Florida State's Okaro White is one of Brad Brownell's favorite ACC players.
The 6-9 senior forward from Clearwater, Fla. - once a Clemson recruiting target - isn't an All-American or even an All-ACC performer, but he's one of those do-it-all players that every good team needs.
"He's long, he's big, he's versatile, he's smart and he can do a little bit of everything," said Brownell. "He rebounds, he passes, he can make a shot, and he's been through the wars and now is experienced."
Brownell's Tigers will face the challenge of stopping White and a tall and balanced Florida State team tonight when coach Leonard Hamilton brings his 9-4 Seminoles to Littlejohn Coliseum for a 7 p.m. contest.
It will be the second ACC game for both Florida State and Clemson (10-3). The Tigers are coming off a 62-60 road victory over Boston College, while Florida State dropped its league opener at home, 62-50, to Virginia.
Brownell expects the Seminoles to be in a mind to make things right when they step on the floor against the Tigers.
"I don't think they'll come in here happy, and I know Leonard will have them really ready," Brownell said. "They just didn't play very well last time out, and I think Virginia certainly had something to do with that. There are going to be some nights when you just don't play well, for whatever reason.
"I think when you look at their full body of work, you'll see that they've done a really nice job with their team. They're big and strong. Okaro White is one of my favorite players in the league. Their guards are playing well, and obviously they really defend you. Teams are in the 36-percent range shooting against them. They're always hard to score against.
"They've played about as well as anybody in most of their games against non-conference teams. They beat a very good Massachusetts team and a VCU team that's outstanding. I think they just didn't play well against Virginia."
As for his Tigers, Brownell considers the victory over Boston College a good one, despite the fact that his team nearly let it get away at the end.
"Against Boston College, I thought our guys were gritty," Brownell said. "We played a good 36 minutes of basketball - our first half was outstanding, and we even made good runs in the second half. Obviously, we made some mistakes down the stretch. But that's just part of a young team finding ways to win.
"We made enough plays down the stretch to win the game, so I'm really proud of the way we competed. To get a road win in the ACC is meaningful, and it was important for us to win one. We lost at Auburn in a game where we had control in the second half and let it get away. We controlled most of the Boston College game, and we didn't want to let another one get away there."
Florida State is the first half of a quick-turnaround week for the Tigers, who will be back on their home court on Saturday at 2 p.m. to face Duke.
The Seminoles have won the last four games in the series, including a three-game sweep last season, all decided by five points or less.
Hamilton has various lineup options, including a tall front line that includes the 6-9 trio of White, Robert Gilchrist and Jarquez Smith, along with 7-3 Boris Bojanovsk and 7-1 Michael Ojo.
Guards Ian Miller and Aaron Thomas are both averaging better than 12 points a game.
The game shapes up as a defensive struggle. Clemson and FSU rank 1-2 in the ACC in field goal percentage defense, and are tied for the conference lead in blocked shots with 88 each.
Game promotions include $10 tickets for youth 12 years old and younger, and free hot dogs and soft drinks for the first 1,000 Clemson students through the doors.