The silent (program-changing) type …. and interim report on Clemson hoops

NORTHWESTER COMMAND – There is speculation five-star DT Montravius Adams has already silently committed to a program. If true, some suspect his verbal commitment is to Clemson, because a silent commitment would save him from being hounded by local friends and family to switch to Georgia. We saw what happened with Robert Nkemdiche, the other elite Georgia prep product this class, and his early commitment to Clemson. He faced immense pressure to join his brother at Ole Miss and decommitted from Clemson.

Adams visited Clemson several weeks ago, and four Clemson coaches, including Dabo Swinney, visited Adams on Friday, according to recruiting services. So if Adams is silently committed to Clemson, it doesn’t appear like he has informed Clemson. That’s a full court push from a cadre of Clemson coaches.

Clemson is a finalist, we know that much, and we’ll find out for sure where Adams is headed Wednesday, National Signing Day, when he makes his announcement at 9 a.m. on ESPNU.

Montravius Adams is the silent type … the silent, program-changing type

Clemson is also in the running for two other top prospects who will make televised announcements on Wednesday:

*CB Mackensie Alexander (ESPN’s No. 4 ovearll prospect) will choose between Auburn, Clemson, Mississippi State, Texas A&M at 11 a.m. on ESPNU.

*ESPN’s No. 125 overall prospect, G Tyrone Crowder, will choose between Clemson and Georgia at 4 p.m. on ESPNU.

(Clemson has also been after 5-star DE Carl Lawson, though he has apparently reaffirmed his commitment to Auburn, per Rivals.com)

I took some heat from Clemson fans for an article I wrote last week about how Clemson’s recruiting class could be its lowest-rated group since 2009, despite Clemson coming off of back-to-back 10-win seasons.

(Clemson has since been bumped up to 20th in Rivals.com’s rankings after being unranked and up to No. 18 in Scout.com’s rankings. But if you want to consistently be a top 15 team, you need consistently elite recruiting classes. Clemson still needs another elite guy or two in 2013.)

But I also acknowledged that Clemson coach Dabo Swinney has proven to be a quality closer before, and the story of Clemson’s 2013 class is hardly complete.

Adams and/or Alexander have the chance to impact not only the 2013 class significantly, but also Clemson’s 2013 season. So, can Swinney close again?

HALFWAY HOME IN ACC HOOPS PLAY …

We’re halfway through the ACC’s new 18-game schedule and we’ve learned that Clemson has a lot of work to do if it’s going to make even a second- or third-rate postseason tournament.

We’ve learned this is most likely going to be a February and March more about development than contention.

Clemson does not yet have a quality win on its resume, and it’s not even on the bubble in NIT projection. Clemson is still 0-for on the road in ACC play after losing to a very beatable Boston College foe on Saturday. Clemson again got off to a sluggish start before rallying and fading late.

The good news if you are a Clemson fan or part of the staff is that there are some developmental achievements to be encouraged by.

Clemson has depth and the guards and small forward position.

Rod Hall has shown flashes of becoming a true point guard, who can impact the game on the defensive and offensive ends of the court (Saturday was not one of those games).

K.J. McDaniels has made strides in transitioning from pure athlete to basketball player.

Adonis Filer possesses rare toughness and self-confidence, perhaps a product of his environment, growing up in south Chicago.

Jaron Blossomgame wants to be great. He’s one of the few players who takes extra shooting on a regular basis – I saw him shooting before practice on Tuesday before any of his teammate arrived – and he’s not even playing this year. The four-star prospect is redshirting and figures to team with McDaniels to give Clemson its best wing combination in recent memory.

If you’re a Clemson fan there are things to be encouraged by and there’s still reason to root – even if Clemson is not NCAA bound — as a NIT or CBI appearance, and win or two, could go a long ways for this team going forward.

THOUGHTS/OBSERVATIONS …

1. Jordan Roper is a really interesting player. He’s interesting because he has fluid shot mechanics combined with a quick release that might already make the freshman Clemson’s best outside shooter. He knocked down several 3s during Clemson’s comeback bid at Boston  College. He’s also interesting because he’s flawed: he’s too small to be a starting two-guard, and he’s not likely to earn many minutes at point guard with Rod Hall (sophomore) and Adonis Filer on the roster. He’s an undersized off-the-ball player like Andre Young was at Clemson. But unlike Young, I think he has more scoring ability off the dribble and his shot is more advanced. At worst, Roper can be a useful rotation player.

2. Milton Jennings wasn’t great, but he was better than he had been on the road Saturday. He and Devin Booker (19 points, 10 rebounds) combined for 32 points and 15 rebounds. Usually that production will give Clemson a chance to win, but Hall had one of his worst games of the year (3 points, 1 assist, 4 turnovers) and it’s tough to win with that kind of day from your point guard. Hall has made strides, but you have to remember he’s just a sophomore who was not even a point guard in high school.

3. Hall has pretty good court vision from what I can tell, but he seems hesitant at times to trust it, just like he’s hesitant to trust his mid-range jumpshot.

4. I thought Adonis Filer might be a threat to take Hall’s starting position earlier in the year, but the freshman cooled off after an impressive start. He had one of his better efforts in ACC play in Saturday as he scored 10 points (2 of 4 shooting from 3), handed out four assists and had just one turnover. Filer, always confident and aggressive, was more under control, more in sync with the offense on Saturday. He still looks like a valuable combo guard going forward.

5. Clemson’s slow starts can be in large part attributed to poor shooting. Clemson shot 23 percent from the field in the first half. Is it the lack of crowd energy, adjusting to a different shooting background? I’m not sure what it is – the basket is the same height and width away from Littlejohn Coliseum – but Clemson is shooting worse on the road than at home this season.

THE SILENT GAME-CHANGER?

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