The Clemson Tigers have exceeded expectations this college basketball season.
Brad Brownell has coached the Tigers to a 9-1 record thus far, and the team is on the brink of their first top-25 ranking since the 2009 season. It would also be the team’s first top-25 ranking in Brownell’s eight year tenure.
This is the type of season Clemson Men’s Basketball fans have been waiting for. After finishing each of the last three seasons barely over .500, many expected Brownell to be shown the door last offseason. Surprisingly, the Tigers retained Brownell and the decision seems to have paid off. The Tigers currently possess one of the best records in the ACC prior to the start of conference play and have wins over two major programs in Ohio State and Florida.
On the court, the Tigers have been led by senior forward Donte Grantham, who leads the team in scoring. Grantham has developed over the course of his Clemson career from a highly touted, yet slightly underwhelming player in his first three seasons into a true leader and go-to scorer in his senior year. In each of his last three seasons, Grantham averaged between seven and 10 points per game with a shooting percentage close to .380. This year, Grantham is averaging 15.5 points per game on an eye-opening .653 field goal percentage. His improvement is a major reason for Clemson’s excellent start to the season.
Continuing the early success of this season will be vital to the future of the Clemson Men’s Basketball program. Brownell has been given a chance to earn his keep, and he’s gotten it done on the court so far. Off the court, a major win in the recruiting field would go a long way as well. Clemson has been linked to top-ranked recruit Zion Williamson from nearby Spartanburg, SC for months. Keeping up their winning ways and landing Williamson would give the Tigers a shot at not only making the top-25 for the first time in years, but also staying their for years to come.
Keep an eye on the Tigers as the season progresses. Early season success is one thing, but conference play is an entirely different beast. The team’s biggest challenges are still ahead of them. The Tiger’s next game is against rival South Carolina on Dec. 19 at 7 p.m. and their first conference opponent is NC State on Dec. 30t.