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2020-21 Clemson men's basketball preview

Clemson Tigers

2019-20 record: 16-15, 9-11 in the ACC

Head coach: Brad Brownell

Tenure at Clemson: 11th season

Career coaching record: 352-227

Home court: Littlejohn Coliseum

Starters: G Al-Amir Dawes, G John Newman III, G Clyde Trapp, F Aamir Simms, F PJ Hall

Bench: G Chase Hunter, G Nick Honor, G Alex Hemenway, G/F Olivier-Maxence Prosper,  F Hunter Tyson, C Lynn Kidd

Overview: After a miraculous run to the Sweet Sixteen in 2018, the Tigers missed the NCAA Tournament in 2019 and were on track to miss it again last season. As time goes on, it looks more likely that the 2018 run was nothing more than a fluke. That’s not a hard argument to make as that was the Tigers’ first trip to the Sweet Sixteen since 1997. However, Clemson remains determined to break out of the middle of the ACC rankings.

With four of last season’s five starters returning, there isn’t too much turnover for the Tigers. However, the one departing starter, Tevin Mack, will leave big shoes to fill. The guard/forward was the best two-way player on the roster with 12.2 points per game and a team high of 34 total steals. Star forward Aamir Simms will have to continue to carry the team, but unless any of his supporting guards steps up, this season will bring just as much mediocrity as the last two.

While the Clemson roster was deep going into this season, it was anything but tall. However, the recruiting office seemed to notice that its roster was getting too small to compete and addressed the issue. While its incoming class adds only 3 players to the team, Clemson has successfully addressed its lopsided roster by signing two centers and one power forward, all four-star recruits. The most notable member of this trio is the 6-foot-9 South Carolinian center PJ Hall. Weighing in at 235 pounds, Hall provides a much-needed post presence and will be an adequate replacement for Mack.

Team ceiling: If Hall and Simms are able to play off of one another in the post, this is a team that could potentially make waves in the ACC. Don’t expect the Tigers to go far in the conference tournament but there’s a very real possibility they make it past the first round.

Team floor: The more pessimistic yet slightly more realistic fate of this team is that they land in the bottom half of the ACC and miss the NCAA tournament. Clemson has promise this year, but it’s unclear if it has enough to actually compete.

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