PJ Hall is the clear-best player for Clemson Basketball. But with him out to start next season, do the Tigers have any hope of succeeding?
One of the breakout players in the ACC last season was PJ Hall, a 6’10 forward and former top-100 recruit out of high school that averaged just a few points a game in 10 mpg as a freshman for Clemson Basketball before having a big sophomore campaign.
Hall led the Tigers with 15.5 ppg, while adding 5.8 rpg and 1.6 apg. His 22 points against Wofford in the second game of the season set the stage for him to be a consistently good frontcourt scorer throughout the year. He was in double figures for all but one game that he played more than one minute and had four double-doubles and a career-high of 28 points on 12/13 shooting from the free throw line in a loss to Florida State.
Hall, along with starting forward Hunter Tyson (10.0 ppg in 25 games) was one of the better frontcourts in the ACC last season. And with a solid trio of backcourt guards (Al-Amir Dawes, David Collins, Nick Honor), the team should’ve done better than its 17-16 (8-12) overall record in 2022. But after losing all three guards, the roster has some questions, and that was even before the recent injury to Hall.
For any basketball player dealing with a knee injury, it should always be considered a serious concern. The good news is that it’s not a “season-ender” and Hall is set to return sometime in November. With the season starting on the 7th, it’s likely that he’ll be out for at least the first few games.
And that could put Clemson in a tough spot for next season. That leaves Tyson as the lone remaining double-digit scorer and the team didn’t add much from the transfer portal this offseason, with former Boston College guard Brevin Galloway as the lone newcomers. There’s going to be a lot of pressure on redshirt freshman Joshua Beadle, three-star freshman Dillon Hunter and returning role players, Chase Hunter and Alex Hemenway to become impact players for Clemson.
They’ll have to find ways to find offense while Hall is back and even when he does return, may take a while before being 100%, which could be by the new calendar year. If Clemson Basketball suffers too many bad losses before then, could already be out of the running for a postseason bid. And that may be a huge problem for Coach Brad Brownell and his future with the program.