Welcome to The Sports Bank’s third annual college basketball season preview series. Two years we looked at 99 teams in 99 days. Last year, we were slightly more aggressive and expanded to 111 teams in 111 days and will do so again as we look ahead to the 2012-2013 season.
We will rank the 75 power conference teams and top 36 mid-majors in reverse power ranking order. We’ll break down rosters, transfers, incoming freshmen, non-conference schedules, and pick a player to watch for each team.
With only two seniors on their roster, (one who has massively underachieved for the most part) the Clemson Tigers are not in a position to make any real noise in the ACC.
Last Season: 7th, 8-8 in ACC, 16-15 overall
Predicted ACC Finish: 8th
Projected Depth Chart
F/C: Devin Booker (Sr)/Landry Nnoko (Fr)/Josh Smith (Fr)
PF: Milton Jennings (Sr)/Bernard Sullivan (So)
SF: K.J. McDaniels (So)/Jared Blossomgame (Fr)
SG: T.J. Sapp (So)/Devin Coleman (So)
PG: Rod Hall (So)/Jordan Roper (Fr)/Adonis Filer (Fr)
Gone: G-Andre Young, G-Tanner Smith, F-Bryan Narcisse, C-Catalin Baciu
Milton Jennings was one of the program’s top recruits in the past decade-plus when he arrived at Clemson three years ago. However, the former McDonald’s All-American has yet to live up to expectations and will try to turn around what has been a rather underwhelming collegiate career. Fellow senior Devin Booker arrived with the shadow of being Trevor’s little brother and has been solid but certainly not spectacular in his three years with the Tigers. Unless this duo has truly saved their best for last, Clemson will struggle this season.
With that being said, the biggest question will still come in the backcourt where the Tigers have to replace their top two leading scorers, Andre Young and Tanner Smith. Role players Rod Hall and T.J. Sapp must build off productive freshmen campaigns to take over at guard. Sapp was trigger happy in his first season shooting just 31% from the floor and must display better maturity and decision-making as a sophomore. Another sophomore, K.J. McDaniels figures to take over at the three.
Brad Brownell’s bench will be very young and inexperienced with freshmen and pair of sophomores who were barely role players a year ago. Freshmen point guards Jordan Roper and Adonis Filer will look to fill in off the bench along with sophomore off guard Devin Coleman.
Jared Blossomgame is considered the team’s most highly touted newcomer and might actually push McDaniels for the starting small forward spot. Bernard Sullivan is an undersized, but physical power forward who should see an increased role. Freshman Larry Nnoko is a solid shot blocker and rebounder due to his length and athleticism. He will compete for minutes off the bench with another undersized but physical post player, Josh Smith.
Brownwell also picked up a commitment from BYU transfer Damarcus Harrison who will file a waiver in hopes of becoming immediately eligible for the Tigers. The South Carolina was a Top-100 recruit in the 2011 class and brings athleticism on the wing but it is unlikely that he will able to play this season and will probably have to sit out a year.
Player to Watch: Milton Jennings
Plain and simple, Jennings just hasn’t developed as most projected. He has always been long, athletic, and an explosive finisher at the rim. His effectiveness in the half-court setting is what really holds him back. With relatively young guard play, it’s hard to imagine Jennings making a major jump with his production.
Key Non-Conference Games:
11/22, vs. Gonzaga (Old Spice Classic)
11/23 vs. Oklahoma/UTEP (Old Spice Classic)
11/25 vs. Vanderbilt, Davidson, West Virginia, Marist (Old Spice Classic)
11/28 vs. Purdue (Big Ten/ACC Challenge)
12/2 at South Carolina
12/8 vs. Arizona
OTHER 111 IN 111’S:
#82 Texas A&M Aggies
#83 Providence Friars
#84 Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets
#85 Oklahoma Sooners
#86 Lehigh Mountain Hawks
#87 Washington State Cougars
#88 Long Beach State 49ers
#89 Belmont Bruins
#90 Vanderbilt Commodores
#91 Dayton Flyers
#92 Houston Cougars
#93 UCF Knights
#94 Old Dominion Monarchs
#95 Oregon Ducks
#96 LSU Tigers
#97 South Carolina Gamecocks
#98 Seton Hall Pirates
#99 Georgia Bulldogs
#100 DePaul Blue Demons
#101 Boston College Eagles
#102 Penn State Nittany Lions
#103 Arizona State Sun Devils
#104 Virginia Tech Hokies
#105 Texas Tech Red Raiders
#106 Auburn Tigers
#107 Wake Forest Demon Deacons
#108 TCU Horned Frogs
#109 Mississippi State Bulldogs
#110 Utah Utes
#111 Nebraska Cornhuskers
David Kay is a senior feature NBA Draft, NBA, and college basketball writer for the Sports Bank. He also heads up the NBA and college basketball material at Walter Football.com and is a former contributor at The Washington Times Communities. David has appeared on numerous national radio programs spanning from Cleveland to New Orleans to Honolulu. He also had the most accurate 2011 NBA Mock Draft and the most accurate 2012 NBA Mock Draft on the internet (Yup, repeat champ… #humblebrag.)
You can follow him on Twitter at David_Kmiecik.