By Ashley Denny.
CLEMSON, SC- Coming off of a disappointing 76-73 loss to Miami on Wednesday, Clemson head coach Brad Brownell met with members of the media to discuss not only the Tigers’ home contest with Georgia Tech on Saturday, but what the team has to do moving forward in order to succeed.
“We’re just glad to be back home,” Brownell said. “Playing a Georgia Tech team that’s a little bit like us, a little angry after their last game. Both teams will be very hungry to play well and find a win, I think they have guys that are capable of big nights, especially Glenn Rice Jr. who’s a very talented wing. Size inside, a little bit like us going through the growing pains of having a newer coach. Their play has been like ours, a little up and down at times; they played great against NC State, had a heck of a road win there, and then obviously didn’t play as well against Virginia. I’m interested to see how the game turns out.”
Brownell this season has tried several different schemes in order to get the Tigers’ offense rolling, including playing faster at times. Although this young team is made up of 6 freshmen and 6 upper classmen, it’s the team’s defense that continues to play a factor in winning games.
“It’s a combination so far, there have been times where we’ve been good defensively and we’ve also tried because our offense has struggled to play faster a bit,” Brownell said. “Andre has gotten better through the season in the open court which helps you from the standpoint that he can really put pressure on defenses and I thought he played terrific in the Florida State game and played well in spurts against Miami. It also leads to playing faster than maybe you started the season and it’s going to lead to an occasional quick shot, you don’t play fast not to shoot an open shot if you get one, you don’t play fast to then pull the ball for 30 seconds and as a result you’re going to take a shot every once and a while that will be a little bit quicker and put more pressure on your defense because of it. You’re going to commit an extra turnover or two at an inopportune time which is what happened against Miami. The first half of that game was like the second half of the Coastal Carolina game, we turned the ball over and it directly resulted in lay ups.”
The last three games the Tigers have lost were by a combined 12 points, what does Brownell feel will help his team close out games?
“We’re usually behind is the problem,” Brownell said. “We’re in catch up mode, we were ahead at Miami with seven minutes to go we were up four, but then they hit a three at the end of the shot clock and took the lead back, we were battling to get the lead for most of the game. That’s the problem though, we’re always playing from behind, playing catch up, and we’ve got to get two stops and two scores to finish out the game. It would be nice to be in the other situation, in some games we’ve got to play better earlier, the Miami game being one of them. Having said that I don’t know if there’s just one thing, there’s a couple of things that have caused us problems and it’s been that way for much of the season and we just have to keep grinding.”
KJ McDaniels after watching him play against Miami has shown Coach Brownell that he deserves more playing time however being behind Tanner Smith and Bryan Narcisse on the depth chart isn’t helping him see the court.
“Yeah I think certain games are better for him than others,” Brownell said. “The Miami game was a good one, one where we thought he would have a chance to do some good things. Being up and down and playing that way it was good. He’s making progress like all of the freshmen, I hope he can be consistent it would really help us. He’s at a position though where there are guys like Tanner and Bryan in front of him so it’s more difficult to always pencil him in. It’s tough to explain that to a young guy and they have a hard time understanding all of that. That’s part of the way kids are now, expecting to play quite a bit immediately instead of going somewhere and waiting my turn and being grateful for the opportunity they get. I don’t mean that about our guys but in general terms that’s the way it is now with most young kids.”