Nov. 13, 2000
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Clemson in Season Openers Clemson has been successful in season openers over the years, especially recently. Clemson has won each of its last 15 season openers dating to the first game of the 1984-85 season, the first game of the Cliff Ellis era. That has a bit of irony to it considering Ellis became Clemson’s winningest basketball coach in history. The Tigers lost that first game of 1984-85 to Tennessee Tech, 68-67 in overtime.
Clemson had a 12-game winning streak in season openers prior to that, so Clemson has actually won 27 of its last 28 season openers. Last year Clemson downed East Tennessee State in the opener 77-47 behind 16 points and 10 rebounds from Adam Allenspach and 21 points from Will Solomon.
Clemson’s most impressive season opening win in the recent streak of 15 consecutive victories took place in the opener of the 1996-97 season. The Tigers defeated defending NCAA Champion Kentucky, 79-71 in overtime in a game played in the RCA Dome in Indianapolis. Kentucky was ranked third in the nation entering that game and it is still the highest ranked non-conference win in Clemson history.
Clemson vs. Hartford This will be the second time in this academic year that Clemson has opened a season with the University of Hartford. The Tiger soccer team began its 2000 season with a 4-0 victory over Hartford. Larry Shyatt hopes his team goes on to as great as season as Trevor Adair’s soccer team has had. Clemson opens play in the NCAA Tournament on Sunday as the number-two seed in the entire event.
This will be Clemson’s first ever meeting in basketball against the University of Hartford. The two teams are tentatively slated to play a men’s and women’s doubleheader at the University of Hartford between Christmas and New Year’s next season. In addition to a homecoming for Will Solomon, it would also be a homecoming for Clemson women’s player Marci Glenney, a native of Lisbon, CT.
Clemson-Connecticut Connections Although Connecticut is 900 miles from Clemson, SC, the state provided Clemson with two of its top student-athletes in two major sports last year. Guard Will Solomon was the top player on Clemson’s basketball team, while pitcher Scott Berney won one of the best pitchers on Clemson’s College World Series baseball team last season.
Solomon is a native of East Hartford, CT and East Hartford High School. The 6-1 guard led the ACC in scoring this year with a 20.9 average and he was rewarded for his fine play with a selection to the first-team All-ACC squad. Solomon was the first Clemson player to make first-team All-ACC since Dale Davis and Elden Campbell made the team in 1989-90. He is the first guard to make first-team All-ACC in 20 years and the first Clemson underclassman to make first team in 25 years.
Berney, a native of Hamden, CT and Hamden High School, was a transfer from UCONN who played one year for Clemson before graduating. He played for the Huskies in 1997, 1998 and 1999 and had a 14-9 record. In 2000 at Clemson, Berney, had a 9-4 recordwith a 3.39 ERA He did not allow a run in the first 32 1/3 innings that he pitched this year, the longest scoreless streak in Clemson history.
Another transfer from UCONN hopes to make her mark this year’s Clemson women’s team. Marcie Glenney is a transfer from UCONN and a native of Lisbon, CT, who will be eligible this year. She will be in Clemson’s starting lineup with Jim Davis’s team opens the season Saturday at Illinois.
Of course, Clemson and UCONN have crossed paths on the hardcourt before. Connecticut’s 71-70 victory over Clemson in the 1990 NCAA Tournament provided one of the most dramatic NCAA Tournament moments in the decade of the 1990s. A last second 17-foot jumper by Tate George ended Clemson’s season at the Meadowlands that year.
Solomon Among Top 10 Shooting Guard by Two Publications Clemson guard Will Solomon is ranked among the top 10 shooting guards in the nation according to Dick Vitale’s Preseason Magazine and by Lindy’s Basketball. Lindy’s ranks Solomon third in the nation, behind two ACC players, Juan Dixon of Maryland and Joseph Forte of North Carolina. Dick Vitale lists Solomon as the eighth best shooting guard in the nation. Solomon has also been chosen first-team All-ACC by many preseason publications, including USA Today. He was a second-team selection by media attending ACC Operation Basketball. Clemson as a team was ranked seventh in the preseason poll by that group.
Solomon Ranked among Returning Scorers Clemson guard will Solomon is eighth among returning scorers from last year according to statistics released by the NCAA. The Clemson junior guard is also sixth among returning players in three-point goals per game. Last year Solomon ranked 16th in the nation overall in scoring with a 20.9 average. He was 17th in the nation in three-point goals per game with a Clemson record 3.1 figure.
Hartford Scouting Report Like Clemson, Hartford returns nine players and three starters from a team that won 10 games last season. Hartford is coached by first-year mentor Larry Harrison, a 1978 graduate of the University of Pittsburgh, who recently has been an assistant coach at Cincinnati and DePaul.
Hartford had one exhibition game prior to the game with Clemson, a 80-49 win over the Hungarian National team on November 7. Ryan Stys, a freshman guard, led Hartford in scoring with 16 points, and he also contrbuted five assists and two steals. Keyon Smith, the team’s second leading scorer last year, added 13 points, while Rob Sawicki added 11. Sawicki is a 6-10 senior center who was injured much of last year. Hartford shot 47 percent from the field and won the battle of the boards 38-29 in the victory. They also hit an outstanding 9-20 on three-point shots, including 4-6 by Stys.
Gilmore Has Torn ACL, Will Miss Season Starting Clemson forward Larry Shyatt said on Wednesday. Examination by Clemson physicians revealed that Gilmore must have surgery to repair the injury.
It is the second injury sustained by Gilmore since the end of last season. He sprained his medial collateral ligament on his left knee in May while playing in a pickup game in his hometown of Fayetteville, NC.
