from beyond the arc. The Tigers have yet to shoot three-pointers above 35% in a season during the Brownell era (2010). Clemson is also currently averaging 74.2 points per game, and they've yet to average over 70 points in a season under Brownell. The Tigers are currently allowing only 59.6 points per game.
Jaron Blossomgame has scored in double-figures in all 8 games so far, averaging 18.5 points on 59.6% shooting from the field and 66.7% on two-point field goals. Blossomgame is also shooting 44.0% (11/25) on three-pointers. He took just 27 threes as a freshman and sophomore and already has over a third of that this season. Blossomgame is clearly the team's best player and leader, and he is on pace to be an NBA draft projection.
Donte Grantham (11.0 points per game), Avry Holmes (10.3 points per game) and Jordan Roper (9.3 points per game) have also been scoring well, particularly from beyond the arc. The trio has combined to shoot 39.8% (45/113) from three point land.
Holmes, who transferred from San Francisco, is everything that Clemson expected him to be. He's a true floor general, great shooter and can drive and draw contact. He and Jordan Roper currently have a combined 60:11 assist-turnover ratio. In fact, Jordan Roper leads the nation in this category, at 10.33 to 1!
Grantham, however, has had a few shooting slumps. In both of Clemson's losses, he shot just 3/14 from the field and went 1/10 from the field in their win over South Carolina Upstate. But it's not too concerning, considering how well Grantham has played outside of those games. He started every game as a true freshman last season, and that experience has expedited his development greatly.
In 8.9 minutes per game, freshman Ty Hudson has been an impressive three-point shooter (40%, 6/15). Hudson has a very quick left-handed release and has come on lately from outside.
Jaron Blossomgame (7.1 rebounds per game), Sidy Djitte (6.4 rebounds per game) and Landry Nnoko (5.5 rebounds per game) are currently the team's leaders on the boards. Nnoko (2.1 blocks per game) and Blossomgame (1.6 blocks per game) currently lead the team in blocks.
Nnoko (2.8 fouls per game) and Djitte (2.6 fouls per game) have gotten into foul trouble some. Nnoko fouled out in the loss to Minnesota. 7-footer Legend Robertin should help in this regard. He was finally cleared by the NCAA academically and saw his first action against USC Upstate, scoring a quick 4 points. He will be integral when the Tigers start to play bigger teams on their ACC slate. He has the potential to be a force on the boards and alter shots in the paint.
The Tigers' free-throw shooting has been shaky at times. They're currently shooting 65.2% (101/155) from the line.
For Clemson to be an NCAA Tournament team, they must remain consistent on offense while holding teams to around 60 points on defense and improve their free throw shooting by at least 10%. The Tigers have the talent, experience and depth to make the tournament, but it's all about consistency.

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