David Skara is officially returning to Clemson for his senior year. It was announced early Wednesday morning just as classes are getting started in Tiger Town.
Clemson is coming off of a tremendous 2017 season where they finished with a 25-10 overall record (11-7 in ACC) and made it to the Sweet Sixteen of the NCAA Tournament — ultimately losing to the Kansas Jayhawks.
Last season, Skara was suspended for the first nine games but made his defensive prowess and acumen known quickly in his return to the court.
Skara played in 26 games last year, making seven starts and averaging 19.3 minutes per game, 3.3 points per game and 2.8 assists per game. His offensive ability was hesitant much of the year but he did start to provide more down the stretch.
Clemson now has five players returning who started in some capacity on last years team to go along with a really good transfer in Javan White, three skilled freshman from their most recent recruiting class, and a bench that has seen a favorable amount of playing time.
The loss of Donte Grantham, Gabe Devoe and Mark Donnal will be evident at first but there is enough experienced talent on this team to potentially be even better than the Sweet Sixteen team of 2017.
Clemson has 1,668 points (64.5%) of last year’s scoring offense returning as well as 330 assists (71.3%). Marcquise Reed and Shelton Mitchell are responsible for 235 (71%) of the returning assists.
Leading rebounder, Elijah Thomas (283 total rebounds), will also be back for Brad Brownell and company. Accompanying him is Aamir Simms, an upcoming sophomore with tremendous build and potential.
Other players that will be back are Clyde Trapp, Anthony Oliver, Malik William and crowd-favorite Lyles Davis.
The new players to the team include Jonathan Baehre (6-10, 190; Forward), Hunter Tyson (6-7, 190; Forward), Parker Fox (6-6, 185; Guard), John Newman (6-5, 180; Guard), Trey Jemison (6-11, 245; Center) and the transfer from Oral Roberts, Javan White (6-10, 230; Forward).
To my way of thinking, the Tigers are a clear-cut contender for the ACC title and potentially a Final Four spot in the NCAA Tournament. Talent at guard, experienced depth, free throw efficiency and camaraderie.
Injuries and/or suspensions can derail anything and change the course of any team -- but Clemson is capable of making ‘national noise’ in a lot more than just football in 2018.
2018 Out-of-Conference Schedule:
11/6 - vs Citadel
11/9 - vs North Carolina Central
11/14 - vs Sam Houston State
11/19 - @ Akron
11/26 - vs Nebraska (ACC/B1G Challenge)
12/4 - vs St. Peters
12/8 - vs Mississippi St (Never Forget Tribute Classic | Prudential Center in Newark, NJ)
12/15 - vs Radford
12/18 - vs Charleston Southern
12/22 - @ South Carolina
12/30 - vs Lipscomb
2018 ACC Opponents (time & dates TBD):
HOME/ROAD: Florida State, Georgia Tech, Pittsburgh, Syracuse
HOME: Boston College, North Carolina, Virginia, Virginia Tech, Wake Forest
AWAY: Duke, Louisville, Miami, Notre Dame, NC State