Taking Stock of Jaron Blossomgame’s Senior SeasonPosted by Charlie Maikis on March 6th, 2017
Jaron Blossomgame entered this season with sky-high expectations. After winning the ACC Most Improved Player award a year ago, the senior forward was selected to the preseason All-ACC First Team. And while his statistical output was very similar to last season, Clemson’s disappointing performance in a league full of stars assuredly hurt him given an All-ACC Third Team placement in the postseason awards. Was returning to school a good idea for the senior forward? Let’s take a deeper look at Blossomgame’s performance this season to find out.
Across the board, his numbers in scoring, rebounding and assists are slightly down, and his overall efficiency has suffered as a result. The primary reason for this decrease is related to his shooting ability. According to Hoop-Math, Blossomgame’s field goal percentage on shots at the rim improved this season by 6.3 percent. His field goal percentage on other shots inside the arc increased by 2.0 percent. For a player whose game is generally predicated on athleticism and conversions at the rim, those are good signs. The problem area, however, has come on Blossomgame’s perimeter game. Strangely, a player who converted 44.1 percent of his three-point attempts a season ago has regressed to 26.4 percent this year. Perhaps this should be unsurprising given that he was a 24.8 percent long-range shooter during his first two years of college, but for someone who shot so well to drop so precipitously is suggestive that his norm is much closer to the 32.2 percent he has converted in his career.
Barring a miraculous ACC Tournament run, Clemson is not going to make the NCAA Tournament. Much has been written about the Tigers’ failure to win close games this season, but it will be up to NBA scouts to determine whether Blossomgame should have been getting the ball in positions to succeed more often than he did at the end of those games. In Clemson’s loss last weekend to Florida State, Blossomgame didn’t take a shot in the final four minutes of the game, and the Tigers lost by a mere two points. In the very next game against NC State, he closed out the win with six points (a three-pointer and three free throws) in the final minute-plus. Whether the senior can be considered clutch depends on factors often beyond his control, but he will have an opportunity to prove himself one final time starting tomorrow against NC State. After a very disappointing basketball season at Clemson, let’s hope that he takes advantage and creates a senior swan song where he can leave the college game on a high note.