By Brad Senkiw
With no bid from the NCAA Tournament or NIT presented to Clemson men’s basketball on Selection Sunday, the 2021-22 season officially ended for the Tigers.
That wraps up a campaign that will be remembered for the ascension of P.J. Hall in the college game but also a brutal ACC Tournament loss that ended the postseason.
Clemson finished 17-16 overall, just making sure it recorded a winning record with last week’s victory over NC State, and the Tigers went 8-12 in ACC play, which landed them in 10th place in the conference standings. It marked just the third time in the Brad Brownell era they had a double-digit seed in the ACC tourney.
That’s where eventual champion Virginia Tech hit a buzzer-beating 3-pointer to edge Clemson 76-75 in overtime last Wednesday.
It also ended the Tigers’ five-game winning streak, which included a victory over the Hokies in the regular-season finale. During that late-season run, Clemson won three consecutive games without Hall, who led them in scoring and received All-ACC honorable mention.
“I think our team has improved a lot throughout the course of the season,” Brownell said after his 12th season with the team coming to a close in Brooklyn, New York. “We developed different guys while P.J. and Hunter (Tyson) were out.”
Tyson, a senior starter who averaged 10 points per game, missed nine games with a broken collarbone but miraculously returned before the end of the regular season.
Hall dealt with a foot injury most of the year, yet the sophomore forward still averaged 15.5 points per game, which was 10th-best in the ACC. He also grabbed 5.8 rebounds per contest and ranked seventh in the league in field-goal percentage (.493).
Hall became the focal point of the offense and gives the Tigers a bright future, despite the ability to truly develop through practice most of the season.
Clemson also got help this year from transfers Naz Bohannon and David Collins. The two graduated seniors provided experience and depth. Collins averaged 10.3 points per game led the team in rebounding while Bohannon served as the sixth man.
“Assimilating Naz and David into our team and putting them in positions I think to be successful, the longer they’ve been with us the better they’ve played,” Brownell said.
Veteran guard Al-Amir Dawes drilled 84 of the team’s 256 3-pointers while shooting 41 percent from the field.
Chase Hunter developed more than any other player on the roster during the course of the season. The redshirt sophomore guard only reached double digits in scoring once in Clemson’s first 17 games but went on to hit that mark nine times in the final 16 contests.
The Tigers also got contributions from guards Nick Honor and Alex Hemenway while freshmen big men Ian Schiefflein and Ben Middlebrooks developed as the season went along and became valuable players.
“It’s been a fun group to coach and these guys have worked really hard,” Brownell said. “As a coach that’s what you want, a group of guys that give you everything they have and are coachable and improve. I think our team did that this year.”
Now the Tigers turn their attention to the 2022-23 season. With Hall’s emergence as one of the best big men in the country and Hunter’s offensive development, expectations for next year rise.