Gilmore, a 6-8 forward, started 23 games and played in 27 of Clemson’s 30 contests a year ago. He averaged 3.7 points and 6.1 rebounds per game last year. The rebound average was second best on the Clemson team.
“First of all we are most concerned for Chucky’s health and well being,” said Shyatt. “We are confident he will make a full recovery and come back stronger than ever. We plan to make sure he uses this time to his benefit in all aspects, as a basketball player and in the classroom.
“It is certainly a loss to our team, especially in terms of rebounding. He was second on our team last year. But, we have some strong inside players who will make up for his loss.”
Clemson Announces Three Men’s Basketball Signees Clemson Head Coach Larry Shyatt has announced the signing of three players to national letters of intent. The Clemson newcomers for the 2001-02 season include Sharrod Ford, a 6-9, 210-pound forward from Accokeek, MD, Olu Babalola, a 6-6, 245-pound forward from London England, and Chey Christie, a 6-4, 170-pound wing player from Biloxi, MS.
“We are excited to add these quality players to our program,” said Shyatt, who is in his third year as Clemson’s Head Coach. “We covered some important needs. It is a balanced class with one player at each area of the team. This gives us back-to back top 20 recruiting classes and gives us some depth as we look to the future.” Hoop Scoop currently ranks Clemson’s class as #18 in the country.
Christie is the brother of former Clemson starting forward Tony Christie. One of the top scorers in the state of South Carolina, he is currently at Biloxi High School in Biloxi, MS. He opened his senior season with a 30-point game on Wednesday night. Last year as a junior, Christie averaged 25.4 points and 7.1 rebounds per game. He shot 55 percent from the field and 78 percent from the foul line. He is ranked as the 37th best player in the nation according to Hoop Scoop.
“Christie is an athletic perimeter player who has outstanding scoring potential,” said Shyatt. “We are obviously familiar with his family and we feel he will be a terrific addition to our program. He gives us versatility on the perimeter.”
Babalola is a native of London, England, but is playing at St. Augustine Prep in Richland, NJ this year. Last year he averaged 18.8 points and 11.2 rebounds per game. He shot 58 percent from the field and averaged 2.8 rebounds a game. He was a third-team All-State selection in New Jersey last year.
“Olu was not as well known as some because he did not attend some of the bigger summer camps,” said Shyatt. We are glad he didn’t. He has the size and power of a football player, but he has more grace and shooting ability than people realize.”
Ford is an inside player at Hargrave Military academy in Chatham, VA. He played his previous four years at Gwynn Park High in Brandywine, MD. Last year he shot 58 percent from the field, averaged 15.8 points and 11.9 rebounds per game. He also blocked 6.6 shots per game, including a season high of 11 in one game. he was named a first-team All-Metro selection by the Washington Post.
“Ford brings size and athleticism to our frontline,” said Shyatt. “He is a shot blocker who can really run the floor. He is ranked among the top five inside players at the prep school level.”
Clemson Men’s Basketball Schedule Clemson will play non-conference games against teams from the SEC, the Big Ten and the Big East, all within the first three weeks of the season, according to the school’s 2000-01 schedule. The Tigers will play host to Seton Hall of the Big East on November 21, and Northwestern of the Big Ten on November 28th. Clemson will travel to SEC foe South Carolina on Saturday, December 9.
This will be just the second time in history that Clemson has played teams from the Big East, Big Ten and SEC in the same regular season. The only other time was in 1995-96 when Clemson swept three games from Minnesota, Miami (FL) and South Carolina. Clemson Head Coach Larry Shyatt was an assistant coach on that staff.
“We have tried to bring more Big East, Big Ten and SEC teams to our schedule and we are certainly doing that this year,” said Shyatt, in his third year as Clemson’s Head Coach. “This is an outstanding schedule, especially with one of the top Big East programs in Seton Hall, a Sweet 16 team last year, and a Big Ten team in Northwestern both coming to our facility.”
This will be just the third time in history that a Big Ten team has played in Littlejohn Coliseum. Purdue played at Clemson in December of 1973 and Minnesota played at Clemson in 1995-96. Clemson won both games.
“We will have a challenging schedule in November and December. The game with South Carolina is always a stern test and the three games in Puerto Rico just before Christmas should go a long way in preparing us for the ACC schedule, which gets underway when Maryland comes to Clemson on January 2.” Clemson has won six straight games against the Gamecocks.
Clemson could face Cincinnati in the second round of the Puerto Rico Shootout if the Tigers defeat Florida Atlantic and the Bearcats down Youngstown State in the opening round. Cincinnati was ranked number-one in the nation much of last season. That tournament will run December 20-22.
Clemson begins the season against the University of Hartford on Friday night, a school close to the hometown of Clemson All-ACC guard Will Solomon, on November 17th at Littlejohn Coliseum. The contest will be played the Friday night before the Clemson vs. South Carolina football game, which will be played at Clemson.
Clemson’s schedule is a 29-game regular season slate with 16 contests played at home, 10 on the road and three on neutral site. Clemson will play its13th and final non-conference game on December 30 at Coastal Carolina, a game that will be played in the Myrtle Beach Convention Center. Each of the last 16 games of the season will be against ACC foes.
Clemson will have 18 games on some type of television, including three on ESPN networks. Clemson will play eight games on Saturdays, seven on Wednesday, five on Tuesdays and five on Sundays. As usual, there is a wide variance of starting times due to television. There are 10 different starting times on the schedule, ranging from 11:00 AM to 9:00 PM.
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