By Will Vandervort.
By Will Vandervort
CLEMSON — Though Clemson head coach Brad Brownell is excited about the 2012-’13 basketball season starting tonight when his Tigers host Presbyterian at 7 p.m. inside Littlejohn Coliseum, he is also a little anxious.
There is a lot of unknown for this year’s Clemson basketball team, especially with a roster full with 12 sophomores and freshmen and only two seniors.
“These kinds of games are dangerous games when you are this young,” Brownell said. “You are not exactly sure as a head coach who is going to play well and what lineups work best together. You have not worked on all the things you want to work on in certain situations this early in the season, but it is time to play some other people, and now we have to make the adjustment and see how our guys do.”
Brownell liked what he saw from his young squad in last week’s exhibition win over Lander. The Tigers were aggressive on defense, dominated the boards the way they should against a much smaller squad and was pleased with how they executed the game plan.
But Lander was a Division II program so he has tempered his enthusiasm a little bit about that performance. He knows, though they are one of the smaller Division I programs in the country, he will learn a little bit more about his basketball team tonight against the Blue Hose.
“We just need to play other people and try to execute,” Brownell said. “Everything for us at this point is new. We really have to work to get better in terms of execution. I think guys have really been getting after it defensively. I think our pressure has been good. I think our attention to detail is better on that end of the court right now. “
The Tigers, who will have to replace leading scorers Andre Young and Tanner Smith, did show good balance offensively against Lander. Freshman center Landry Nnoko and senior Milton Jennings both scored 14 points, while freshman point guard Adonis Filer and sophomore forward K.J. McDaniels each added 12.
Sophomore shooting guard T.J. Sapp dropped in nine points on 3-of-6 shooting.
“I think we are going to have a better start than everyone thinks we will have,” Sapp said. “Throughout the whole season it is going to be a work in progress. As the season goes on, we are going to be playing new talent. Even when we get into ACC play, teams are going to start knowing you because they have been scouting you. They know your tricks and they know everything. So we will have to learn how to adjust and play as best as possible.”
And that adjustment begins tonight.
“This is my first college basketball game,” Filer said. “I’m really excited to see how the atmosphere is going to be. I’m ready to get out there with my teammates and get this season rolling.”