Graduate student transferred due to playing time concerns
GREENWOOD, S.C. — Brad Brownell admits he was a little bit surprised when forward Javan White asked to be released from his scholarship on March 28.
Clemson’s basketball team had just finished up its season four days earlier with a second-round loss to Wichita State in the NIT. White had come on down the stretch for the Tigers and appeared ready to compete for one of Clemson’s post positions next season.
But he wants to compete somewhere other than Clemson.
“It was a little bit of a surprise. I think we thought he would be back,” Brownell told The Clemson Insider prior to Monday’s Prowl & Growl event in Greenwood. “You know, I think this is … nothing should surprise you anymore with kids leaving. I think he wanted to play a little bit more than he got to play.”
White played in 33 of Clemson’s 34 games this year, including two starts. He averaged 8.4 minutes per contest.
Brownell said they were up front with White about playing time when they recruited him to Clemson after he transferred from Oral Roberts, where he earned his ungraduated degree in three years.
“I think we told him that Elijah Thomas is a pretty good player and is a guy that is going to play twenty-eight to thirty minutes and thirty to thirty-two minutes when he is not in foul trouble,” Brownell said.
White averaged 2.0 points and 2.0 rebounds per game for the Tigers, while blocking 12 shots. He scored a season-high 10 points and grabbed a season-high seven rebounds against Pittsburgh on Jan. 29 at Littlejohn Coliseum.
Down the stretch of the season, White’s minutes increased. He played 10 minutes against North Carolina on March 2, while scoring four points and grabbing four rebounds off the bench. He played 11 minutes at Notre Dame on March 6, again scoring four points.
White tallied 13 minutes in the ACC Tournament game against NC State on March 13, again dropping in four points for the Tigers.
“You know, I don’t know. It is just one of those situations where I think there is a little frustration on his part,” Brownell said. “I know Eli is leaving so we felt like there would be more minutes there for him in his senior year, but it was something that he did not feel like he wanted to do so he decided to go elsewhere.”
Brownell said he could not promise White he would start next season, but he said he told all of his returning players the same thing.
“I was not going to promise anybody they were going to start. You got to earn everything you get in our program,” the Clemson coach said. “We wish him well. He is a good kid. He was a good teammate, but that is just a part of college basketball. Unfortunately, it is a bigger part of college basketball than we all like.”
Brownell told TCI he is hoping to bring in at least two graduate transfers this coming season to complete his roster.
“We are going to try and get two fifth-year transfers if we can,” he said. “Just to see … just to try and help our team. We are really young. We don’t have any older guys. (White) was our only senior. So, right now we are going into next year with no seniors.
“It is hard at this level, unless you have a couple of first or second-year pros, to be able to get to where you want to get to with young players. It is just the experience factor is too much. So, we will try to work on that.”