Clemson basketball had no selections in last night’s NBA draft.
That statement alone isn’t surprising to any Clemson basketball fan – we didn’t expect to have any former Tigers names called. The Tigers’ best prospect, Aamir Simms, came back to school for his senior year in 2020-2021.
However, looking at the bigger picture, just two of Brad Brownell’s recruits have been drafted by the NBA since he arrived in 2010 – K.J. McDaniels and Jaron Blossomgame. Even worse, since Sharone Wright was taken sixth overall by the 76ers in 1994, Clemson basketball has had just one other first-round draft pick – Trevor Booker in 2010.
Since Brownell’s arrival in 2010, his recruiting classes have been less than stellar to say the least and in basketball, “potential” means a lot more than it does in any other sport. NBA teams draft off projected potential more than any other sport.
When you look at the players since 2010, there have been (1) unranked signee, (2) two-star prospects, (21) three-star prospects, (8) four-star prospects, and (0) five-star high school prospects to sign with Clemson basketball.
If you aren’t able to sign the elite high school kids or the “one and done” type players that elevate your program, you have to be able to develop a kid’s potential in order to at least pique the interest of NBA teams.
Need an example of how bad the development at Clemson is under Brownell?
The 2020 NBA Draft was arguably the worst draft in the history of the game and yet former four-star recruit Aamir Simms was advised to come back to school for another year by the NBA Advisory Council.
If Clemson basketball is going to take the next step and become a consistent NCAA team, they have to start either landing an elite level recruit or two or they have to start to develop the talent that they do have.
Looking at the current roster, there is just one current player that even projects to the NBA at this point and it isn’t Simms. That is not saying Simms won’t get a chance or won’t find his way there but his road will be tougher than either K.J. McDaniels or Jaron Blossomgame.
That lone player? Freshman PJ Hall.
PJ Hall is the highest-rated recruit that Brad Brownell has signed in his time as the head coach of Clemson basketball. He was the top-rated player in the state of South Carolina and the 54th best prospect nationally.
He is the versatile big man that the NBA is looking for. He can score both inside and out, has great hands, and runs the floor better than most players his size. He made quite the name for himself on the ADIDAS Gauntlet circuit shooting an impressive 55 percent from three.
If he can build on that as a member of Clemson basketball, he has a chance to be the program’s third first-round draft pick since 1994.