In 11 seasons under head coach Brad Brownell, Clemson basketball has had only one season under .500 and has made three NCAA tournaments, including last season.
However, after a devastating four-point loss to Rutgers in the round of 64, how does the program look for next season and beyond?
To better understand Clemson’s offseason moves and upcoming season preview, Pittsburgh Sports Now talked with William Qualkinbush. Qualkinbush covers the Tigers on the air at 105.5 The Roar as well as handles Play-by-Play for the Clemson Network.
While it is coming off of a 16-8 season with an NCAA tournament berth, one would think that Clemson is in excellent shape to re-load and have another great year. However, with the departures of a few veterans as well as some younger transfers, the Tigers are going to look very different this upcoming season.
“Aamir [Simms] going pro, you have Jonathan Baehre…. he is gone inside too, so that takes away a lot of Clemson’s size,” Qualkinbush said. “And then at the guard, you also have Clyde Trapp, a veteran who probably was more valuable for his experience in the system and knowing where to be and that sort of stuff than the skills that he put on the floor. Not to say he was an un-skilled player. But his leadership and experience and his ability to rebound from the guard I think was very important for Clemson. And then John Newman III who also transferred. A veteran who had knee surgery in the offseason after 2020. Really looked to take a step froward, but after that knee surgery lost a lot of his explosiveness… and so he transferred.”
Losing two of its top two scorers from last season with Simms and Trapp leaving, the Tigers will have to look to the guards this season for more scoring. One of the guards, Al-Amir Dawes, is heading into his junior year at Clemson and was the second-highest scorer on the team last year.
“You’ve got two returning lead guards that I think they are very excited about in Al-Amir Dawes and Nick Honor,” he went on. “Honor kind of faded down the stretch of the season. He was hurt a little bit and maybe list some of his mojo. Streaky shooter, better defender I think on the ball than his size, but his size does become a factor some. And then Al-Amir Dawes, I think is the traditional point guard of that group. He is asked to score a bunch.”
For more on Clemson’s transfer portal activity and all things relating to the program, check out the full interview with Qualkinbush at the link below.
For more Clemson content from William, check out his twitter @QualkTalk.