ACC Basketball: 2015-2016 Clemson Tigers Season Preview

Clemson Tigers 


16-15 (8-10 ACC) in 2014-2015


Key Returning Players 

  • F Jaron Blossomgame
  • F Donte Grantham
  • C Landry Nnoko
  • G Jordan Roper
  • G Austin Ajukwa


  • G Rod Hall
  • G Patrick Rooks (Transfer)
  • G Demarcus Harrison


  • G Ty Hudson, ESPN 4-star recruit
  • C Legend Robertin, Sophomore (Junior College Transfer)
  • G Shelton Mitchell, (Transferred from Vanderbilt, will sit out this season per NCAA rules)



After a 23-13 record and a trip to the NIT Semis two seasons ago, expectations were high entering last season for the Clemson Tigers. Brad Brownell’s club had just concluded their best season since he took over as head coach in 2010, and were looking to carry their positive momentum into the 2014 season. Close losses and missed opportunities ended up characterizing last season’s squad, as the team was unable to turn their solid defense into enough easy offensive chances to be successful. Jaron Blossomgame was the lone consistent offensive threat on a given night last year, scoring 13.1 points per game while pulling down over eight rebounds an outing. If he couldn’t get going, neither could the Tigers, which is a major reason for their ranking of 288th in the nation in scoring at a meager 62.7 points per game.

Now, in 2015, the Tigers are trying to turn the tide and find a way to get over the hump offensively, and as a team. While junior forward Jaron Blossomgame will play a prominent role, the team will look to forward Donte Grantham and center Landry Nnoko to provide more of an offensive force with their leadership and another year of development. While the team lost guard Rod Hall to transfer, they hope they can lessen the blow with the continued solid play of guard Jordan Roper, as well as with ESPN 4-star recruit Ty Hudson, who should play significant minutes in his first year on campus. Additionally, some help is on the way in the frontcourt with junior college transfer Legend Robertin making his first appearance on campus. The center will be able to spell Landry Nnoko when he gets into foul trouble, as Robertin is expected to see some early playing time as well.


Schedule and Prediction

Last season, the Tigers were solid in the non-conference, but sputtered late in some winnable games in ACC play. This year, the Tigers play two intriguing games against Minnesota, Georgia, Alabama, and South Carolina in the non-conference slate, but don’t be mistaken, the season will be won and lost in ACC play. As far as the slate in the ACC is concerned, Clemson does not have the most difficult road to sustained competitiveness this season. The Tigers face two stiff road tests against #1 North Carolina and #6 Virginia, but have a majority of their remaining tough games at home. These include Louisville, #5 Duke, #19 Notre Dame, Pittsburgh, and #6 Virginia once again in early March prior to the ACC Tournament.

Last season, the Tigers let games slip away late against Notre Dame, Louisville, and NC State that could have very well decided their season. Clemson will always defend under Brad Brownell, so it will be difficult to pull away from them even if they are not the better team. For this reason, I think that the Tigers will be in a similar situation as a year ago; in games late with an opportunity to strike. Given the schedule of the Tigers and the fact that they have a majority of their big games at home, I don’t think that a 4-6 win improvement is out of the ordinary. If they can pull out a big win or two at home, while taking care of business against lesser conference foes and teams in their non-conference schedule, I think that the Tigers are a definite NIT team with a legitimate opportunity to play themselves into the NCAA Tournament with a solid showing late in conference play and into the ACC Tournament. Therefore, the Tigers will undoubtedly improve in 2015, and should shape up to be one of the more intriguing teams in the ACC.

Thanks for reading! Follow me on Twitter @MikeMcDanielACC and check out InsideTheACC on Facebook and on Twitter @InsideTheACC.

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