May 1, 2009
Clemson, SC – With the return of three starters and 12 lettermen from a 23-win team, Clemson’s 2009-10 men’s basketball squad will have high expectations. National sportswriters from three popular websites have published preseason top-25 predictions, and the Tigers are listed among the predicted top 15 for the 2009-10 season.
Andy Katz and Doug Gottlieb of ESPN.com have published their respective top-25 preseason teams. Gottlieb has the Tigers predicted as the #8 team in the nation, while Katz forecasts Clemson for a #13 ranking in the 2009-10 preseason. Gottlieb writes the Tigers “should be awesome next season, especially with incoming freshman Milton Jennings pairing with Trevor Booker down low.” Katz believes Clemson “has a game-changing three-point threat in Terrence Oglesby.”
Jeff Goodman of FoxSports.com released his predicted preseason top-25 for next year on April 12, and he forecasts the Tigers as his #6 team for 2009-10. “Booker is one of the most underrated big men in the country, and his younger brother – incoming freshman Devin Booker – may be even better,” Goodman said.
Gary Parrish of CBSSports.com also produced a preseason top-25 forecast for 2009-10. He has the Tigers listed as #9, citing the return of Booker as one of the key reasons Clemson should be among the nation’s top teams.
Trevor Booker, a fourth-team All-American as a junior according to Goodman, led the Tigers in scoring (15.3 ppg) and rebounding (9.7 rpg) last season. He became the first player to lead the ACC in field goal percentage (.571) and rebounding in the same season since Tim Duncan for Wake Forest in 1996-97. Booker also ranked second in the conference in blocked shots per game.
Clemson returns its starting backcourt next season as well. Rising juniors Terrence Oglesby have combined for 83 starts, and have helped the Tigers to back-to-back NCAA Tournament appearances. Oglesby ranked third on the 2008-09 squad in scoring at 13.2 points per game. He ranked second in the ACC in three-point goals per game and three-point accuracy. Stitt averaged 8.7 points per game and ranked among the top 10 in the conference in both assists per game and assist-to-turnover ratio as a sophomore.
Other returning lettermen for the Tigers next season will be rising seniors Karolis Petrukonis and David Potter, rising juniors Zavier Anderson, Jonah Baize, and Jerai Grant, and rising sophomores Bryan Narcisse, Tanner Smith, and Andre Young.
Clemson will also welcome one of its top recruiting classes under sixth-year Head Coach Oliver Purnell in the fall. The Tiger program signed three players last November – Booker, Jennings, and Donte Hill – in a class that is ranked among the nation’s top 25 by both ESPNU and Scout.com. Jennings (Summerville, SC) is a McDonald’s All-American and two-time South Carolina Gatorade Player-of-the-Year. Booker (Whitmire, SC) is a consensus top-150 prospect according to the national recruiting services, while Hill (Virginia Beach, VA) was recently included in the final Rivals150 for the class of 2009.
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