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Basketball Pre-season Preview: Clemson

Thursday, September 11, 2008 11:41am
By: Accsports Staff

November 11, 2002

Track Record

Year ACC Overall Postseason
1993 5-11 (7) 17-13 NIT 2nd Round
1994 6-10 (7) 18-16 NIT 2nd Round
1995 5-11 (6) 15-13 NIT 1st Round
1996 7-9 (6) 18-11 NCAA 1st Round
1997 9-7 (4) 23-10 NCAA Sweet 16
1998 7-9 (4) 18-14 NCAA 1st Round
1999 5-11 (7) 19-14 NIT Runner-up
2000 4-12 (9) 10-20 None
2001 2-14 (9) 12-19 None
2002 4-12 (7) 13-17 None

x — won ACC title

2002-03 Roster

Name Ht./Wt. Pos. Class
Ray Henderson* 6-8/275 C Sr.
Tomas Nagys 6-10/250 BF Sr.
Edward Scott* 6-0/175 PG Sr.
Chris Hobbs* 6-7/265 BF Jr.
Steve Allen 6-10/230 C So.
Olu Babalola 6-6/260 WF So.
Chey Christie 6-4/178 WG So.
Sharrod Ford 6-9/220 BF So.
Akin Akingbala 6-9/220 BF Fr.
Julian Betko 6-5/190 WF Fr.
Ori Ichaki 6-5/195 WF Fr.
Shawan Robinson 6-2/170 PG Fr.
  • — returning starter

Building Blocks
Ed Scott has developed from a freshman with bad feet into a legitimate ACC point guard. Last season, he led the Tigers in scoring four times and in assists 26 times. He reached double-digit assists seven times, with a high of 16 against Wake Forest. He also averaged 4.9 rebounds per game, the third-best average on the team. Scott is more effective at a faster pace. He averaged 11.9 points overall, 13.3 in ACC games. With the departure of moody wing guard Tony Stockman, who often frustrated teammates with his shot selection, Scott is expected to flourish this season.

Other Key Returnees
Ray Henderson and Chris Hobbs give the Tigers plenty of beef inside. Coach Larry Shyatt is hoping extra work on defense in the offseason will cut down on the number of silly fouls Henderson and Hobbs have committed in the past. Last season, Hobbs fouled out of five ACC games and Henderson was disqualified in three. Both shot better than 54 percent from the field last season, and they combined to average almost 15 rebounds per game. Of the two, Hobbs is the smoother offensive player who needs to extend his range, and Henderson is the better rebounder. In ACC play last season, Henderson averaged 8.3 rebounds in 24.6 minutes. If the Tigers are going to escape from the ACC basement, they need Hobbs and Henderson to get more minutes and to approach 60 percent from the field.

Some Introductions
One thing is certain: Writers covering the Tigers this season will need to keep their rosters handy at all times. The newcomers are power forward Akin Akingbala, wing forward Julian Betko, wing forward Ori Ichaki (still waiting on NCAA clearance) and Shawan Robinson. Robinson is the lone American in the group. Akingbala has the reputation of a shotblocker, but at 6-9, 220 he has some beefing up to do and probably will be redshirted. Betko brings with him an unbelievable statistic — 58 percent from behind the arc as a prep senior. Can he shoot over more athletic defenders, create a shot off the dribble or play defense? Time will tell. Ichaki is a 21-year-old former Israeli soldier who averaged 17 points per game for his national team. Robinson, the son of a coach, can play the point or shooting guard. He was the MVP of the 2002 North Carolina High School All-Star game.

Also Worth Noting
All seats at the 5,000-seat Civic Center of Anderson will be general admission. … After having just one senior in each of the last three seasons, the Tigers have five (including walk-ons) this year. … The ACC returns just four of its top 21 scorers from last season. Two of the four, Scott and Hobbs, play for the Tigers. … Clemson led the league in rebounding margin (+5.1) last season. … Sharrod Ford set a team record for field-goal percentage (60.6) by a freshman last season. … Shyatt's youngest son, Geoff, a star soccer player at D.W. Daniel High School, is on this year's basketball roster.

CHART BY: THE CLEMSON INSIDER