With the return of Jaron Blossomgame for his senior season, as well as fellow starters Donte Grantham and Avery Holmes, plus a brand new Littlejohn Coliseum, the excitement level for men’s basketball is the highest it has been since the program’s run of four straight NCAA Tournament appearances from 2008-’11.
“We have been working hard in practice the last three weeks or so and we are coming together,” Blossomgame said. “We have a lot of talented pieces and obviously, it makes it exciting so our guys are working hard every day. November 11 will be here before you know it.”
November 11 is when the Tigers will tip off the 2016-’17 season when they host Georgia in the first game inside the new Littlejohn Coliseum. Clemson will host Lander in an exhibition game on Nov. 4 as well.
However, the Tigers still have a couple of more weeks of practice before they get the season rolling. Clemson is coming off a 17-14 season a year ago, a year that saw them go 10-8 inside the ACC.
An area where the Tigers are loaded with experience is on the wings where they return not only Blossomgame and his 18.7 points and 6.7 rebounds per game, but also Grantham (10.2, 4.1) and Gabe DeVoe (5.3, 2.8).
“It’s early in practice, but at this stage practice is going pretty well and the wing guys are doing well,” Clemson assistant coach Steve Smith said. “We are looking for them to turn it up a little more defensively. Offensively, we are still trying to work out a little bit of the kinks.”
Joining Blossomgame, Grantham and DeVoe on the wings, will be Robert Morris transfer Marcquise Reed and true freshman Scott Spencer.
“All of these guys can score, even Scott Spencer the freshman,” Smith said. “He is making shots, but we need him to defend a little bit better right now.”
Of course playing under head coach Brad Brownell, the defense will come. Like Smith, Blossomgame is excited about how far the wing players have come since the off-season workouts and conditioning programs began.
“We are taking it day by day. We have the talent and we have the pieces that it takes to be successful in this conference,” the All-ACC forward said. “We have to chip away at it day by day, and hopefully when Nov. 11 comes, our guys are ready.”