Changing Gears: Brownell says Tigers will push the tempo, score in transition

'I think we have to take some open shots early when we get them. I don't know that we have a ton of creators in the half-court'

Clemson men's basketball coach Brad Brownell

Photo by Mark Crammer

Clemson men's basketball coach Brad Brownell

New team, new year, and we're still getting to know Brad Brownell's brand of basketball.

As the Tigers begin practice for a new season with one of their youngest teams in history, Brownell gives every indication of being more pragmatic than ideological when it comes to tempo and playing style.

Brownell could write a book on half-court offense, but without shooters and shot-creators, it might not have a happy ending.

While the youngest Tigers will certainly be taught to value every possession, they'll also be asked to push the tempo, take open shots early in possessions, and to take what opposing defenses allow as the learn their way around Brownell's offensive system.

"There will be times when we push the ball and move," Brownell said Wednesday at Clemson's kickoff news conference. "I think we'll have to, because I think we'll need to get some shots in transition."

Ideally, Brownell said he wants his teams to be able to change gears.

"I think the best teams can play fast and play slow," he said. "That's when you're really good - when you can win games in the high 80s or you can win games in the 50s.

"I don't know that we have the ability score in the 80s all the time or anything like that. I don't think that will be our calling card. But I don't think we'll be a team that just wants to walk it down, either."

While the Tigers are young, they will have the ability to come at teams with numbers.

"We want to be a team that can play with some pace and bring some guys in and out and play with numbers, especially early in the season," Brownell said. "And I think we have to take some open shots early when we get them.

"I don't know that we have a ton of creators in the half-court. We're going to need to use our post play to hopefully draw multiple people and gain some advantages."

Brownell said necessity has forced the coaching staff to simply the game they'll be teaching early this fall.

"We are simplifying things with our team because they are so young," he said. "We can't be as intricate as I like to be in certain situations, on both ends of the court.

"We have to start with basic basketball and try to get good at it, so that guys aren't thinking so much that they can't play. I want them to be able to play hard, and to understand what we're trying to do. So we are simplifying some things. As the year goes on, we'll add more to it."

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