Lacking in toughness, leadership, skill development, Tigers have much work to do

Brad Brownell knows the Tigers have a lot to work on between and next October. He's hoping his players realize it, too

Basketball - Brad Brownell talks with Adonis Filer during a timeout

Photo by Mark Crammer

Basketball - Brad Brownell talks with Adonis Filer during a timeout

Brad Brownell knows the Tigers have a lot to work on between and next October.

He's hoping his players realize it, too.

Especially the part about the fine line between winning and losing the next two seasons in the power-boosted ACC.

With his recruiting options limited during the next two cycles, Brownell has to make the most of what he's got.

It's important to remember, that the Tigers aren't starting from scratch.

"We'll re-revaluate everything we're doing," Brownell said last week. "But it's not like we got blown out every game or anything like that; in fact there were periods of good play all the way up to the end of the Florida State game (in the ACC tournament).

"We played very well in the first half and should have been ahead by more than five. But there were plays we didn't finish, layups we missed - little things that happen when you're playing a lot better than the team you're playing against, like Boston College at home, when we were up two and needed to be up 10.

"We'll examine what we did well, as well as the things we didn't do well, and try to address those. I don't think philosophically everything needs to change, but we might make some adjustments, certainly."

Brownell pointed to three critical areas where improvement is essential if the Tigers to make their 2012-13 excursion into the ACC's dungeon a visit rather than residence.

Toughness: The Tigers need to improve their physical toughness for the long haul of the 18-game ACC season, and for the physical grunt-and-grind games that are becoming college basketball standard. They needed to be mentally tougher in late-game situations, and they need be willing to do the dirty work - boxing out, rebounding and taking charges.

Clemson took just five charges all season - just two by returning players.

"It wasn't good," Brownell said. "It was a little lack of toughness. I didn't coach that well enough, obviously, so some of that's on me. Tanner Smith was a natural at that, and took a great deal of pride in that. It became part of his mantra and probably rubbed off some on our other players. Book (Devin Booker) was a hard guy. I just couldn't get him to take a charge - it just wasn't in his makeup. We needed for him to do that some, because you've got to have ways to protect the basket. You're either a shot-blocker or you take charges...There won't be five on there next year."

Leadership: "I think leadership has to come from the players, and I don't think it did this year. I think that was part of our problem. When you see a team do what we did, there's an indication of no clear direction.

"When a team is coach-directed, it's never as good as it is when a team is player-directed. With at least a month to go in the season, I told you then that we were coach-directed. It never got turned around. I think there was clear evidence of what happens with that.

"Who's going to be our leaders next year? The natural guys are maybe K.J. and maybe Rod Hall. Those are two guys who've played a lot and have some experience...But the players have to figure that out."

Skill Development: "Guys don't understand how hard the NBA guys work on their games," Brownell said. " If you're going to be as good as you can be and give this thing a real go, you'd better become an expert in your craft.

"One of the problems right now with AAU basketball is that kids play so many games, they're conditioned to play all the time. But the practicing part of it is what you'd better be working on. There's not as much time spent on that. That's why you see the shooting numbers down. I don't think kids work on their shooting enough or spend enough time working on their skills. They just play a lot.

"The irony of all this is that I'm a guy who believes in skill development. I spend more time on it than most people probably do. But we've got to a better job with it, because obviously this year we didn't show it."

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Comments » 3

waran writes:

I am really disappointed with the Coach. He should know by now thet the players need to have the determination to win. Except one (KJ) or may be two (?) players there were none in the Team. You recruit players with the determination (Tanner Smith), you cant train "determination". You may be able to motivate some good players (Coach Ellis). Brownell should have known what he recruited. It is no use sitting and complaining at the end of the season.

SoCalTiger writes:

in response to waran:

I am really disappointed with the Coach. He should know by now thet the players need to have the determination to win. Except one (KJ) or may be two (?) players there were none in the Team. You recruit players with the determination (Tanner Smith), you cant train "determination". You may be able to motivate some good players (Coach Ellis). Brownell should have known what he recruited. It is no use sitting and complaining at the end of the season.

I agree with you. Brownell seems to be in over his head. His own recruits are tranferring. The cupboard is bare. It makes no sense to continue on with Brownell now that he is rebuilding what was a winning program that went from NCAA tournament to the cellar of the ACC. If the program is to be rebuilt again, now is the time to do it with another, more elite coach who can recruit elite players and give them reasons not to transfer.

BigBud52 writes:

AMEN!

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