Clemson men's basketball coach Brad Brownell responded Friday to a statement of support from his boss, athletic director Dan Radakovich.
“I think there is very good energy in our program. We understand it’s frustrating to fans, players and administrators when we’ve lost some of these close games,” Brownell said. “We’re not going to make the NCAA tournament, but I don’t think it means that we don’t have a healthy program and that we’re not doing good things. I think and I’m hopeful that Dan recognizes that. And I think our administration recognizes that on campus.”
Clemson (17-15) hasn’t been to the NCAA tournament since 2011, Brownell’s first year with the program, but the seventh-year coach feels positive moving forward. The Tigers were hoping to end that streak this season, but 11 of their losses come by six points or less, and eight of the 12 ACC losses were by five or less.
Brownell doesn't expect to hear his team's name during the NCAA selection show, but he does believe the Tigers will earn an NIT bid for the first time since 2014, when they made it to the semifinals in New York.
“It’s crazy but two of three of those losses go our way, we’re probably an NCAA tournament team,” Brownell said. “But they didn’t. I do think, though, that they see that the program is healthy, players, recruiting is going well. We have new facilities to help all of those aspects.”
Brownell said he hasn’t had a conversation with Radakovich since returning from New York, but the two have talked frequently throughout the season.
“It’s been a very difficult season, no doubt,” Radakovich said Wednesday in New York during the tournament. “But this team continues to compete at a high level in a very difficult league. Brad and I will sit down and talk about things in the program like we do every year, but certainly the way we’re looking at it right now is to continue to work with Brad here at Clemson.”
Brad Senkiw, Anderson Independent-Mail