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 Scout.com. 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.
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).
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 JohnnyJungle.com, covering St. John’s. You can find him on Twitter:@DanielJMartin_