I was having a conversation a few days past, with a much wiser man regarding the many issues facing Clemson Basketball. Sure, the obvious issues were discussed and after a lifetime of unpleasant answer’s to the why’s, I’ve become tainted to just accept anything about the ills of Tiger Basketball. Then he said something very interesting.
He surmised, for Clemson Basketball, the portal has proven to be a lifeline, adding depth, numbers to replace the unusual number of players leaving Brad Brownell’s program. It has been a life saver for sure but even life saving has hidden, unforeseen and unintended consequences.
A few of those consequences are there in plain sight, a lack of team cohesion and much needed chemistry. It’s most probably one of the main issues leading to this team’s often, ugly, second half disintegrations. Truth is, they haven’t spent much time with their teammates and really don’t know who they are as a team. In those moments, maybe then is when the ugly side of using transfers tends to show up.
It makes me think of all the criticism that surrounds Dabo Swinney’s non-use of the portal, up until now. I’m not completely oblivious to the fact, it’s impossible comparing basketball’s portal usage to football’s non-usage. It’s like comparing apples to oranges and I get it but there is one point that is interesting.
In a small and not so obvious way, the issues of lack of cohesion and chemistry that seems to be felt at times in Littlejohn sort of proves some of Swinney’s concerns about the portal changing, even slightly, the balance of the culture he has created.
There isn’t criticism intended towards either Swinney or Brownell, they are each swimming in completely different waters. It merely provides a visual of the issues programs face in their usage or non-usage of all the relatively new situations presented by the transfer portal.
Honestly, I believe there will come a time when the portal will provide specific needs for specific circumstances for Swinney. It takes time to adjust. Like, in college basketball, the selfish, “one and done” rule.
While working for some programs, making the decision to place one player of more importance than the team, it has taken its toll on others and a team’s long term success. The portal becomes a lifeline for a programs survival, especially mid-tier programs like Clemson. Meaning every circumstance is different, unique.
It’s just so interesting to see the situation so perfectly juxtaposed, offering both the positives and negatives in the realities of using the transfer portal on full display. I trust both programs will use every opportunity to enhance their team’s success. It’s what winners do and regardless of the numbers of wins and losses, both sets of Tigers will continue to bring pride to the Clemson Family.
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