Clemson Basketball: Yearly War of Words Begins

As sure as the sun rises in the east and sets in the west, Clemson Basketball is terminally inconsistent. Ironically, it’s the only constant that exists within the program.

Even the most buoyant fan, after 11 seasons of the mediocrity, asks questions, express opinions and quite honestly share frustrations, and commiserate. It’s the only thing that can be done.

After getting stymied by Notre Dame Wednesday evening, even the staunchest Tiger Basketball Fan starts to get that queasy, gnawing feeling in their stomach. Then, invariably some speculate on the abilities of the current head coach and wonder if he can ever get it done at Clemson. Then, someone retorts, ‘if you can coach better, apply for the job.’ It’s a yearly, nasty conversation.

I ask, is it really time to think someone else should apply for job? Through a sarcastic, snarky conversation one wonders, is it reasonable to see a different leader of this program? The simple truth is this, probably not. There is a time for everything and that time may have already passed, a point of no return for Clemson Basketball under Brad Brownell. There is precedent for such a relationship between Clemson and Brownell.

One example is Leonard Hamilton at Florida State. He’s been in Tallahassee almost 20 years and it took him over a decade to build the program into a consistent winner.

Two more examples, Jeff Monken at Army and Ken Niumatalolo at Navy. Yes, different circumstances with theses being service academies but there is a recognition that these two men have dedicated a large portion of their careers serving the young men they coach.

I believe after 11 years, regardless of records, so has Brownell. In a world where the only thing that matters is the final score, something must matter. Integrity. That word isn’t one familiar with all programs, it’s viewed as a dying virtue. It’s what happens when no one is watching and in these days of no governance of college athletics, no one really is watching.

No, I’m not saying Clemson Basketball should be the sacrificial lamb for integrities sake but there are a plethora of other reasons, (some might say excuses) why the fate of the program is mediocrity.

First, we spend a pittance compared to most other programs in the ACC. It’s called a priority of resources. With the ACC being an unapologetic basketball centric conference and Clemson an unapologetic football centric institution, therein lies the problem. The incongruity of that situation is the reality of Clemson’s Basketball.

It is my belief that this article will be roasted as a surrender, as some will read hyperbole between its lines but in all truth, it’s meant as the truth as I see it. Just try for a moment to place yourself in the position of Brownell, PJ Hall, Nick Honor and all of the players and realize like they do, this is about where the state of Clemson Basketball exists today and always will. How would you feel facing such a reality?

So, if you sarcastically, exasperatedly asks a fellow fan that dares question the play, “if you can coach any better, apply for the job?” First, there is no available position on the basketball staff. Secondly, accepting, not resigning, the Tigers’ place in the scheme of things might make for less disharmony and bitter sarcasm amongst this teams greatest assets, it’s fans.

Without even a hint of sarcasm, I believe the Clemson Basketball program, operating as best they can, is deserving of respect and appreciation. Last thought, if we continue to invest in and support Brownell and staff, it might just be the best course. One day, who knows, this team might accomplish the seemingly impossible.

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