By Ashley Denny.
CLEMSON, SC- Clemson senior Andre Young knew coming into this season that he would have to play a bigger role in order for his team to be successful. The Tigers have started the year 9-8 and face off against the University of Miami on Wednesday in hopes to get back to .500 in ACC play.
“Every game is a really important game,” Young said. “Especially when we get into ACC play, we have to go into the game with that kind of mindset.”
Miami has been known for their versatile and aggressive guard play over the past years, something that Young has caught onto and knows that in order to win the game on Wednesday he’ll have to help keep them contained.
“They’re great players, they’re very versatile and aggressive,” Young said. “They’re scoring guards, we’re going to have to do a very good job defending them. We’ll have to do a good job at ball screen defense that’s one thing that Coach has been talking about. 90% of the time that’s what we’ll be doing, defending ball screens. Their guards are their best scorers so we’ll have to do a good job of stopping the ball.”
The Tigers have struggled from the free throw line and from three for the past two games, how can the Tigers’ improve in those areas for Wednesday night’s contest?
“I say we just have to take good shots,” Young said. “Do a better job of grinding the defense out; don’t take quick shots, sometimes we tend to do that. Instead we need to dig deeper into the shot clock and run our motion offense a little bit. Also continue to get to the free throw line, knock down some shots. It’s always good to see the ball go through the hoop, so we’ve got to get to the free throw line and make some shots.”
In Clemson’s last game against Duke, the Tigers’ came out hot and continued to fight throughout the game eventually losing in a close battle. What can the team take from that game as they move forward?
“One of the things we did do was we came out aggressive and made them play defense,” Young said. “We kind of got away from that after a little while and started taking quick shots. I just touched base on that a little just now, we’ve got to run our motion offense a little bit and make teams guard for longer possessions.”
Over the last few weeks, several of Clemson’s players have stepped up, especially big men Devin Booker and Milton Jennings; something that Young hopes continues to happen throughout the remainder of the season.
“Guys are just starting to step up,” Young said. “They realize that we’re in ACC play and we’re halfway through the season already and it’s important that we continue to step our games up. Right now we’re only 3 games in but we know that it’s going to go by fast. If we want to continue playing late into the season we’ve got to make that turn around right now. It’s not too late to have a good season so we’ve got to make that turn around right now.”