Clemson returns from a second COVID pause, visits Wake Forest
For the second time this season, the Clemson men’s basketball team returns from an 11-day pause in competition, as they take on Wake Forest this afternoon at the Lawrence Joel Veterans Memorial Coliseum in Greensboro, N.C.
The Tigers had to postpone their last two games after positive tests results for COVID-19 were discovered within the program on Feb. 14. They last played on Feb. 12, a last-second win over Georgia Tech at Littlejohn Coliseum.
When Clemson returned from its last pause, things did not go too well. The Tigers lost three straight games, all blowout losses.
Before its latest pause, Clemson (13-5, 7-5 ACC) had turned things around and was back to its old form, winning three straight games and four of their last five overall.
This time around, the Tigers went five days in between practices and did not return to practice until this past Saturday, though not everyone was available. Head coach Brad Brownell hopes what he learned from the first time around will benefit his team when they play the Demon Deacons this afternoon.
Brownell admitted he was not prepared the first time for how five days away from practice affected his team’s overall conditioning and fundamentals.
“I think that is one of the things that kind of hit me, and it shouldn’t. I should be smarter than this, but I am not,” he said. “Four or five days off, you know, really affects kids a lot more than what you realize. It is funny.”
Brownell said players’ backs tighten up while doing defensive stances and drills, causing several players to drop out of practice and wait for the trainer to come and stretch them.
“Clearly, that is an example. That does not happen on a regular basis if you are practicing every day, let alone the conditioning of running up and down (the court),” the Clemson coach said. “We are trying to do the best we can. We have certainly been more aggressive in our approach back here the last couple of days. But it has only been a couple of days, so you don’t know how that is going to affect the guys in a real situation.
“So, yeah, that is certainly a big factor and is something we are trying to be much more aggressive in this second time.”
The Tigers and Wake Forest tip off at 4:30 p.m. The game will be televised on the ACC Network.
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