Bobo the beast

Catalin Baciu

CLEMSON - Mike Winiecki wanted to convey a message of toughness to 7-foot-2 center Catalin Baciu.

The Clemson assistant coach, who's in charge of developing low post players, began referring to "Bobo" as "Baby Beast" shortly after the 2010-11 season.

"The last individual workout of the spring I said, 'We had a death in the Tiger family. Bobo, rest in peace.' Baby Beast was born," Winiecki told CUTigers during a one-on-one in August. "He's up to, maybe, adolescent now. He needs to be a beast by season."

Not long after the interview, Winiecki dropped baby from the moniker.

"Towards the end of the summer, when we started doing the preseason workouts, he started calling me Beast all the time," Baciu said on Saturday. "He told me I have to be meaner and stronger."

Baciu approached beast-mode when Clemson opened ACC play on Saturday with a 79-59 win over Florida State. The senior center scored nine points on 3-of-4 field shooting from the field. He also grabbed five rebounds and blocked two shots.

"Coach always puts an emphasis on that I have to be nasty," Baciu said.

Brad Brownell saw that streak from Baciu against a Florida State team that has one of the biggest front courts in the ACC.

"[Baciu] is a big kid," Brownell said. "When he's comfortable, when he's locked in, he can be a problem for people, especially when we've got them spread out a little bit."

Brownell added, "Certainly his size can be a factor. When he's locked in, not nervous and he's competitive, he can be a guy that can be productive for us."

In what's been the most productive season of his Clemson career, Baciu has scored 4.1 points and grabbed 2 rebounds in eight minutes per game.

In the three years prior, he averaged 3.7 minutes, 1.3 points and 1.4 rebounds.

"I think my individual workouts are a lot better with coach Winiecki," Baciu said. "He really does a great job of helping us improve, the post guys, so that helps a lot."

Baciu played 163 minutes in his first three seasons, 78 of which were last year. He's logged 120 through 15 games this season.

An uptick in playing time over the last two seasons has allowed Baciu to find more comfort in what he's done during his Clemson career.

"Honestly, my first two years, I was pretty shaken," Baciu said. "But I'm good now."

CUTigers.com Recommended Stories