CLEMSON - Steve Smith is all too familiar with the obstacles that are presented to a basketball…
Brownell responds to Big 12 rumors
For Brad Brownell, this offseason has been anything but normal.
For starters, there was this little task of having to replace associate head coach Rick Ray, who left Clemson to take over the head coaching job at Mississippi State.
Then he had to replace Ray's replacement, James Johnson.
Johnson, who came to Tigertown from Virginia Tech, left less than two weeks later to take over the head coaching job back with the Hokies.
Now Clemson's third-year head coach is knee-deep in summertime camps, while also gearing up for July recruiting.
"It's been very busy this offseason," Brownell admitted to CUTigers Monday. "Most are reasonably busy but this one has been as busy as you'd would expect for a guy that's had to hire two assistant coaches and go through that kind of stuff.
"But now the NCAA has allowed us to work out with our guys this summer for the first time. So we get three 40-minute workouts with our guys and we try to spread that out a bit. So we are still spending some time with our players this summer and monitoring summer school and obviously with the Prowl and Growl through April and May.
"It's been a lot busier than I would like at times but it goes with the job. And now we are getting ready to gear up with July recruiting plus team camps."
And if that wasn't enough, there's been all these rumors and speculation surrounding Clemson and Big 12.
For the last four weeks, rumors have circulated around the Internet that there has been a mutual interest between the ACC Tigers and the Big 12.
While Clemson officials have consistently denied the reports, they haven't gone away.
Brownell, who came to Clemson to coach in the ACC, one of the top basketball leagues in America, said Monday he supports the same idea Dabo Swinney spoke about last week.
In other words, he wants to stay in the ACC.
"I just think our fit is much more natural in the ACC than the Big 12," he said. "It has been a bit more problematic recently because people use anything they can in recruiting against you. They'll use things with players and coaches and say 'if you go to Clemson you may not end up playing in the ACC.'
"Some of it is just rumor and that's what this has been. And with us recruiting in North Carolina and Georgia and South Carolina here in our bread basket- those kids want to play in the ACC and those are kids we think very highly of. It's caused us a few problems and a little bit of heartburn but hopefully we are past that.
"I don't think the school has done anything to indicate we are not happy in the ACC. There are always things you wish were better but our natural fit is exactly what Dabo said. We both feel like the natural fit for us is to be in this league. For me the basketball is outstanding. You add Pittsburgh and Syracuse and this league is on the verge of being the premier basketball conference in America."
Interestingly enough, Brownell, along with Swinney, were asked to meet with Clemson's Board of Trustees last week via teleconference to get their thoughts on a variety of topics- including conference realignment.
Brownell said he delivered the exact same message conveyed written above directly to the Board.
"We weren't on very long," he said. "But we made it known that's what we thought (staying in the ACC) was best- that this is where we belong and that this is a natural fit for these programs. The grass is always greener and always looks better in other places sometimes but I don't know if we always realize all the ramifications that come with it.
"If we decide to go to another league at some point, you know, I'll get behind it and do whatever it is to help make the basketball program as good as it could be. But right now, I do feel like the league we are in is a very good one- especially in basketball.
"I think Dabo thinks that football-wise the league could be better and the league will get better. Certainly he wants to put a little more pressure on people in the league office and everywhere else to do a little bit better job marketing football and things of that nature. We want the league to be as good as it can be in all sports and we feel like that can happen and we both can achieve the goals we want to achieve by being in the ACC."
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