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Canadian forward will add versatility and scoring to a talented Clemson roster

March 18, 2020
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The Clemson men's basketball season came to an abrupt end on Thursday when the threat of the Coronavirus pandemic sparked the cancellation of the remaining games of the ACC Basketball Tournament and the entire NCAA Basketball Tournament. 

As bad as the circumstances were for Clemson (16-15, 9-11), who were just minutes away from the tip-off of their second-round matchup against No. 4 Florida State (26-5, 16-4), the bright side is the season ended with the first round 69-64 win over Miami.

The Clemson players were understandably disappointed and devastated, but they can look forward to next season and do it with their head coach. On Friday, multiple sources reported that Brad Brownell will be back next season. He has four years remaining on a contract that was extended in 2018. 

With third-team All-ACC center/forward Aamir SimmsJohn Newman, the team's third-leading scorer, and talented freshmen Al-Amir Dawes and Alex Hemenway, set to return, Brownell will have a deep, skilled and experienced team for the 2020-2021 season. 

There is help on the way too. P.J. Hall, a 6-foot-9 power forward from nearby Roebuck, SC, is regarded as the top player in South Carolina and ESPN's No. 42 recruit nationally. Hall led Dorman High, the No. 2 team on the ESPN Top 25, to a fourth consecutive state title and the opportunity to play for a national title in April.

While Hall waits to play in the Geico Nationals Tournament, the other signee in the two-man class, Canadian Olivier-Maxence Prosper, is building on his reputation as a future NBA prospect by performing well in tournaments for NBA Academy Latin America. 

On March 9, he was named the Most Valuable Player in the World Prep Invitational. Prosper averaged 25 points, eight rebounds, three assists, and a block to lead Latin America, the tournament champs, to a 3-1 record. He even outdueled Kia Soto, ESPN's No. 68 overall 2020 recruit, by scoring a game-high 28 points to Soto's 14 in a 93-72 win over TSF National. 

Prosper, a four-star 247Sports composite and No. 82 overall recruit, has been remarkably consistent in tournament play dating back to last season. He was named All-Tournament in the 2019 Caribbean Tip-Off Classic held in November and the same honor in both the 2019 and 2020 NBA Without Borders Tournaments.

He may get to add more hardware to his trophy case. He is scheduled to play in the All-Canadian Biosteel tournament on March 29, a tournament in which he was named Team Grey MVP of the All-Star game in 2019. 

Clemson coaches have to like what the 6-foot-7, 205-pound combo forward has done this season. His size and versatility are reminiscent of former Tigers forwards K.J. McDaniels and Jaron Blossomgame. The former standouts played both small and power forward at Clemson but are small forwards in the pros. Prosper could be on a similar path, but may, however, avoid any power forward minutes with Khavon Moore, Jonathan Baehre and Hunter Tyson returning. He is also a more advanced ball-handler and shooter than McDaniels and Blossomgame were on the prep level. 

Prosper handles the ball well enough to start and finish a fast break and create one-on-one opportunities off the dribble. He can also pull up from mid-range and step back for three-point shots. His ability to do those things and use his length and reach to block shots and get in passing lanes makes him a candidate to compete for early minutes behind Newman at the three-spot. 

Having Prosper and Hall join Simms, Dawes, Newman, Tyson, Hemenway, and transfer Nick Honor, a 15 point a game scoring point guard from Fordham, fans have to feel optimistic and hopeful for an NCAA bid in 2021. 

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Canadian forward will add versatility and scoring to a talented Clemson roster

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