Clemson Basketball Adds Size

CLEMSON – Realizing the shortage of inside players set to be on the roster next season, Clemson basketball coach Oliver Purnell and his staff focused on filing that void by adding a three post players on the first day of the fall signing period Wednesday.

The Class of 2006 for Clemson includes 6-foot-6 small forward David Potter from IMG Academies in Bradenton, Fla., 6-7 power forward Trevor Booker from Union High, 6-10 A.J. Tyler from Palm Harbor, Fla., and 6-11 Karolis Petrukonis, who attends high school in Norfolk, Va., but is from Europe.

Together, this ranks as the 28th best recruiting class in the country by one recruiting service.

"Every year you try to address certain needs that you have," Purnell said. "I think it addresses needs and continues to get us better. We obviously have a need for size with Sharrod Ford leaving last year and Akin Akingbala and Steve Allen leaving this year, so that was important for us."

Potter is rated as the No. 22 small forward in the country and very athletic. He comes from a basketball family as his mother is a high school referee. He has a very good mid-range jumper, but will need to extend it to three-point line.

He will play shooting guard and small forward at Clemson.

"He is in the K.C. Rivers mold in that he's just a good player and does a lot of things well," Purnell said. "He's a pretty good shooter and he knows how to play the game and knows how to defend. He's long and lanky and just another good basketball player."

Booker averaged 14.7 points and 12.9 rebounds last season at Union, and is the banger and rebounder that Purnell sorely wants and needs. He is considered to be one of the top five players in the state. He, too, is very athletic and has the rugged mentality a top rebounder needs.

He will play power forward and some center at Clemson.

"He's going to give us some much needed help on the backboards," Purnell said. "He plays much bigger than 6-7."

Tyler is a power forward with the outside shooting ability of a small forward. He can knock down the long-range shots, but has the size inside to work in the post. He needs to get stronger.

"He gives us a big guy that can really shoot the ball from the outside," Purnell said. "He's got outstanding range and played hurt most of the summer, which really showed us something."

Petrukonis is originally from Lithuania and has played in several international tournaments. Last year in high school in Virginia, he averaged 14 points, 15.6 rebounds, 4.8 blocks, and 3.2 assists per game. He is a top up-and-coming prospect. He may not hit his full potential until his junior year at Clemson.

"He obviously addresses a size need for us," Purnell said. "I think he has an opportunity to be an outstanding college player because he's big, has good hands, runs well and shoots the ball well. He's shown that he has three-point range on his shot."

Clemson still has one scholarship available to use on a high school player, junior college player, transfer or European.

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