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Clemson Basketball

Brownell is hopeful team can overcome a lack of ideal size and depth in 2021-22

November 9, 2021

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Tonight in Littlejohn the 2021 Clemson Tigers tip-off the season against Presbyterian at 7:00 on the ACC Network Extra package.

When the Tiger basketball team was last seen, they were leaving the Bankers Life Fieldhouse court in Indianapolis after a 65-60 loss to Rutgers in the first round of the 2020-21 NCAA Tournament on March 19.

Almost a week earlier in the ACC Tournament, No. 5 seed Clemson suffered a 67-64 record loss in the first round to No. 13 seed Miami. The Hurricanes became the first No. 13 seed in men's ACC Basketball Tournament history to advance to the quarterfinals. 

The two losses were frustrating and disappointing to fans, who saw a promising team ousted, in their opinions, too early in each tournament. 

So who's left on the roster? 

The team-leading scorer, Aamir Simms (13.8 ppg), is pursuing a pro career. Simms and fellow seniors Clyde Trapp, and Jonathan Baehre were recognized on Senior Night in Littlejohn Coliseum but were eligible to return for another season per the amended Covid-19 NCAA rules. 

"Aamir was a significant loss," noted Clemson head coach Brad Brownell on Tuesday from the ACC Basketball Tipoff Media Day in Charlotte, NC. "Terrific player who had an unbelievable career at Clemson. As much as the points and rebounds, it was his personality. It was the way he approached practice every day, his work ethic, his smile, his personality. It just rubbed off on everyone."

Baehre is back home in Germany playing for pro team RHP Riesen, and Trapp at Charlotte. Trapp choosing to play a fifth year elsewhere was a surprise, however, the bigger surprises were junior John Newman (Cincinnati) and freshmen Oliver Maxence Prosper (Marquette) and Lynn Kidd (Virginia Tech), leaving the program. 

Walk-on O'Neil McBride also left the team. 

Without Simms, Baehre, Prosper, and Kidd, starter Hunter Tyson and 6'10 sophomore center P.J. Hall are the only returning frontcourt players.

Tyson, a 6-foot-8 senior power forward, was hot down the stretch, averaging 14 points, four rebounds, and nailing 80 percent of his three-point attempts (8 of 10) in the final three games. 

He averaged 7.5 ppg and 4.2 rebounds on the season and made the All-ACC Academic Team for a second consecutive year. 

"I think that just goes back to how I was raised," said the North Carolina native about his success on and off the court during his interview at the ACC Basketball Tipoff. "Growing up, my parents really instilled a good work ethic into me and always talked about how important academics was as well as success on the basketball court, and just working hard in both."

Point guards Al-Amir Dawes (9.0 ppg) and Nick Honor (8.1 ppg) and shooting guards Alex Hemenway (4.7 ppg) and Chase Hunter (2.9 ppg), all with starting experience, return to control the perimeter. 

"We do have experienced guards," Brownell said. "Nick Honor and Al-Amir Dawes have both hit big, game-winning shots. They have started for us before and last year we played both of them, sometimes together. Alex Hemenway is an experienced player for us that can really shoot the ball. Our experience this year is going to come from our backcourt and guys that have played a lot of games."

The three-man 2021 recruiting class lost a member when prolific scoring guard Lucas Taylor (27.9 ppg) asked to be released from his signed letter of intent. Taylor chose to stay in the state of North Carolina by signing with the Wake Forest Demon Deacons. 

In-state combo guard Joshua Beadle (6'3, 170) and Georgia power forward Ian Schieffelin (6'8, 225) remain from the class, and center Ben Middlebrooks (6'10, 225), originally the lone 2022 commit, reclassified to the 2021 class to give the Tigers much needed frontcourt depth. 

Transfer Portal 

Clemson added graduate transfers David Collins (6'4, 220) and Naz Bohannon (6'6, 230) from the portal. Collins, who can play either wing position, led South Florida in scoring (12.5) in 2020-21. Bohannon led Youngstown State in scoring (16.5) and rebounding (8.2) last season from the power forward position.

Both players will add scoring, toughness, and experience, but not overwhelming size, to a team that struggled against the backcourt length of Miami and Rutgers and also allowed the Scarlet Knights to grab key offensive rebounds late in the game. 

"Their size was a factor in the game," said Brownell after the loss to the Scarlet Knights. "You know, physically, they're bigger than we are at almost every position, and we faced that a lot this year in certain situations, and sometimes it's a problem."

Last year, the roster had six players over 6'8 among 12 scholarship players compared to four of 11 for this season. Hall and Middlebrooks are the only players over 6'8, and Collins, the tallest on the perimeter. 

The undersized Bohannon will have to come up big for the Tigers by playing a role similar to Simms'. Simms scored, hit the boards, and was one of the better passers on the team - he did it all. 

