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Clemson Basketball: The 2020 Recruiting Class

Brad Brownell's 2020 recruiting class was his best to date at Clemson, but still ranked only ninth best in the ACC. Can PJ Hall, the Gatorade High School Player of the Year in South Carolina, come in and help the Tigers get over the hump, and to the NCAA Tournament.
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During his decade long tenure at Clemson, head coach Brad Brownell has never had the reputation of an elite recruiter. Justified or not, it is an area that most fans would say he could improve in.   

At times, he has been criticized for relying too heavily on the transfer market, despite the fact that many of the schools not considered a blue-blood, choose to go the same route when trying to attract players.

Over the past few years, however, Brownell has slowly started to change that narrative. He just missed on highly touted prospects Zion Williamson in 2018 and Josiah James in 2019.

Both were the top prospects in the state of South Carolina in their respective classes, while Williamson was the top overall player in the country.

Despite missing on James in 2019, Clemson was still able to go out and land a top-100 player in Al-Amir Dawes and a top-150 player in Chase Hunter, helping to give Brownell his best class to date. The class, which also included three-point specialist Alex Hemenway, ranked 43rd overall nationally.

After being unsuccessful in his previous two attempts to land the state's top player, Brownell finally got his man in 2020. The Tigers were able to lock up P.J. Hall out of Dorman High School, giving the program a solid building block for the next few seasons.

The 6-foot-10, 235-pound forward was South Carolina's Gatorade Player of the Year, and 247 Sports has him ranked as the 55th best player overall and ninth-best power forward in the nation. He is the cornerstone of a two-man class that ranked 42nd overall, which is now Brownell's best yet. 

Hall is the third-best basketball recruit of all-time at Clemson, according to 247 Sports, and has the ability to come in and make an immediate impact as a freshman. He is highly skilled on the offensive end and has the versatility to give you points in the paint or step back and hit the three-pointer. 

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No. 5 Clemson proved its capable of winning games in different ways in different situations, can match a physical opponent and is clearly the class of the ACC Atlantic.

Brownell has never been keen on having to rely on freshmen in the past, but Hall has the physical tools to be a solid big man in the ACC, sooner rather than later. He should at a minimum see solid minutes in a reserve role next season, and it wouldn't be shocking to see him earn a starting role at some point. 

The second player the Tigers were able to land was Olivier-Maxence Prosper, a 6-8, 200-pound power forward that spent last season at the NBA's Latin American Academy in Mexico. Originally a part of the 2021 class, Prosper reclassified in order to be able to go to college a year sooner. 

According to 247 Sports, he's rated 94th overall and the 17th best power forward in the country. He's the top player coming out of Mexico.  

How much Prosper can contribute as a freshman remains to be seen. Before spending last year in Mexico, he was playing in Canada. He will likely need a season to add some bulk and acclimate to the college game. 

How much these two will be depended on next season mostly on rides on whether Aamir Simms returns for his senior season and the health of Jonathan Baehre. 

The best-case scenario is that both Simms and Baehre are back, giving Brownell the ability to bring the two freshmen along at the desired pace. If not, one or both could find themselves in the same position Dawes was in last season, having to quickly grow up on the court, something that isn't generally ideal for freshmen playing in the ACC.

The hope is Brownell can keep up the recent momentum on the recruiting trail, and once again, sign another class that was better than his last.