Clemson is off to its best start in the Brad Brownell era at 16-4 (5-3) and is ranked No. 18 heading into Sunday’s game at Georgia Tech.
Tigers Director of Athletics Dan Radakovich is proud of the progress Brownell’s team has made so far this season but will wait until the year is over before readdressing Brownell’s contract situation.
Brownell, who is in his eighth season at Clemson, signed an extension through 2021 last April.
But while Brownell received a contract extension, his buyout number was lowered in the new deal. His buyout dropped from $3 million in the previous contract to $1.7 million following this season, $850,000 following 2019 and $425,000 following 2020.
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“We normally have all of that (contract) stuff at the end of the year,” Radakovich said. “Certainly, as I said, we’re incredibly excited and happy about where our basketball team is right now. Brad and his staff have done a really good job.”
Clemson’s previous best start under Brownell came when the Tigers went 14-6 during the 2010-11 season, Brownell’s first at Clemson.
The Tigers are No. 6 in the RPI and are projected to be a No. 2 or No. 3 seed in the NCAA Tournament by most national outlets. Clemson has not reached the NCAA Tournament since 2011.
“We’re very, very happy with the job that he’s done up until now, and I’m sure we have some great things ahead of us, because this team really plays well together, they like one another, they take coaching, and our fan base has gotten very excited about it, so looking for good things ahead,” Radakovich said.
Making Clemson’s start to the 2017-18 season even more impressive is the way last year ended.
The Tigers finished 6-12 in ACC play before blowing a 19-point halftime lead at Littlejohn Coliseum against Oakland in the NIT.
“I think that last year we played a really poor half of basketball in our last half of basketball for the year. And the last thing you do is, probably, what people see,” Radakovich said. “But as I sat and talked with Brad, we kind of went through the whole year, there were so many games last year that were down to the last possession, and on a team that was quite young and getting to know one another.”
Clemson suffered 12 of its 16 losses by six points or less and dropped six games either in overtime or by one or two points.
The Tigers returned the majority of their production for this season, other than Jaron Blossomgame, and the now veteran group has done a nice job of finding ways to win close games this year.
“I looked at last year very different than maybe a lot of other people did. That’s why I was very bullish on Brad coming back and having an opportunity to continue to work with this team,” Radakovich said. “They had a foreign tour in August, which is usually a harbinger of trying to get people together and making them know and understand each other’s roles. I think that trip certainly accomplished that, and we’re seeing the fruits of that trip right now.”