Tigers Will Miss Stitt During Recovery

By Josh Herwitt - January 31, 2008

After watching his team suffer a tough three-point loss to Miami last weekend in Coral Gables, Fla., Oliver Purnell is hoping that his team can get back to its winning ways liked it showed during the first 10 games of the season.

But the Clemson coach won't have his point guard to do it with. In fact, he won't have his freshman floor leader for more than just Saturday's game at Littlejohn Coliseum against Boston College.

After tearing cartilage in his knee during practice Wednesday, Demontez Stitt will now miss at least two weeks in undergoing arthroscopic surgery today.

But while Stitt's leadership in the backcourt will be sorely missed during his temporary absence, his 80 percent shooting from the foul line is also a big loss for the Tigers in trying to close out conference games at home and on the road.

"Obviously, this is a big loss for us," Purnell said, "but thankfully only for a short period of time. This means everyone now has to hitch up their belt so that as a team we can make up for his absence."

However, the Tigers, who hold a 15-5 overall record and currently sit 3-3 in the ACC, have been banged up for much of the 2007-08 campaign.

Senior forward James Mays has played with a broken left hand since early January and is also still recovering from a hip injury that forced him to miss five games earlier in the season.

And this past Sunday in the loss to the Hurricanes, sophomore forward Trevor Booker, Clemson's second-leading scorer and rebounder, sprained his ankle and is now listed as questionable for Saturday's game against the Eagles.

So with Stitt, who had started all 20 games and averaged 8.9 points and 3.1 assists for Clemson, out for the time being, Purnell has opted to use senior Cliff Hammonds, the Tigers' best scorer, at the point and K.C. Rivers at the two-guard spot while forward Sam Perry will entire the starting lineup for the first time this season.

Terrence Oglesby, Clemson's three-point sharpshooter, could also see some minutes at the point guard slot and it's even possible that reserve forward Raymond Sykes could get his seventh start of the year if Booker is unable to go this weekend.

Posted by Josh Herwitt at 07:02 PM on January 31, 2008

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