Top 100 forward Donte Grantham commits to Clemson

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Outside of leading returning scorer and rebounder K.J. McDaniels (10.2, 5.0), the Clemson Tigers don’t have much depth at the small forward position. Outside of the 6-foot-7 junior the majority of their experience is on the perimeter, with guards Jordan Roper, Adonis Filer and Demarcus Harrison among the returnees.

With this in mind the Tigers needed to land a small forward in their 2014 recruiting class, and on Friday morning Brad Brownell’s program received a verbal commitment from Top 100 prospect Donte Grantham (subscription required). The news was first reported by Evan Daniels of The 6-foot-8 Grantham currently attends Hargrave Military Academy, and he was also being pursued by Cincinnati and Michigan. Earlier this week the Wolverines received a verbal commitment from 6-foot-7 wing Kameron Chatman.

Grantham made the move over to Hargrave from Martinsburg High in his native Martinsburg, W. Va., where he was a key contributor on a team that finished the 2012-13 season with a 26-2 record and won the West Virginia Class AAA state title. Grantham tallied 20 points and 17 rebounds in the victory. After graduating from Martinsburg Grantham made the decision to attend prep school for a year.

Grantham joins 6-foot-4 shooting guard Gabe DeVoe in Clemson’s 2014 recruiting class, and here a few clips of the versatile Grantham in action earlier this summer.

Hip surgery to sideline Clemson freshman Patrick Rooks for entire season

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During Clemson’s summer trip to Italy freshman guard Patrick Rooks shot the ball well, knocking down 44.4% of his shots from beyond the arc and averaging 7.0 points per game despite not scoring in the Tigers’ first exhibition. How big his role would have been this season is up for debate, given the fact that while young the Tigers do have options on the perimeter.

Unfortunately for both Rooks and Clemson he won’t have the opportunity to earn playing time this season, as a hip injury suffered during the preseason requires surgery that is expected to sideline him for the entire 2013-14 campaign. The news was announced by the Clemson athletic department.

“This is an unfortunate situation for Patrick,” Brownell said in the release. “He is a three-point specialist who shot the ball very well in Italy. Fortunately for us, we do have great depth in the backcourt. It’s a unique injury, something I haven’t seen in 20 years of coaching.

“I know our doctors and athletic trainer will do everything in their power to get him healthy. We look forward to having Patrick ready to go next season.”

The 6-foot-2 Rooks’ ability as a perimeter shooter could have proven valuable to Clemson, especially when considering how much the Tigers struggled offensively last season. Clemson finished the season 11th in the ACC in both field goal (42.4%) and three-point percentage (31.7%), tenth in offensive efficiency (98.9) and last in the ACC in scoring offense (61.5 ppg).

With forwards Devin Booker and Milton Jennings out of eligibility the Tigers have to replace two of their top three leading scorers, with junior wing K.J. McDaniels (10.9 ppg, 5.0 rpg) being their leading returnee. Also back for Clemson are junior guards Rod Hall (5.7 ppg, 3.5 apg) and Damarcus Harrison (5.2 ppg), who had originally planned to take his LDS mission after playing in 2012-13 before postponing that indefinitely, and sophomore guard Jordan Roper (7.9 ppg).

Bernard Sullivan to transfer from Clemson

Bernard Sullivan
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Clemson sophomore Bernard Sullivan will transfer from the program and continue his education at another institution, the school announced in a release Monday.

“We appreciate Bernard’s contributions to the program,” Clemson coach Brad Brownell said in a statement. “We wish him nothing but the best in the future, and hope he finds a program that will better meet his needs.”

The 6-7, 215-pound Sullivan played 56 games in a Tigers uniform during his time at Clemson and averaged just over eight minutes per game. This season, his best game came Jan. 29 against Georgia Tech when he scored seven points on 3-of-5 shooting from the floor in nine minutes. He also had six points and grabbed three rebounds in a win over The Citadel on Jan. 1.

Coming out of high school from the Class of 2011, Sullivan was a Top 100 recruit. He chose Clemson over schools that include Marquette, Maryland, Purdue, South Carolina, Virginia, and Virginia Tech.

Daniel Martin is a writer and editor at, covering St. John’s. You can find him on Twitter:@DanielJMartin_

Steve Smith hired to replace Rick Ray as assistant at Clemson

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It hasn’t been the easiest assistant coaching search for Clemson since Rick Ray left to become the head coach at Mississippi State.

Following a two-month search and one false alarm of a hiring, the Tigers’ bench is now officially set.

Clemson has released a statement, announcing that Georgia State assistant Steve Smith will become part of the Tiger coaching staff, serving in the capacity.

“Steve is a terrific person with some very special life experiences,” Clemson head coach Brad Brownell said in a statement. “He has a good feel for the game and will be a good teacher and mentor to our players. He has strong recruiting ties in the Southeast and a real passion for Clemson.”

Smith, a South Carolina native, has been with Georgia Southern the past two seasons. The Panthers finished the 2011-12 season with an overall record of 15-15, including 12-6 in the SoCon.

During his time as a player, he spent two seasons with Morgan State, before enlisting in the military.

For Clemson, Smith becomes the man to replace Ray, after former Virginia Tech assistant James Johnson, hired and ready to become part of the staff, returned to become the Hokies’ head coach, following the dismissal of Seth Greenberg.

“It’s a highly respected academic institution and well thought of across the country,” said Smith in a statement. “When Coach Brownell got here, it was an attractive position for me. I really like his brand of basketball and like him as a person, as well as the staff they have in place. That sold me on this opportunity.”

Daniel Martin is a writer and editor at, covering St. John’s. You can find him on Twitter:@DanielJMartin_

Greenberg stays, assistants leave at Virginia Tech

ACC Basketball Tournament - Virginia Tech v Duke
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In a DI hoops climate in which hair-trigger firings of underperforming coaches are a regular occurence, Seth Greenberg’s continued survival at Virginia Tech is a major anomaly. Since his hiring in 2003, Greenberg has led the Hokies to the NCAA tournament only once — in 2007 — and has amassed a very disappointing 167-117 record as a perennial also-ran in the ACC. In spite of it all, Greenberg remains.

Today’s piece in the Washington Post’s Hokies Journal reveals deeper signs of dysfunction in Blacksburg, following the announcement that Associate Head Coach James Johnson is leaving to take an assistant’s job under Brad Brownell at rival Clemson. This follows hard on the heels of an earlier announcement that his director of basketball operations and another assistant are departing for similar jobs at UAB. The grand total of assistants fleeing the program for seemingly lateral moves is now up to six over the past four seasons.

According to David Teel of the Newport News Daily Press, Tech AD Jim Weaver refuted the notion that Johnson’s departure had anything to do with money, though he admitted that he asked Virginia Tech’s president for permission to increase assistant salaries specifically to stay in step with Clemson following Johnson’s announcement.

The perception that Tech is not the place to be for an upwardly-mobile coach might have as much to do with it as money, though. The Clemson job Johnson took was open because Brownell’s assistant Rick Ray was named head coach at Mississippi State. More money and a shot at BCS-level head coaching? Nobody’s going to turn that down.

It seems pointless to say that Greenberg had better make the Big Dance this year or risk losing his job. Pundits have said that for years now. However, Tech’s inability to keep assistants, especially talented recruiters, in the fold, is like putting sand under the feet of a head coach who is continually struggling to climb uphill.