At least at the beginning of the season, the backcourt might have to provide a big percentage of the offense. The Clemson Tigers return two of its top three scorers and three of the top six, and all are backcourt players.
However, there is one key piece that is not returning to the Tigers in the 2021-22 season, veteran guard Clyde Trapp. But even with that loss, head coach Brad Brownell is still extremely confident that his Tiger—who currently hold +4000 odds to win the ACC Championship according to FanDuel—will not miss a beat.
"Yeah, Clyde was a good player. He had a very nice senior year and was getting better and better," Brownell said. "Obviously had a major injury his junior year that he had to play with, torn ACL, but we do have experienced guards."
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Al-Amir Dawes is the top returning scorer from last year off of his 9.0 points per game scoring average. He shot a much improved 39.4 percent from beyond the arc and added a 74.2 free throw percentage. He had a positive assist to turnover ratio in averaging 25.5 minutes per game.
Nick Honor started 10 of the 24 games, but averaged 23 minutes per game. He made the clutch shot of the season at the buzzer in a 74-72 win over Georgia Tech in February. He was third on the team in scoring last year with an 8.1 average and led the team in steals with 32. His 53-24 assist to turnover ratio was the best on the team and his one turnover for every 23.3 minutes was among the best for guards in the ACC.
"Nick Honor and Al-Amir Dawes have both made big shots for us, they both hit game-winning shots. They both have been starters," Brownell continued. "They both have played a lot of minutes. We played them together some last year. We may start them this year, I don't know, we'll see. Alex Hemenway is an experienced guy that started a few games and can really shoot the ball. Our experience lies in our backcourt in terms of guys that played.
"Certainly Clyde is different because he was a bigger wing that really rebounded the ball defensively and took care of the ball, was a really good passer. We tried to address some of that with David Collins, a grad transfer from South Florida who's 6'4" and 215 and a big strong wing, so we felt like he would help us a little bit in that area. Again, we had a really good year last year. Went to the tournament, and a lot of it was because of the Aamir Simms and Clyde and Jonathan Baehre, our three seniors. Those three guys are going to be missed, but that opens up opportunities for other guys, and we're hopeful that those guys are ready to take a big step."