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Can Devin Booker come up big in the ACC?

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Can Devin Booker come up big in the ACC?

Devin Booker is averaging 11.1 points per game.

CLEMSON -- The Clemson basketball staff does not expect Devin Booker to suddenly become an exact facsimile of his older brother, Trevor Booker.

Trevor, who at his peak, was one of the best players in program history, accomplished enough to be awarded a key to his hometown, Mauldin.

But the key to improving Clemson's offense might be the younger Booker taking advantage of the offensive gains made by former forward Jerai Grant last season. Clemson is running out of time to find offensive solutions as conference play begins at 4 p.m. today when Clemson hosts Florida State (9-5) at Littlejohn Coliseum.

Booker has upside. He's the best athlete on the team and there are signs of optimism. The 6-8 junior is coming off a career-high 22-point effort against East Tennessee and is averaging 17 points per game over Clemson's last three games, making 21 of 35 field goals during that stretch.

Booker has increased his scoring average to 11.1 points per game after averaging 8.1 ppg last season.

As a reference point, Grant increased his scoring average from 7.2 ppg as a junior to 12.7 as a senior. Trevor Booker increased his scoring from 11 ppg as a sophomore to 15.3 as a junior. Can his younger brother make a similar jump in ACC play? He's the top candidate to add a post presence, according to coach Brad Brownell.

"I think Devin Booker is improving and getting better," Brownell said. "He just hasn't been the primary guy. I think he will continue to get better through the next two years."

To get there, Booker needs to refine his post game and be more capable scoring off the dribble.

Clemson (8-6) has not found a primary scoring option this season, which in part explains why the offense enters ACC play ranked 11th in the conference in scoring (63.7 ppg) and 11th in field goal percentage (43.4).

Guard Andre Young's 3-point percentage has dipped from 39.6 percent last season to 34.1 percent this season. Young was a complementary spot-up shooter last season and this year has become the focus of defense.

"I knew we would have some trouble scoring," Brownell said. "We have guys that have a little experience in Andre Young, Tanner Smith and Devin Booker but none of those guys are home run hitters. They are not guys that you can put down 17, 18 points per game and know they are going to get it for you. We have a little trouble at times finding that consistent scorer. With last year's team we were able to play off of Demontez Stitt and Jerai Grant."

Brownell said the program especially misses Stitt's "toughness."

"He willed the team to win the some games," Brownell said. "He embraced big games. We have a lot of younger kids that are trying to mesh with some older guys. It's just taking us a little longer to get set."

And while Brownell has some freshmen guards like T.J. Sapp who can offer help on the perimeter only Booker has the athleticism and body to replace Grant's contribution.

"I felt (Grant) was one of the best post players in our league by late February," Brownell said.

Can Booker make a similar production jump in midseason? if Clemson is going to make a fifth straight NCAA berth Trevor's little brother might need to.

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