Roper giving Clemson's offense a boost, defense work-in-progress

Clemson's Jordan Roper, left, looks to shoot as  Florida State's Terrance Shannon defends during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game on Saturday, Jan. 5, 2013 in Clemson, S.C. (AP Photo/Anderson Independent-Mail, Mark Crammer)

Photo by Mark Crammer

Clemson's Jordan Roper, left, looks to shoot as Florida State's Terrance Shannon defends during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game on Saturday, Jan. 5, 2013 in Clemson, S.C. (AP Photo/Anderson Independent-Mail, Mark Crammer)

Roper improving shooting, fit in defensive team

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Jordan Roper was going to work his way on the court this season – one of the top-scorers to come out of the state of South Carolina (Irmo High) recently – it was just going to take a little time.

“I think Jordan is one of those guys not 100 percent of what his role was going to be,” Clemson coach Brad Brownell said. “He’s a pretty unassuming guy – he doesn’t have this big bravado that I’m going to try to score all these points and do all this.”

Roper says there was definitely a transition period.

“The beginning of the season, I wasn’t as confident,” Roper said. “But the more I get out there, the more I play with more intensity and confidence.”

The Columbia (S.C.) native is Brownell’s top option off the bench now, averaging 19.7 minutes a game, and is quickly becoming a much-needed 3-point threat.

Roper hit 3-of-4 from the perimeter against Wake Forest last week, and in his last seven games, is making 3’s at a 44.4 percent clip (12-of-27).

Small in stature (5-11 165), Roper has a rapid-fire shooting motion that’s hard to reach if he’s open and a team-high 40-inch vertical to throwdown at the hoop, but that size (or lack thereof) can work against him in Clemson’s calling card, defense.

Brownell says the true freshman has “a ways to go” defensively, but compares well, size included, to former Tigers star Andre Young, who left Clemson last year in the top-25 in school history in points (1,223) and third-best in assist-to-turnover ratio (2.1).

“(With) Jordan and Andre – there’s very little margin for error,” said Brownell. “There’s just no getting over being smaller sometimes. When you’re late to the shooter, there’s no way you can affect the play.”

He says there are some tricks of the trade Young learned along the way that he hopes Roper will too.

"You got to be able to see some things early," Brownell said. "And some wisdom, being smaller, to shortcut some things to get where you need to be."

Despite an offensive-geared game, Roper says he came to Clemson to become an all-around athlete.

“You come to college to better yourself,” Roper said. “I don’t think defense is an area that people thought I could be good at per se, but you want to develop as a basketball player and that’s what coach Brownell does – develops great basketball players.

“That’s one of the reasons I came here, because they get after it on defense.”

Clemson-NC State Preview, 6 p.m. tip today

Categories Clemson NC State
PPG 64.1 79.6
PPG Allowed 55.4 69
FG% 44.5 51.5
3PT% 33.3 39.4
Off. Reb. % 32.5 32.5
eFG% 49.5 56.1
Turnover % (Amount per 100 plays) 18.4 17.5
Free throw rate (FT attempts/FG attempts) 36.7 43.5

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