CLEMSON — Perhaps the confidence, the toughness of Adonis Filer are tied to geography: his growing up on the south side of Chicago.

“(Toughness) is a thing a lot of guards, a lot of people have from Chicago,” Filer said. “I guess they play with a chip on their shoulder.”

Filer certainly plays with rare confidence for a freshman. The 6-3 combo guard has already become an important part of Clemson coach Brad Brownell’s rotation, averaging 21 minutes per game, which is fifth on the team. His 7.6 pointer per game is fourth. The college game has not been too big, too fast for Filer.

The Tigers (5-2) need his toughness as they prepare to host No. 8 Arizona (6-0) at 8 p.m. today (ESPN2).

“I think he’s more advanced physically with his build and more advanced with his confidence,” Brownell said. “His confidence is such that he doesn’t shake easily he doesn’t have a lot of self doubt. A lot of times when kids get to this level and experience failure or make mistakes ... doubt creep in and then it becomes more difficult to do well. I don’t think he has a lot of self doubt. He stays in a pretty aggressive mode. (Former Clemson guard Demonte)z Stitt is a guy who had that kind of trait, that kind of belief in himself.”

What’s also rare about Filer is he prides himself as a defense-first player. Rare in an era where Filer notes most freshmen “want to score 20 points per game and be one-and-done” for the NBA.

“Defense, that’s coach Brownell’s thing. That’s all I wanted to come in and do,” Filer said. “I just want to come in and get playing time.”

Defense will be important against an Arizona team that is 15th in the nation in scoring, averaging 81.5 points per game.

But Filer has also shown a promising offensive game.

He has a smooth shooting stroke that has allowed him to convert 35 percent of 3s and he has confidence in the shot, hoisting 2.4 3-point attempts per game.

Filer still needs polish, particularly with his dribble-drive and finishing ability as he is shooting less than 40 percent from the floor. But his all-around game makes him one more intriguing guards to arrive at Clemson in recent years.

Filer, recruited by former assistant Rick Ray who had ties to the Midwest, is still adjusting to life off the court in Clemson.

“It’s kind of different,” Filer said. “It’s more slow paced. I see people walking slower, talking slower, accents. In Chicago you are more moving fast trying to get straight to the point.”

But he’s having no problems adjusting on the court.