"If Coach tells me this game we need you to focus on rebounds, then I'm going to focus on rebounding that game," said Bohannon, who joined Brownell and Tyson in Charlotte. "If it's passing this game, or the next game he might want me to score a little bit more points, just fitting that agenda and doing what Coach wants me to do to help the Tigers win."

Here are other transfers contacted by the Clemson coaching staff after Newman and Prosper entered the portal in March, according to sources.

Name  Class Position  Height  New School  Old School 
Michael Nuga  Graduate  PG 6'2 UNLV Kent State 
Antonio Daye Jr. Junior  PG 6'3 Fordham  FIU
Noah Locke  Senior  SG 6'3 Louisville  Florida 
Armaan Franklin  Junior  SG 6'4  Virginia  Indiana 
Josh Nickelberry  Junior  SG 6'4  Lasalle  Louisville 
Darryl Morsell  Graduate  SG/SF 6'5 Marquette  Maryland 
Stanley Umude  Graduate  SF 6'6 Arkansas  South Dakota 
Parker Fox  Junior  SF 6'8 Minnesota  Northern State (Division II)
C.J. Felder  Junior  PF 6'7 Florida  Boston College 
Ty Groce  Graduate  PF 6'8 Butler  Eastern Michigan 
Langston Wilson  Junior  PF 6'9 Washington  Georgia Highlands JC

Here are five post players we were able to gather that Clemson pursued after Kidd entered the portal in May. The Tigers were among the finalists for each player.

Name  Class  Position  Height  New School  Old School 
Yor Anei  Senior  Center  6'10  Depaul  SMU 
Dusan Mahorcic  Senior  Center  6'10  Utah  Illinois State 
Khadim Sy  Graduate  Center  6'10  Wake Forest  Ole Miss 
Amari McCray Graduate  Center  6'10  Grambling State  Portland State 
Yuat Alok  Graduate  Center  6'11 New Mexico State  Coppin State 

After missing on each target, the late addition of Middlebrooks, who averaged 20.5 points and 13.6 rebounds at Westminster Academy, was a godsend for Brownell. He will likely serve as the backup to Hall at the center position.

Even with so many departures and additions, Brownell appeared optimistic that the newcomers will step up to replace Simms and others.

"We had a really good year last year. Went to the tournament, and a lot of it was because of Aamir Simms. Clyde, and Jonathan Baehre, our three seniors. Those three guys are going to be missed, but that opens up opportunities for other guys, and we're hopeful that those guys are ready to take a big step."

The Tigers finished 16-8 overall and 10-6 for fifth place in the ACC.

Clemson will open its 2021-22 season with home games against Presbyterian College, Wofford College, and Bryant University in November. 


  • Clemson was picked to finish 11th in the ACC this season by select media, however, the Tigers have outperformed the preseason poll rankings in eight of Brad Brownell’s 11 seasons in Tigertown.
  • Clemson finished the season 16-8 overall, including 10-6 in the ACC. The Tigers finished tied for fifth in the league during the regular season - a five-place improvement from preseason rankings to final standings.
  • The five-place improvement was tied for the second-best in the league with Georgia Tech (picked ninth, finished fourth).
  • The Tigers earned their 13th NCAA Tournament berth in program history and second in the last four years (in the three if you include the 2020 postseason being cancelled).
  • Clemson’s next victory against a ranked opponent will be its 100th in program history.
  • Hunter Tyson broke through with a career year of production on the court. Tyson averaged career-highs in points (7.5 ppg), rebounds (4.2 rpg), field goal percentage (.465), three-point percentage (.431) and free throw percentage (.771). Tyson made a career-high 12 starts. • Tyson posted seven double-digit scoring games, including three-straight to end the season. He scored a season-high 16 points on three occasions, including in wins over North Carolina and Pittsburgh.
  • Al-Amir Dawes built off of a stellar freshman campaign in 2020-21. He averaged 9.0 points, 2.0 rebounds and 1.9 assists per game. Dawes shot a career-best from the floor (.421) and from three (.394). • Dawes scored a season-high 21 points (7-10 FG, 5-8 3FG) and dished five assists in a win over Pitt (March 6).
  • Nick Honor played his first season in a Clemson uniform in 2020-21. Honor finished third on the team in scoring (8.1 points per game). He averaged 2.2 assists and 1.3 rebounds per game.
  • Honor scored 12 points against Georgia Tech, including a game-winning 3-pointer with 1.1 seconds remaining to lift Clemson 74-72. The game-winner was the first game-winning three in Littlejohn since Feb. 15, 2012.
  • Honor also scored a season-high 21 points (8-11 FG; 5-6 3FG) in an overtime win against NC State (Jan. 5).
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Brownell is hopeful team can overcome a lack of ideal size and depth in 2021-22

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