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Clemson to lean on ex-DWS star Young next year

Photo by Danny Aller

Photo by Danny Aller

CLEMSON, S.C. -- Oliver Purnell sat comfortably Friday as he discussed Clemson's recently ended basketball season, almost wanting to keep the landmark year alive.

"Let's not leave yet," Purnell joked near the end of his 40-minute session.

Purnell could be right to linger on 2010, despite three straight losses -- including first-round defeats in the Atlantic Coast Conference and NCAA Tournaments. When the Tigers reconvene next season, it'll be without Trevor Booker, the team's do-everything star the past few years.

And that only means one thing: Other players, like former Deerfielfd-Windsor star Andre Young, will have to step up.

Purnell, for one, has confidence Young will rise to the challenge.

Purnell said Friday he thought Young was perhaps Clemson's most improved player this year. The Albany native topped the team with 54 steals and 60 3-pointers, giving the Tigers a reliable outside threat after Terrence Oglesby -- 2009's top outside threat -- decided to leave for a pro career overseas after his sophomore season.

Booker and senior David Potter leave with a school record 93 wins the past four seasons. It was also Clemson's fourth consecutive season of 20 or more wins -- another program first.

But Purnel is 0-6 all-time in NCAA play at three schools.

Should the Tigers reach their fourth consecutive NCAA tournament -- something the school's never accomplished -- it will be a different looking team that does it.

They'll still be a Booker, although it will be Trevor's less polished, still developing little brother in Devin.

"We've got a lot of guys back from teams that won a lot of games," Purnell said. "We've got a lot to look forward to."