On the cusp of a big weekend on Clemson’s campus, here is this week’s Five for Friday…
1. A quick turnaround is good for the soul. For coaches, it is a nightmare. For tacticians and scouts, it isn’t ideal. But for competitors, having a small amount of time between games is good for the soul.
The Clemson basketball team had an abysmal offensive showing against Florida State last night. Even beforehand, Brad Brownell voiced legitimate concerns about the 41-hour layoff between that game and a big matchup with Duke coming up tomorrow. Given Clemson’s struggles to score against the Seminoles, a heightened level of concern seems natural.
However, Brownell told the media today that watching the film wasn’t as bad as the game felt in the moment. He applauded the overall effort on defense by both teams and attributed some of the deficiencies from his team to an outstanding job by FSU. But he also underscored the importance of flushing that result and moving on, which is imperative with such a short time in-between games.
2. This sounds ridiculous, but Clemson should look better against Duke. Clemson can still defend as well as anybody in the country. Duke can score as well as anyone in the country. These are statistical facts.
Saturday’s game matches the nation’s best per-possession scoring team in the Blue Devils (1.22 PPP) against the nation’s fourth-best per-possession defense in the Tigers (0.87 PPP). Neither team hangs its hat on the other side of the floor, so this tug-of-war is where the game will likely be won.
Clemson should score some points, and Duke should get some stops. The output should be pretty average when the Tigers have the ball. But the clash of titans when Duke has the ball will be an absolute treat to watch all day long. Expect a closer game than Thursday, even though Duke is unequivocally more talented than Florida State.
3. Jabari Parker and Rodney Hood will be the best players to play in Littlejohn Coliseum this season. That goes for games yet to be played, too. NBA scouts have taken an interest in this game, and these two guys are responsible for it.
Parker is well built (6’8”, 235) and efficient. He averages 19.8 points and 5.7 rebounds per game. The freshman shoots 50 percent from the floor, 41 percent from long range, and 75 percent from the foul line.
Hood is a transfer from Mississippi State that has really sparked Duke’s offense. His numbers are slightly lower than Parker’s, as he averages 18.5 points per game. Hood shoots 47 percent from three and 85 percent from the line.
In addition, Quinn Cook and Andre Dawkins are potentially explosive. Both score at a high rate, and Cook dishes out 6.1 assists per game. That’s a lot of weapons for the Tigers to cover.
4. Even though a good crowd saw a bad game on Thursday, there’s no reason not to show up on Saturday. If the allure of the opponent or the general opportunity to cheer on the Tigers isn’t enough, there’s one additional draw that might put some butts in some seats.
The Clemson football team will be honored during halftime of the basketball game. It will be the final time for fans to show their appreciation to the 2013 Tigers for a job well done.
And as always, a Dabo speech is sure to please.
5. It was a good week for Clemson’s recent NFL alumni. Both Andre Ellington (Arizona) and Nuk Hopkins (Houston) were named to the All-Rookie Team this week. It was a well-deserved acknowledgement for both players.
Among all rookies, Ellington finished fourth in rushing yardage per game and finished in the top 20 in both receptions and receiving yards. He became a valuable tool at Bruce Arians’ disposal as a change-of-pace back on a 10-6 Cardinals team.
Hopkins had over 800 receiving yards, besting all rookies save San Diego’s Keenan Allen, and finished fourth in receptions. His 12 catches of 20 yards or more and 38 first down receptions also ranked second among league rookies.