Brownell's Tigers Feeling Confident After History Making Wins
For Brad Brownell and the Clemson Basketball team, it has been a fairly exciting ride over the past 10 days.
The team had lost six of their previous seven before downing the Wolfpack at home in a game they controlled throughout.
A week later, they went into Chapel Hill and snapped one of the more dubious losing streaks in all of sports, with a 79-76 overtime win over North Carolina. Then on Tuesday night, they knocked off third-ranked Duke 79-72.
Clemson hadn't beaten NC State, UNC, and Duke in consecutive games since the late 1960's. They hadn't beaten UNC and Duke in back to back games since 1990.
To say it has been a great ten day stretch would be to wildly undersell it.
The win over the Tarheels ended an infamous 59 game losing streak in Chapel Hill, and was the team's third straight win over a Tobacco Road school.
Not only did it lift a two-ton monkey off of the programs back, it gave Brownell's team a much needed shot of confidence, and at just the right time.
“We came back from Christmas with good attitudes," Brownell said after the win over Duke, "and these kids have done a remarkable job coming back with a great work attitude and ready to go."
Since the calendar turned to January, Aamir Simms game has risen to new heights.
Simms leads the team in scoring with 14.6 points per game, and when his team has needed him of late, he has delivered.
This was especially true against UNC, as he basically put the team on his back late in that game, and carried them to a win.
"He’s (Aamir Simms) getting better," Brownell said, "and more confident as we move throughout the season. He didn’t have the best start to the season, but the last few games he has really come on for us.”
Texas A&M transfer Tevin Mack has also picked up his play over the last couple of games.
After a good start to the season, Mack had a long stretch of up and down performances and inconsistent play. Tuesday night against Duke, fans got a glimpse of how well this team can play when Mack and Simms are both feeling it simultaneously.
“Our guys did a lot of great things throughout the game," Brownell said. "Offensively, defensively, the confidence, the playmaking at the end, Aamir (Simms) and Tevin (Mack) were terrific."
One more piece of history was made on Tuesday night as well.
With the win over Duke, Brad Brownell now has 178 career wins as head coach of the Tigers, more than any other coach in school history.
“I’m honored to be the winningest coach at Clemson," Brownell said, "but that’s the result of a lot of hard work from a lot of people. I’ve coached a lot of great players here, kids that have given a lot to our program and have had some terrific assistant coaches that have worked with me. It’s more of a program deal than me, but what I’m excited about is that I’ve been at Clemson for 10 years."
Over his tenure at Clemson, fans have had somewhat of a "love/hate" relationship with the Tigers head coach. Regardless of how anyone feels about him however, there is no questioning his love for, and loyalty to the school.
"I enjoy it here." Brownell said. "My girls go to school here, I love Clemson. I love being a head coach here and competing in the ACC. I’m very, very grateful for that and humbled because there have been a lot of really good coaches that have coached here. To be here as long as I have and to compete in this league, that’s something I’m really proud of.”