Brownell calls his seniors 'terrific people' that did everything the right way
INDIANAPOLIS — As good of players Aamir Simms and Clyde Trapp are on the basketball court, Clemson head coach Brad Brownell says they are even better people.
“They are terrific people,” he said. “Both have had absolutely zero problems. And I mean zero. Not late, not anything. Good students, good players and they won a lot of games.”
Simms and Trapp were freshmen when Clemson went on its Sweet 16 run in the 2018 Tournament. And, obviously, they played a huge role in the Tigers’ NCAA Tournament appearance this year, which ended with a 60-56 loss to Rutgers in the first round of the tournament Friday at Bankers Life Fieldhouse in Indianapolis.
“They won a lot of games. They were a part of a Sweet 16 team as freshmen,” Brownell said. “We represented the United States in the University Games in the summer of ’19 and they won a gold medal. Won twenty games as sophomores and would have won twenty this year had we played a full season.”
In their final game as Tigers, the two seniors did everything they could to try and extend their college careers. Simms led all scorers with 15 points and 11 rebounds, while Trapp dropped in 14 points and at one point, scored 11 straight points for Clemson.
All 14 of Trapp’s point came on the last play of the first half and 12 in the second half.
“These guys have done a lot and they handle their business-like professional men,” Brownell said.
After falling behind 11 points with more than nine minutes to play. Simms and Trapp did not panic. Instead, they nearly willed the Tigers to victory.
Rutgers (16-11) used a 16-2 run midway through the second half to take a 50-39 lead with 9:35 to play following a McConnell three-pointer.
“We got down eleven (points) at one point in the second half. It looked like we were going to cave in, and are seniors would not let that happen,” Brownell said.
The Tigers (16-8) instead went on a 10-0 and later tied the game at 55-55.
Clemson led by three points at the break thanks to a coast-to-coast layup by Trapp as time expired. The buzzer beater gave the Tigers a 26-23 lead at the break.
Trapp opened the second half by scoring Clemson’s first nine points to help the Tigers maintain a three-point lead through the first five and a half minutes. But Clemson went cold, which allowed the Scarlet Knights to gain control of the game with their 16-2 run.
Clemson did not go away, though. Simms rallied the Tigers when he produced a three-point play and then Hunter Tyson drained a three from the corner to make it a 50-45 score with 8:38 to play.
Jonathan Baehre, another senior, then tipped in a Chase Hunter miss to pull the Tigers within three, 50-47, with 6:45 to go. Hunter then hit a jumper from the foul line to pull the Tigers within one point, 50-49, to complete a 10-0 run with 5:31 remaining.
Clemson finally came all the way back to tie to game after Simms and Trapp completed back-to-back three-point plays. Trapp’s three-point play tied the game, 55-55, with 4:12 to play.
“They are going to be great ambassadors of Clemson,” Brownell said. “These are the kind of guys you want to coach, and you hate to see go because of how easy they are to coach. How good of players they have become. They have really developed.
“It is what you want your program to be about, freshmen that buy their time. They are patient, coachable and keep working.”
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