No. 15 Clemson looks to rebound vs. Virginia Tech

When Clemson travels to Blacksburg, Va., on Wednesday, the team will be without its starting point guard.

Shelton Mitchell has been in the concussion protocol since getting hit in the head in the final minutes of last week’s 81-79 loss to Florida State.

“He’s not ready,” Clemson coach Brad Brownell said Tuesday afternoon, according to the Greenville (S.C.) News. “We’re hopeful that he’ll be fine by the weekend, but he needs to be able to do some more things so we’re going to leave him back here I think and just let him have a couple more days, which I think is a good decision. We’ll just have to push forward without him.”

The No. 15 Tigers (20-6, 9-5 ACC), who are coming off consecutive losses for the first time this season, will face a Virginia Tech team that has won three of its past four games, including a 61-60 victory over No. 1 Virginia.

Mitchell missed Sunday’s 66-57 loss to Duke.

“Our guys just want to go play well,” Brownell said. “We’ve been playing extremely hard. I told our team yesterday that last week was one of those weeks where sometimes you work hard in life and it doesn’t always pay off in wins. That’s the hard thing about sports.

“I thought our guys had great preparation in our practices all last week. We competed extremely hard in both games, but had a lot of basketball errors and that cost us opportunities for two wins, but I’m proud of the way our guys have stayed focused.”

The 3-1 stretch for the Hokies (19-8, 8-6) began with point guard Devin Wilson’s return to the starting lineup.

Wilson, who started for Virginia Tech in his first two years, had spent most of this season as a backup.

“The way my career has gone has allowed me to see the darkness and the light of college basketball and college athletics in general,” Wilson told The Roanoke (Va.) Times. “I’m thankful for that, to be honest. Things have switched around. I’m playing a lot more now.

“I try to be that defensive presence and that leadership presence that we might need.”

Wilson, then playing for coach James Johnson, made the ACC’s all-freshman team after the 2013-14 season.

But when Buzz Williams replaced Johnson in March 2014, player and coach didn’t see eye to eye.

“I’ve never went from disliking a player as much as I did when I first got here to the respect that I have for him,” Williams told the Times.

Wilson saw his points per game drop from 9.2 as a freshman to 6.5 as a sophomore and then to 2.1 as a reserve junior. He is averaging 3.1 points this season.

“He blatantly told me … he didn’t like me,” Wilson said. “I kind of looked at him like, ‘Okay, well, I’m not going anywhere, so you’re going to either like me or you’re just going to hate me for the rest of my career.’

“That’s what’s special about our bond. There’s not much words said. We don’t really text that much or call each other on the phone every night like he might with other players, but we have a great mutual respect.”

Perhaps the two are just too similar.

“My game kind of fits his style — get to the rim, get fouled, play hard all the time. So, it must have been my personality,” Wilson said. “I’m very much like him. I’m bull-headed. I’m very honest with how I feel about things. If I think you’re wrong, I’m going to tell you.

“He didn’t not like me for long. … He told me, actually, when we were in training camp of my sophomore year, ‘I’m starting to like you, Dev.'”