It was just a few months ago that Clemson’s basketball program appeared to be in utter disarray. At the season’s conclusion, Brad Brownell was clearly disappointed in the dedication of his team and specifically the graduating seniors.
Despite their poor attitudes, departing Seniors Milton Jennings and Devin Booker were Clemson’s only semblance of a post presence. A 2013-2014 roster devoid of front court depth with an incoming class composed of guards spelled trouble for Clemson and Brad Brownell.
As I debated (taking Brownell’s side) in a previous post, continued regression, which I believe would have been the case without any front court recruits, would have spelled disaster for the program and in turn, Brownell’s tenure with the Tigers.
In come Ibrahim Djambo and Sidy Djitte. Brownell, out-recruiting Kansas State, Cincinnati, and Memphis, managed to reel in two huge additions for incoming class. Djambo, comes by way of transfer from Three Rivers Community College in Poplar Bluff, Missouri. Details on him here. He is more of a perimeter player for someone of his height (6″10), but nonetheless his size is sorely needed. He’ll work on developing his strength and post-moves. He played two years at junior college so with just two more remaining he can’t be viewed as a long-term project. I expect him to start immediately, shifting Jaron Blossomgame down to small forward where he belongs.
Djitte, also 6″10, hasn’t been playing basketball long, mostly playing soccer while in Africa, but is a “bruiser.” He’ll get time immediately, though I’m not sure he’ll end up starting as a true freshman. While Djambo is more in the mold of Milton Jennings, Djitte is more so a Devin Booker style player. He averaged 15 rebounds and four blocks in Dakar, Senegal (details here). While his offense may take some time to develop, he should make his defensive presence felt immediately. On choosing Clemson over more prominent programs (Cincinnati and Memphis) his father explained, “It’s the ACC and it’s the best basketball in the country.”
I expect our starting lineup to look something like:
- Ibraham Djambo
- Jaron Blossomgame
- KJ McDaniels
- Rod Hall
- Jordan Roper
Although those are new names in the post, McDaniels, Hall, and Roper were solid last year and will only be better. Blossomgame returns from a similar injury to the one Kevin Ware of Louisville suffered in the NCAA tournament. This team won’t have any seniors, but I expect their attitude to be better and that feeling of impending defeat (regardless of what lead they may hold) to no longer dominate the psyche.
Blossomgame and Coleman will return from injury, Djambo and Djitte enter the fray in the post, and some sorely needed shooters (namely Rooks) join them as part of the incoming class. Expect progress with even bigger strides in 2014-2015. The team now heads to Italy for a unique growth opportunity this Summer. Let’s hope that’s the start of big things for Tiger basketball.
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