Part of the reason why Shelton Mitchell and Marcquise Reed decided to come back to Clemson for one more season and withdrew their name from the NBA Draft on Wednesday was the opportunity to experience another run in the NCAA Tournament next year.
Both players admitted prior to declaring themselves eligible for the NBA Draft back on April 2 that the Tigers’ run to the Sweet 16 was an experience like no other. They were in the middle of March Madness and a lot of the attention was on the upstart Tigers, who were making their first Sweet 16 appearance in 21 years.
With both Mitchell and Reed returning to Clemson for one more year, along with center Elijah Thomas, the Tigers will be one of the favorites to make a similar run next year.
“There is no question coming back together, along with Elijah, we have a chance to have another really good team,” Clemson head coach Brad Brownell told The Clemson Insider Wednesday. “That is part of the reason why they came back.”
The other reason … put them in a position to be in a better situation for professional basketball afterwards.
“The other thing is they think they can build their games a little bit more,” Brownell said.
By coming back to school, Mitchell and Reed have an opportunity to expand their resume much like Gabe DeVoe did this past season. When the year started, DeVoe was on no one’s radar, but after he put up all those 25-point games following Donte Grantham’s injury and became one of the best three-point shooters in the ACC, everyone started taking notice.
“We talked about that with those guys,” Brownell said. “Gabe was not really on the radar of a lot of NBA teams at all this time a year ago, but now he has had several workouts and has a few more scheduled based on the way he played his senior season.
“I think those guys (Mitchell and Reed) are a half step above where Gabe was a year ago in terms of the eyes of certain people. But they know, from watching Gabe, they hope to capitalize as much as he did. Gabe has continued to gain confidence. He has continued to play well and has even shown well at some of these NBA workouts.”
In his final season at Clemson, DeVoe averaged 14.2 points per game to rank second on the team behind Reed. In his final game at Clemson, he scored a career-high 31 points in the Sweet 16 against top-seed Kansas.
DeVoe averaged a Clemson record 25.0 points per game in three NCAA Tournament games.
“Sometimes that is all it takes is to build your confidence and to validate to yourself that you can play,” Brownell said. “Now he is going to have to see where it ends up. He has certainly made himself a lot of money overseas, and also had an unbelievable experience his senior year at Clemson.
“I think those two guys (Mitchell and Reed) thoroughly enjoyed last year and also the success we experienced.”
Now the question is can they duplicate it and have the same kind of senior season DeVoe had.