Brad Brownell nabs one of state's best in wing Austin Ajukwa of Columbia

6-5 Cardinal Newman star picked Tigers over Gamecocks

Clemson Men's Basketball - Brad Brownell

Photo by Mark Crammer

Clemson Men's Basketball - Brad Brownell

Brad Brownell took another step in strengthening his in-state recruiting base on Thursday when Clemson won out over rival South Carolina for 6-5 wing Austin Ajukwa of Cardinal Newman School in Columbia, S.C.

Ajukwa is ranked as the state's No. 2 overall prospect by most recruiting website networks, trailing only Sindarius Thornwell of Lancaster, who is ranked among the nation's top five shooting guards.

Ajukwa averaged 24 points, nine rebounds and three assists per game as a junior.

Ajukwa committed to Clemson during a visit to campus on Thursday. Earlier, he had an in-home visit with Brownell, and on Wednesday, visited with new USC coach Frank Martin.

Ajukwa also had offers from Wake Forest, Virginia Tech and Boston College, among others.

He becomes the second player committed to Clemson's 2013 class headed into the early signing period in November. Guard Patrick Rooks, who lives in Charlotte, N.C. but grew up in the Upstate, has been committed to the Tigers for more than a year.

Ajukwa will become Brownell's second in-state freshman signee, and his third in-state player overall. A year ago, he signed the Columbia area's top guard in Jordan Roper of Irmo. He also added Demarcus Harrison, a guard from Greenwood, S.C., who is a transfer from Brigham Young.

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YabbaDaboDooDoo writes:

Clemson fans should realize by now that Brownell can't elevate this program. They need to hire a head coach who can RECRUIT. South Carolina became the best program in the state the minute Frank Martin was hired. With the additions of Syracuse, Pitt, and Notre Dame, the ACC just became the best basketball conference in the country. So how does Clemson lose Sindarius Thornwell to South Carolina when the Gamecocks were a dumpster fire last season and their head coach has been there all of about 5 minutes? Clemson fans, you're not going to win with Brownell. He's still recruiting the same caliber of players he had at Wright State and UNCW. That won't win in the ACC.

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