With Littlejohn Coliseum undergoing major renovations this academic year, Brad Brownell’s Clemson Tigers will play their entire 2015-16 home schedule off campus. The Tigers will play their games in Greenville at Bon Secours Wellness Arena, and with this being the case the program is doing what it can to spark interest in its temporary home.
Last Saturday four Tigers, Jordan Roper, Jaron Blossomgame, Donte Grantham and Josh Smith, hopped in a bus and descended upon Main Street in Greenville with plans of “crashing” the town’s Saturday Market. There were games for those in attendance, and the cheerleaders and mascot were there as well.
Above is video of the day in Greenville courtesy of Clemson Athletics, and pictures from the event can be seen here.
This is a good move by Clemson, because given the difficulty of the ACC they’ll need to establish some semblance of a home-court advantage while playing in Greenville. And even if their preseason trip to Greenville doesn’t lead to skyrocketing season ticket sales, engaging the community is an important first step in making sure that Bon Secours Wellness Arena actually feels a little like “home.”
With perimeter shooting being an issue for Clemson in recent years, the hope is that their latest recruit can help the Tigers turn things around in that area.
6-foot-6 shooting guard Scott Spencer verbally committed to Brad Brownell’s program Wednesday afternoon per multiple reports, becoming the Tigers’ first pledge in the Class of 2016. The three-star wing attends Blue Ridge School and became the high school’s second commitment in as many days, with forward Mamadi Diakite making his pledge to Virginia on Tuesday.
Clemson has just one scholarship senior in its current backcourt (Jordan Roper), meaning that many of the players will be back when Spencer sets foot on campus in 2016. Among those are point guard Avry Holmes, who will play his first season at Clemson after sitting out the 2014-15 campaign following his transfer in from San Francisco.
Clemson has two other transfer guards who will sit out the 2015-16 season in Shelton Mitchell and Marcquise Reed, and they add freshman Ty Hudson to the mix. Clemson ranked dead last in the ACC in scoring offense last season (62.7 ppg), and they were 14th in both field goal (40.9 percent) and three-point (29.9 percent) percentage.
Spencer shot nearly 41 percent from three for the Team Wall grassroots program at the adidas Uprising Summer Championships in Las Vegas a couple weeks ago, scoring a total of 50 points in the team’s final two games.
The first game of the 2014 U.S. Virgin Island Paradise Jam ended with a late-game collapse that could only be described as #Clemsoning. With a minute remaining, Clemson led Gardner Webb by five at 68-63. The Tigers ended up losing 72-70, the second time this week they have been defeated by a Big South opponent.
Tyler Strange was a one-man comeback with two free throws, a steal, followed by two more free throws to make it a one-point game with 33 seconds remaining. Rod Hall made two free throws to make it 70-67. Strange was able to create an opening at the top of the key with a shot fake, drilling the game-tying triple. This is where Clemson called a timeout with 6.6 second remaining. However, the Tigers didn’t have one and were issued a technical foul.
The Bulldogs hit both free throws and while Clemson had several close-range looks, it could not force overtime.
Gardner-Webb will play the winner of Seton Hall-Nevada on Saturday. Clemson will play the loser of that game.
On Monday night, Clemson lost to Winthrop at home. Next Friday, Clemson hosts another Big South opponent, High Point, a conference favorite.
[h/t to Sam Vecenie, CBS Sports]