Not much was expected from Clemson before the start of last season.
But KJ McDaniels was a one man wrecking crew, and he carried the Tigers to a 23-13 (10-8 ACC) record and a spot on the NCAA Bubble (they would end up in the NIT).
McDaniels led the team in every category imaginable, and still somehow seemed underrated.
Unfortunately for Clemson, he took his talents to the NBA, and will be nearly impossible to replace.
But Brad Brownell's squad still does have a few pieces to compete with.
Minus McDaniels, the mantle of best player on the Tigers likely falls on undersized combo guard Jordan Roper. Roper can score in bunches when he gets hot. Rod Hall is more of classic PG, and does his best work on the defensive end of the floor. He will join Roper in the back court when Roper plays off the ball. Demarcus Harrison is a 6'4 option at the 2 as well. Freshman Gabe Davoe was a big time scorer is H.S. and should also see plenty of minutes. Another freshman, 6'8 Donte Grantham, will get the first crack at replacing McDaniels on the wing. Grantham is a talented kid but will likely need some time to figure things out in the ACC. In the front court, Jaron Blossomgame is tough interior player, with a limited offensive game. Ditto 6'10 Landry Nnoko. Josh Smith is another big body whom Brownell hopes develops more on the offensive end. Top to bottom this is roster filled with good defensive players, but very short on firepower.
F Jaron Blossomgame - 6'7 215 So.
G Jordan Roper - 6'0 165 Jr.
G Rod Hall - 6'1 205 Sr.
What to Expect in 2014-15:
A lot of low scoring games. Clemson will need to slow the tempo, and keeps games in the 50s or low 60s to compete. That's no easy task considering the talent of the league. No team will miss a single player more than the Tigers will miss McDaniels. A finish anywhere between 10-14 in the conference seems right. Of course last year the same was expected.
How they match-up with the 'Canes:
Miami has a plethora of offensive weapons to choose from. I'm not sure that even with their air tight defense, the Tigers can shut down all of UM's scorers (Sheldon McClellan, Deandre Burnett, Angel Rodriguez, James Palmer, etc) on 2/8.
Stay tuned for more ACC Team previews as we count down to Tip Off