By Ashley Denny.
CLEMSON, SC- After a solid sweep of the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets, Brad Brownell’s Clemson Tigers’ are set to host North Carolina State on Saturday at 2:30 PM. Brownell spoke to the media on Friday previewing the match up with what he thinks is one of the better offensive teams in the ACC.
“NC State is probably one of the most talented offensive teams in our league, they’re very balanced scoring,” Brownell said. “I think CJ Leslie is playing exceptional basketball right now, really athletic player, scores around the rim, pretty good driver and improving his perimeter jump shot. Great balance with Scott Wood on the perimeter making threes, it’s a team that presents a lot of match up problems, we’ll have to play well defensively.”
Has Brownell noticed any differences in the way the Wolfpack play this season under their new coaching staff?
“Their guys are just older and more experienced, they’re certainly playing a different way, a little faster,” Brownell said. “They certainly seem very hungry, committed to what Art’s trying to do, they do that pretty well and they have good players, guys that can score and finish.”
With the 100th Anniversary Alumni game scheduled for tonight, senior guard Tanner Smith spoke today of the legacy he and the rest of his senior teammates hope to leave with Clemson’s young team, that although they didn’t win as many games this season as they’d hoped, they hoped to have made a positive impact on the lives and careers of the five freshmen. What legacy does Brownell believe this year’s group of seniors will leave behind?
“I think those guys, your legacy is your entire career,” Brownell said. “When you’re a senior you have a more prominent role, both in terms of your performance and leadership and I couldn’t be prouder of the way those guys have handled themselves this season. They come to work every day and set a great example for the younger guys on what you’re supposed to do. Pretty resilient group, I’m proud of them and how they’ve approached things this year, got past difficult situations and tough losses, and continued to grind away.”
Although the Tigers’ have suffered several close losses this season, Brownell doesn’t know how much his younger players have taken from those games.
“They’re not out there for 30 minutes per game, the hard part as a coach is to make everyone feel responsible in both the wins and losses,” Brownell said. “What they’ve been able to watch though is how the older guys reacted to things, how you approach your responsibility as a player here, a student athlete, that’s been good for our younger guys, our older guys have done a good job of showing them how to do this.”
As for the recent play of the Tigers’, Brownell has been pleased with what he’s seen out of his team. What is their game plan going into Saturday’s contest?
“We want to continue to push the ball if we can, be aggressive and get open shots as quickly as possible,” Brownell said. “You’ve got to do a good job on the defensive end to help start that, anxious to see how we play tomorrow. I’m pretty pleased with how our guys have played this month and their ability to bounce back if we have a set back. We got a couple of road wins which is good, but NC State presents a physical challenge because of their size and experience, one of the better teams in our league.”
Brownell is still searching for consistency from his freshmen, who have all shown glimpses of greatness.
“All of them have been good at times but just not every time,” Brownell said. “We expect some of that because they’re young, but you hope that guys will be able to be counted on for their 8-10 points. Different guys have different jobs; Rod’s job really isn’t to score. Our team is better when we have guys coming off the bench and contributing 8-10 points. We really need that shot in the arm, whether it’s Devin, TJ, or KJ, one of those guys will need to have a day where they contribute offensively and take some pressure of the other players.”