2021-2022 record: 17-16, 8-12 in the ACC
Head coach: Brad Brownell
Tenure at Clemson: 12th Year
Career coaching record: 368-235
Home Court: Littlejohn Coliseum
Predicted Starting Lineup: G Chase Hunter, G Alex Hemenway, G Brevin Galloway, F Hunter Tyson, C PJ Hall
Bench: G Chauncey Gibson, G Dillon Hunter, F RJ Godfrey, F Ian Schieffelin, F/C Ben Middlebrooks
Following a rollercoaster 2021-22 season, head coach Brad Brownell will look to right the ship and get this team back in the NCAA tournament. Last season, Clemson started out ACC play slowly, but won its last four games heading into the ACC tournament. This momentum was halted with a heartbreaking buzzer-beater by Virginia Tech’s Darius Maddox that sent the Tigers home in the second round. Nevertheless, Clemson played well at the end of 2021-22, and expectations were high as this team had many returning players coming into 2022-23.
That is until two of its top guards, Al-Amir Dawes and Nick Honor, transferred out of the program, leaving Brownell with a lack of depth at the position. In response, Brownell turned to the transfer portal as well, picking up Boston College guard Brevin Galloway along with recruiting a duo of talented freshmen guards, Dillon Hunter and Chauncey Gibson.
The leader of this team is undeniably junior center PJ Hall, who emerged last year as one of the best big men in the ACC. The Spartanburg, S.C., native dealt with a foot injury for the better part of last year and is looking to bounce back after an offseason knee surgery. Hall was one of the most improved players in the ACC last year and averaged over 15 points and five rebounds per game. In addition, graduate forward Hunter Tyson is returning, who also averaged double figures for the Tigers a season ago. Clemson has depth and talent in the frontcourt, but the question will be whether the guard play can supplement these big men. The issue for the Tigers in the past has been consistency, as they have shown the ability to compete with the best in the ACC but also have been vulnerable to bad losses.
Team ceiling: Brownell’s teams pride themselves on defensive ability and grit, and Clemson’s stout defensive play will be key in ACC competition. PJ Hall has another big year and brother guards Chase and Dillon Hunter compliment this team well. The Tigers finish in the middle tier of the ACC and return to the NCAA tournament.
Team floor: The inexperience of the point guards on this team costs it in ACC play, and the Tigers struggle to compete despite PJ Hall’s success. Clemson has been a bubble team for the better part of a decade, and just a couple of bad losses could hurt the Tigers. Brownell’s seat gets warmer, and the Tigers bow out early in the ACC tournament.
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