CLEMSON — Oliver Purnell is losing one of his top players to Europe.
Sharp-shooting guard Terrence Oglesby informed the Clemson coaching staff Tuesday he intends to forego his final two seasons of eligibility and play overseas, the player’s father told The State.
Tony Oglesby said his son will travel to Italy on Saturday and begin negotiations with the 15 teams from Italy and Spain that expressed a desire to sign the 6-foot-2 guard.
Oglesby has yet to sign with an agent, but the process is in its final stages, Tony said. Oglesby is in Atlanta training with former Georgia Tech assistant Kevin Cantwell.
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“There’s nothing really against Clemson,” Tony said. “It’s just an opportunity he didn’t want to turn down. He wants the chance to (play) six hours a day, get better and work toward eventually making the NBA.”
There were no signs Oglesby was contemplating departing Clemson after averaging 13.2 points per game (third-best on the team) and finishing second in the ACC in 3-pointers.
After the team’s ACC tournament first-round exodus, Purnell held a series of clear-the-air sessions so players could voice their criticisms of what seemed to have eroded Clemson’s play.
Oglesby was then ejected from the Tigers’ NCAA tournament first-round loss to Michigan after throwing an elbow in the first half. He broke down in the locker room afterward, suggesting through tears that he had let teammates down.
Oglesby’s shot selection and defensive focus were constant points of contention for Purnell, who after the season declared every starting job except forward Trevor Booker’s up for grabs.
To what degree those circumstances factored in Oglesby’s decision remain anyone’s guess.
Purnell is on vacation and unavailable for comment, a school spokesman said. Attempts to reach Oglesby were unsuccessful.
Tony Oglesby said Oglesby was first approached with offers last summer, but his stock increased after leading Norway’s division in scoring at the FIBA Under-20 European Championships.
Oglesby’s value to Euroleague teams would figure to be enhanced by his holding a Norway passport — meaning he counts as a European instead of toward the limit of American players on one’s roster.
“I’m sure there will be people who think this is about the money, but it’s not about money,” Tony said. “He wants to play professional basketball, and this was an outstanding opportunity.”
Oglesby’s departure changes the dynamics of Clemson’s lineup next season. Without him, the Tigers lack a clear 3-point threat who can unclog the lane for Booker.
Sophomore wing Tanner Smith would appear the front-runner to assume the starting spot, although Purnell could use point guards Demontez Stitt and backup Andre Young at the same time.
Donte Hill, a 6-3 incoming freshman whom Purnell has praised for his defensive skills, also could be in the mix.