CLEMSON — Monday night, some unexpected news came from the Clemson men’s basketball program.
Sophomore guard T.J. Sapp – who had started all seven games this season – was transferring, effective immediately. Sapp will take his first semester exams, but his Clemson career is over.
Sapp started all seven games this season, averaging 3.6 points in 15.1 minutes per game.
However, the shooting slump that dragged him down in the second half of last season continued.
Sapp made only four of 18 3-pointers that he tried this season, a 22.2 percent clip.
He had missed his last eight 3-pointers, and made only three of his last 15 shots.
At South Carolina Sunday, Sapp appeared frustrated after missing the only shot he took, playing only seven minutes.
Meanwhile, a pair of freshman guards – Adonis Filer and Jordan Roper – were pushing him for playing time. Filer is averaging 21.7 minutes per game, averaging 7.6 points per game. He has made six of 17 3-pointers, a 35.1-percent clip. Over the last three games, he’s played 25, 26 and 29 minutes, numbers that only figure to improve now.
Roper is averaging 15.1 minutes per game, averaging 4.9 points per game. He’s made five of 14 3-pointers, a 35.7-percent clip. He has played double-digit minutes in every game this season.
In a statement, Sapp called his decision “tough” and cited his “brotherhood” with his teammates.
“I love and appreciate everything about Clemson,” he said. “Coach Brownell is a tremendous guy, and I appreciate everything he’s taught me. He definitely made me a better player, and I can honestly say I am stronger and wiser due to my experiences at Clemson. I’ll never forget all of the coaches who taught me so much during my time here.”
Couple that with BYU transfer swingman Damarcus Harrison (averaging 6.1 points in 18.4 minutes per game), and Sapp probably saw the writing on the wall: barring a turnaround with his shot, he wasn’t going to see significant minutes going forward.
Clemson will survive this season with a guard rotation of Filer, Roper, Hall and Harrison.
It also frees up a scholarship for Brownell to use in the spring signing period, or next season, if he wishes – before Sapp’s departure, he had one (with Harrison expected to leave for a two-year Church of Latter Day Saints mission).
Or perhaps he’ll scoop up another player who, like Sapp, is dissatisfied with his current lot.
Here’s hoping for the best for Sapp, a genuinely nice person who was always a pleasure to deal with in his year-plus at Clemson.
Brad Brownell and Co. should survive his loss, however.