CLEMSON BASKETBALL GOES 6-0 IN NAPLES, WINS GOLD MEDAL FOR UNITED STATES
- 2019-07-13 19:17:55
Brad Brownell and Clemson Basketball represented the United States at the World University Games in Naples, Italy over the last week and a half, and the Tigers brought home the gold medal. The United States had to settle for silver at the last games in 2017. The Tigers dominated their Ukrainian opponents 85-63 in the Gold Medal Game after beating the same team 58-57 in their second game of the tournament during pool play. The Tigers were a perfect 6-0 in the tournament and won 4 games by 4 points or less. That must have been refreshing for Brad Brownell and his group of new faces after a number of devastating last-second losses last season that kept them out of the NCAA Tournament.
John Newman scored a career-high 20 points in the Gold Medal Game to lead all scorers, and that bodes well for the rising sophomore's confidence. Aamir Simms, who is now the unquestioned leader of the team as the only returning starter, scored 12 and had a great tournament as well, including a monster 27-point, 16-rebound performance in the 2-point Semifinal win over Israel. Trey Jemison, the Tigers' tallest player at 7 feet, showed improvement with 11 points in limited playing time in the Gold Medal Game. Brownell's 4 new transfer players--Mack, Scott, Honor and Moore--saw significant playing time with returning guard Clyde Trapp out with a torn ACL he suffered just before the tournament. All showed flashes of potential, but only graduates Mack and Scott will play next season due to transfer rules. Honor was 9-22 (41%) from beyond the arc. The Tigers shot reasonably well from 3-point range despite the longer international distance, which will be adopted by the NCAA next season. They were a bit streaky, however. Freshman guard Al-Amir Dawes from New Jersey went 4-5 in one game, for example, but 0-4 in another.
The take-away from the trip is that it was a smashing success and should build much chemistry and confidence for a team that lost 4 starters from last season. The coaches and players often talked about how integral the trip to Spain 2 years ago was to their Sweet 16 season, and that trip didn't involve the element of competition and winning a gold medal for kin and country.
The team returns to campus Saturday evening, and I'll have interviews with Brownell and Simms for you, so stay tuned!
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