Jan 4

OK OP, Whatcha Got?

Posted By:Brett Haynes - Greenville, SC  Tags:

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I feel like I am going to have to defend myself throughout this entire little write-up here, but so be it. And before you read this, please understand that I like Oliver Purnell as Clemson's basketball coach. But, at some point, when do we stop basing Purnell's success on the lack of success that his predecessor brought (or did not bring) to Tiger Town? Purnell is very good at turning programs around, but has he reached the top of his game at Clemson?

Please also understand that this article was not written with a flaming hot set of fingers, ticked off at the big loss to Duke on the road Sunday night. Losses to Duke in Cameron are almost expected, so this has nothing to do with that. After all, Purnell's Tigers had beaten the Devils in the previous two meetings, so props to him there.

I simply want to bring up a question here, so for all you "OP's Posse" people out there, just please read my points before jumping out and saying, "yeah, but look where we were under Larry Shyatt!"

You see, that is the whole point of this article: Are we, as Tiger fans (and hoops fans, in general) basing OP's success on the lack of success by Shyatt?

Purnell is a class guy. He is smart, he dresses very well, and he represents Clemson in a first-class way in nearly everything that he does. His players stay out of trouble, and his teams play hard. There is a lot of very good stuff to say about this man.

And as far as turning Clemson basketball around, he has certainly done that. But that is where I wonder if Purnell has done his job, and will now level off, never reaching Final Four caliber material. If we are happy with a team that finishes third in the ACC every year, and bows out in the first round of the NCAA tournament annually, then yes, we are in great shape.

And that is not a bad thing. Finishing 3rd or 4th in the best basketball league in the country isn't all that bad. It gets you into the Big Dance, and the fun there is whatever you make of it. But, unfortunately for Purnell, that is, indeed, where the fun has stopped. Oliver Purnell has never won a NCAA tournament game - not at Radford, not at Old Dominion, not at Dayton, not at Clemson (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Oliver_Purnell).

Number of NCAA tourney wins by year at Clemson:

2003-04: 0

2004-05: 0

2005-06: 0

2006-07: 0

2007-08: 0

2008-09: 0

2009-10: ?

Again, I am not bashing this man, or calling for a new basketball coach. All I am saying is that maybe we need to quit thinking Purnell hung the moon. All we are doing is showing just how much of a non-hoops school we are when we do that. Remember, a certain Mr. Rick Barnes took over a mediocre program and had Clemson in the Sweet-16 in two years back in the 90's.

In conclusion I will say this: I like you, OP, I really do. But I am ready for you to take us deep into the tournament at some point. This current Tiger team is not your best of the last six years, so it will take an outstanding coaching effort to get this done. Good luck OP, as a diehard Tiger fan, I am supporting you.

Please discuss here: http://www.fans25.com/discuss-thread.cfm?dt=2409&postStatus=successful&CFID=6486723&CFTOKEN=69845411

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