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Jul 24, 2019

State of the Hoops Program: Clemson wants to build off of positive Team USA experience

Posted to The Athletic by Grace Raynor on July 23, 2019

CLEMSON, S.C. — Brad Brownell strolled into Pot Belly Deli on Clemson’s Wall Street last week, one of his favorite lunch spots, and ordered his usual steak and cheese sub.

The Clemson basketball coach was freshly back in town after a two-week trip to Italy, one that began with his team competing on behalf of the United States in the 2019 World University Games and ended with the Tigers winning the gold medal.

As he walked out of the restaurant, a cook from the back flagged him down. He wanted to say congratulations.

“It was great,” Brownell said from his office a few days later, thinking about the experience abroad, during which basketball and pizza were frequently on the mind. “You talk about having the opportunity to play for the United States, and very few of us are ever going to do that. Very few of us are Olympic athletes or coaches, but this was a way to be able to do that. And we talked about it with our players a little bit.

“You could watch our guys really enjoying this moment,” Brownell said. “You’re all dressed in the same (Team USA) clothes and anything with the (American) flag, the guys just loved it. Just to watch our guys after every win as the games got more and more important really trying to go for a gold medal — they openly talked about it.”

“It was something they really wanted to do.”

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