In the aftermath of K.J. McDaniels' decision to leave school for the NBA, Brad Brownell now has a…
McDaniels bids farewell
Exactly how the Tigers' staff will go about filling that open scholarship is still up in the air.
"It's not something we've thought much about," Brownell said. "Certainly, here with K.J.'s looming decision, we've paid a little bit of attention. I think, right now, we're like every team. There's a bunch of transfers out there. We're certainly paying attention to that.
"If we can find somebody who will help our program, we'll do it if they fit, but we don't feel like we have to do that for next year's team. If we go into next year's season with our current roster, we're OK with that and we'll roll the scholarship into next year's class."
As of Wednesday afternoon, Brownell didn't feel compelled to go in one direction or another.
"I think we're in a good position. We're not like we're in any emergency where you look at our team and feel like there's a huge hole," he said. "There certainly are about 35 minutes and 17 points, seven or eight rebounds and three blocks that are leaving, but we have confidence that some of the guys on our team are going to make the next step as players."
For McDaniels, making his next step one that went towards the NBA was not an easy decision.
"It was difficult. It's going to be difficult leaving the Clemson family," he said. "I want to thank them for everything they've done for me. Coach Brownell, the coaching staff, my teammates, it made it a difficult decision, but I feel like it's a dream come true. It's something I've been wanting. I felt like it was time."
McDaniels "came to peace" with the decision last week. Among the folks he consulted before reaching the decision was former Clemson forward and current Washington Wizard Trevor Booker.
"He said, ‘If you feel like you're ready, go out there and chase your dream, go get your dream.' It's something I've been wanting for a long time," McDaniels said.
Brownell commended McDaniels for how he handled the decision and all of the things that came with it.
"It's overwhelming, at times. I think it takes a mature young man to not let it affect your play," Brownell said. "I also think it takes a group of unselfish teammates to really understand the microscope that their player is under, the distractions and the amount of things that they have to deal with, so certainly, we had some idea of what it was going to be like, but it's constant and it doesn't go away.
"It puts pressure on you. Basketball-wise, it puts a ton of pressure on you. For school, it puts a ton of pressure on you. Your teammates, there's a light shining on one of your players the whole time and if they don't handle it right, it becomes a distraction and a problem for your team.
"K.J. did as good a job as you could do in deflecting things and just trying to stay focused with our team and always trying to put the team first and what we were trying to accomplish this season."
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