As of right now, Brad Brownell feels pretty good about his 2020-’21 basketball roster.
In fact, Clemson has a full roster as it gets set for the summer months, which includes its two incoming freshmen. The Tigers’ head coach is not anticipating anyone entering the transfer portal, and he is planning to have Aamir Simms back as well.
Simms announced last week he put his name into the NBA Draft pool but decided to keep his eligibility so he can return to Clemson, if he so chooses.
“I think that is the case right now, but you never know,” Brownell said to The Clemson Insider earlier this week. “I think this year, more than any is different. Normally, guys will be getting contacted by a lot of teams and get asked to be involved in some workouts and things of that nature. Then you talk about Chicago camp or, I think, there is a G-League camp now that is available.
“But everything is on hold because of the coronavirus. So, I don’t know what that looks like. Certainly, I have fielded a few calls from some scouts asking about Aamir. Certainly, more than in most years when these guys have more of a set plan. I think this year because of the virus, no one is really sure how it is all going to play out right now.”
Nonetheless, Simms did not hesitate to test the waters of the NBA Draft process. After leading the Tigers in scoring and rebounding and then being named as a third-team All-ACC performer, it made sense for Simms to test the field and see what options he has available to him.
“I think most guys get to a position that if they are a really good player at this level, and they have an opportunity to find more information … that is really all this is at first,” Brownell said. “Initially, you are trying to find out information about where you stand and then once you get some information, then you have a decision to make.
“It’s not unlike Marcquise [Reed] or Donte [Grantham]. Obviously, we knew Jaron [Blossomgame], when he did it, he was certainly higher on some boards and there was probably a greater chance he might not come back. But this is what is going to happen if you have good players that are looking for feedback. It’s normal, standard operating procedure, I guess, in some ways.”
Should Simms decide to come back for his senior year at Clemson, which seems very probable at this point, then the Tigers will return a very veteran team, one that showed a lot of promise at times this past season.
Clemson finished the 2019-’20 season with a 16-15 record, but it won three games over top 6 teams, a first in the program’s history, and it won at Chapel Hill for the first time in history as well.
The promise the Tigers have for next season is completely different than a year ago when they had to replace four seniors, as well as couple of transfers.
“Last year, was the complete opposite of this year. The year or two prior to that, we had some guys coming back that we felt good about,” Brownell said. “Maybe we signed a freshman or two, but certainly, our Sweet 16 team, we knew we had some older players coming back and then two years ago, I think we felt like, for the most part, we had an older group that had experience.
“Those two years, in particular, were years that we felt like, for the most part, we had a big portion of our team returning.”
Those two teams combined to win 45 games, including 20 in the ACC. It was the best two-year stretch in Clemson history, in terms of victories, and, as Brownell said, the 2017-’18 team went all the way to the Sweet 16 of the NCAA Tournament, the program’s first since the 1996-’97 season.
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