Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Basketball Previews: Meet Dennis Clifford

Steve Donahue said that when he first saw Dennis Clifford, he thought to himself: "he could be a really good Ivy League player." When you are the coach at Cornell that's a great endorsement. When you are the coach at BC, that's the ultimate backhanded compliment. Yet here we are, weeks away from the season and all everyone is talking about is Dennis Clifford. It could be that Donahue's first official BC recruit might turn out to be the biggest surprise. Clifford might turn out to be a really good ACC player. But before we get too far ahead, let's look at where he came from and where he might go.

One of the reasons Clifford didn't generate much high level interest was his level of competition. He played at Milton Academy and AAU ball with the Bay State Magic.

But you cannot teach nor hide height. He is a legitimate 7-footer. That was going to get attention eventually. Clifford is also a decent shooter and has good post moves.

Since Donahue's megaclass hit campus all the talk has been about Clifford. People have been surprised by his agility and how well he moves for a 7-footer. His skill set is stronger than expected. He can play inside and move outside to knock down shots.

But we've heard about plenty of Power Gym superstars before. Clifford is still raw and still untested against elite ACC bigmen. Even if he becomes a good ACC player, he won't be one in three weeks. He'll still be a tall, developing freshman.

The future
I expect Clifford to have an uneven freshman year. He'll have huge defensive assignments and if he shows any offensive skills, he will certainly be the other team's focus.

BC and Donahue obviously have faith in Clifford. They brought him to the ACC media day. We also don't have many bigs so he's going to get serious minutes this year. Who knows if he'll ever be more than a good ivy league player, but it should be fun to watch him develop.


EL MIZ said...

awesome. really looking forward to this series and learning about the new players. i am excited about this class -- clifford, anderson, daniels, the oregon transfer, and the german are who i am most excited about.

can't wait for basketball to start so we can shift attention away from the sinking ship over in alumni.

Erik said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Erik said...

I gotta say, despite how it might go against any anti-GDF unified front we're promoting these days, I love Steve Donahue. I think he'll get us to great places and he's been near perfect in all his actions off the court.

Secondly, the "Power Gym All-Stars" is a great discussion idea. Could even be a nice dedicated post here if you're willing to post something that is somewhat negative -- does the comedy outweigh the negativity? Certainly we could nominate Andrew Bryant, Tyler Roche, Marquez Haynes. It's a fun idea with a solid name!

Calvin L. said...

I'm getting psyched for this season. Looking forward to reading more of your player profiles and finally seeing these guys play. Heard great things about Heckmann as well.

Rob said...

Considering Clifford was playing in the same league as Murphy (Duke) and Kaleb T. (Kansas), the overlooked meme is ridiculous.

The guy talks a very good game about hard work, there was an interview with him last year where he talked about various speed and agility work he was doing to get better, I think this is a great sign for the guy. And he matched up well against Kaleb T. last year, so here's hoping we got a steal.

Big Jack Krack said...

When was the last time, if ever, that we started out with a brand new team in basketball?

Zero recruits by Al Skinner a couple of years ago - wow.

It will be fun watching these guys grow together. Every win will be a bonus, especially in the league. Unlike football, however, it looks as though there is a plan for the future and 2 or 3 years from now we will not be listening to any boo hoo excuses.

Greg said...

Big Jack nailed it. Even if the Bball team struggles this year, I think we all are excited about the future. I will watch every game even if we struggle because of the coach and what he is working towards.

Football is the exact opposite. Watching it is painful because we are going in the wrong direction. What are we building towards? What is the plan? There is no enthusiasm from Spaz, there seems to be no drive towards the future. So frustrating. I feel so bad for the players.

JBQ said...

I didn't know that the football season was over already. I'll Have to recheck my calendar!

Scott said...

Without question, the team will stink this year. That doesn't matter. Every year we see the mid-majors knock off star-studded Big10/ACC/BigEast teams because they can pass, shoot the 3, and play team D. The 3-pointer & zone defense are the great equalizers in college hoops. if these guys have Euro-skill and develop together, they should be a force after playing together for 3 years.