Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Clemson's season ends at Louisville in the NIT

Clemson's roller coaster basketball season came to an end on Monday night at Louisville, losing 74-68. When it comes to Clemson basketball, sometimes just getting to the NIT can be considered a successful season but this one is more of a disappointment. That is that Clemson started the season 11-0 and a chance to be 16-0 heading into a home game against Duke. But it was after that 11th win that things took a turn south. That's when Clemson lost one of it's premier defenders on a team that lives off of its defense. Sophomore James Mays was suspended from the team for Academics reasons. It was a huge blow for the team and it was evident from the next game which was a loss to Georgia, then a loss to Elon. In a 13 game stretch after losing him, Clemson went 3-10. But you've got to give the team and Coach Purnell credit, just when they could've folded and mailed in the remaining season they found new life and finished the season winning five of their last 7 games including the loss to Louisville.

For Coach Oliver Purnell this was his third season and each season he has increased the number of wins. He is building this program the right way and will eventually have Clemson playing for ACC Championships.

The outlook for next year looks good. Though Clemson will lose Akin Akingbala, Shawan Robinson and Steve Allen, we have four solid freshmen coming in next year. Those freshmen are PF Trevor Booker 6'7 215, C Karolis Petrukonis 6'11 260, PF A.J Tyler 6'9 225, and SG David Potter 6'5 185. They are all 3 star recruits and Booker and Tyler are expecting to see alot of playing time next season. It's not known yet if James Mays will return to the team next year. Top returning players for next year will be KC Rivers, Sam Perry, Cliff Hammonds, Julius Powell and Vernon Hamilton.

Clemson finished one win shy of 20 for the season. With the players coming in and returning players, 20 wins next year looks inevitable. I'm thinking at least 23.

Go Tigers


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