What a difference a year makes

What a difference a year makes

GREENVILLE - There wasn't quite this much certainty surrounding Brad Brownell and the Clemson men's basketball program at this time last year.

Even after the first losing season of Brownell's head coaching career, newly minted Clemson athletics director Dan Radakovich let it be known that he was not in a hurry to make any personnel changes to the men's basketball program.

But, when Radakovich fired Itoro Coleman from the women's job, folks on the outside began to wonder just how quickly Brownell needed to turn things around.

Twenty-three wins and a trip to the NIT semifinals in 2013-14 was enough for Radakovich to reach out to Brownell and talk contract extension after the season ended.

"It's very encouraging. Obviously, I'm very happy with their decision to come talk with me after the season we had," Brownell said on Wednesday, before the Greenville Prowl & Growl. "We've gone back and forth on a few things here for a while, but I feel like we're very close to getting this thing to where we want it to be.

"I'm ecstatic with the administration, president [Jim] Clements has been awesome, just so energetic and excited, a huge sports fan, a big basketball fan, him and his family.

"Obviously, Dan is great to work with. He's a visionary. He's got goals for the program, which is really exciting. Obviously, he's pushing the facility and I think he understands it's important that Clemson tries to be really good in both sports. He also understands it's not easy to do that in basketball and we've got to do some things to help the program. That's what you want as a head coach."

On the mend

The offseason injury wasn't quite ready to leave town. Starting center Landry Nnoko recently underwent surgery to repair a torn meniscus.

"A bigger tear than they originally thought, but the doctors did a great job, but it's just going to take time," Brownell said. "Like everything, we've just got to sit back and give him some time to heal. We'd love to get him back out on the court, but we know it's going to be some point in June."

Jaron Blossomgame continues to recover from the leg injury that forced him out of the final few games in the NIT. Same goes for Patrick Rooks, who sat out the entire year with a hip injury.

"The guys are just getting back the last day or two, so I really haven't sat down with either of them," Brownell said. "I think they're both progressing fine and will be able to do quite a bit here. I know they'll be able to do some shooting and some light work. How quickly they are to full speed, we'll see."

On Avry Holmes

How in the heck does a guy from Oregon who played his first two years of college basketball at the University of San Francisco end up at Clemson?

Brownell said the acquisition wasn't "quite as out of the blue as people would normally feel."

"He has some ties this way with high school coaches and we actually have had a relationship with them for the last year or two, in terms of recruiting other people," Brownell said. "They recently came to the area, so they've been to practices. They've been to games. They've seen us. They know our program. They thought this would be a good opportunity, a good place for Avry."

And Holmes' game was in line with the kind of player Brownell searches for while out on the recruiting trail.

"He's a guy that can play with a lot of different kinds of people, because he can shoot," Brownell said. "Obviously, we've got a senior in Rod Hall, who's had a terrific career. He's been a big leader and when we lose him, we just felt like we needed to add an older player that could help in the transition from Rod's departure."

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