With First-Team All-ACC forward Jaron Blossomgame returning for his final year, Clemson had hopes and expectations of making the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 2011. After a disappointing season plagued by close loss after close loss, the Tigers were relegated to the NIT Tournament as a #2 seed, and fans were hoping for at least a repeat run to the Big Apple as a consolation. However, the Tigers added insult to injury by squandering a 20-point second-half home lead to mid-major Oakland to lose its umpteenth game by 6 points or less--a fitting end to perhaps the most frustrating season in Clemson history.
It was about the worst ending one could have scripted for Head Coach Brad Brownell, with whom most Clemson fans have lost patience. Despite receiving a vote of confidence from Athletic Director Dan Radakovich at the ACC Tournament, there was rampant speculation that Clemson would look to make a change with 3 years remaining on Brownell's contract. In fact, it was reported by an inside source that Clemson had contacted alumnus Will Wade, current head coach at VCU. Incidentally, the current buyout on Brownell's contract is $3.5 million. However, Radakovich met with Brownell over the weekend and released the following statement on Monday:
“As part of a comprehensive season-ending review and evaluation, I met for several hours with Brad Brownell to review the recently completed season and to look ahead to 2017-2018. Both of us believe strongly that we should have achieved more this season and Brad is candid with his own critique and assessment. As we move forward, I expect Brad to make changes in the program to better position us for success. He continues to represent Clemson University with integrity and class, and we will continue to do all that we can to help him as we expect to achieve consistent success with our men’s basketball program.”
So Brownell's job appears to be safe for at least one more year, but he will definitely be at the forefront of the hot seat discussions entering the 2017-18 season. The Clemson administration is hoping he rebounds in a big way.