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Thursday report: UM recruiting; Dolphins' cap; Heat, NBA free agency; Marlins debut

Happy Independence Day! Some Thursday news and notes:

### UM’s non-binding pledge from Hialeah Champagnat Catholic four-star defensive tackle Travonte Valentine moved the Hurricanes up to third in 247sports.com’s ranking of the top classes, so far, for 2014.

What’s more, UM’s 20 oral commitments are among the most in the country. Among the programs rated in ESPN’s top 30 recruiting classes for 2014, only North Carolina State (22) and Texas (21) have more. Yes, a few of UM’s commitments are unheralded developmental projects, but UM also has four players in ESPN’s top 150.

As for Valentine, he’s ranked fourth among defensive tackles by 247sports.com, 11th by ESPN and 20th by rivals.com. ESPN ranks him the 150th best prospect nationally.

Valentine had 35 scholarship offers and chose UM over Alabama, Tennessee and Louisville. Florida, FSU, Georgia, Ohio State and Oklahoma were among his other offers. Valentine at one time was orally committed to Louisville, and later to UF, before changing his mind. He de-committed from the Gators in February.

He played at Palm Bay Bayside before transferring this year to Champagnat. “He’s great – one of the top five run stuffers in the country,” Champagnat coach Mike Tunsil said. “And he’s actually a better pass rusher. I’ve never seen a kid with a first step like that. He’s a workaholic.”

Valentine committed during an unofficial visit to UM on Wednesday, Tunsil said. He originally planned to pick a school on his birthday, Nov. 15, but moved up his timetable.

According to Canesport.com, he still has ground to make up to qualify academically. Tunsil said “he is doing great in the class room” at his new school. But he reportedly struggled academically at Palm Bay.

Al Golden -- who turns 44 today -- has to feel very good about what he and his staff have done, considering the NCAA cloud still hanging over the program.

### As of late Wednesday night, Chris Andersen wasn’t quite yet ready to commit for another season with the Heat, but it would be surprising to many if he doesn’t at some point in the next week or so because he has said he wants to return and the Heat wants him back.

So far, at least 17 free agents have committed to new teams --- contracts cannot be signed until July 10 – but well over 100 have not made a decision.

So what have the other Eastern Conference playoff teams been doing in the first week of free agency?

Brooklyn, of course, set itself up to challenge the Heat for a year or two by acquiring Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett and Jason Terry from the Celtics for Gerald Wallace, Kris Humphries, Kris Joseph, MarShon Brooks, Keith Bogans and three future first-round picks. That trade cannot become official for another week.

A Nets starting lineup of Garnett, Pierce, Brook Lopez, Deron Williams and Joe Johnson will certainly command the Heat’s attention. And Brooklyn kept a key bench piece by agreeing to a new deal with Andray Blatche.

But none of the other Eastern playoff teams has made a hugely impactful move. Chicago re-signed Nazr Mohammed and upgraded slightly at shooting guard by signing Mike Dunleavy (10.5 points, 44.2 percent shooting last season) to replace Marco Belinelli (9.6, 39.5).

The Pacers, determined not to pay a luxury tax, rescinded their qualifying offer to Tyler Hansbrough (which hurts their frontcourt depth) but re-signed essential piece David West (three years, $36 million) and upgraded at backup point guard by replacing DJ Augustin (35 percent shooter last season) with CJ Watson (41.8 percent).

The Knicks improved somewhat by dealing Steve Novak, Marcus Camby, Quentin Richardson, a 2016 first-rounder and two second-round picks to Toronto for 7-foot finesse, three-point shooting big man Andrea Bargnani, who’s coming off a disappointing, injury-shortened season (12.7 points, 3.7 rebounds). The Knicks also are reportedly close to re-signing J.R. Smith to a four-year deal.

In a three-team sign-and-trade, the Bucks dealt free agent J.J. Reddick, who had no intention of re-signing, to the Clippers and are trying to sign O.J. Mayo to replace him. The Hawks re-signed Kyle Korver (four years, $24 million) and await word from Josh Smith, who is being wooed by Detroit and others.

### The Dolphins, who already have $13 million in cap space that can be carried over to next year, can add another $7.3 million by cutting cornerback Dimitri Patterson ($4.6 million) and Dan Carpenter ($2.7 million). Those are the two veterans clearly most at risk of being released before the season starts; nobody else is close.

We’re not predicting any of these players will be released, but here would be the cap savings if the Dolphins cut a few others: John Jerry ($1.3 million); Nate Garner (only $566,000; that’s not enough of an incentive to cut a versatile, capable reserve); Austin Spitler ($1.32 million; battling for a backup linebacker job). Curious about anybody else? Drop us a line.

### When 23-year-old right-hander Henderson Alvarez makes his 2013 Marlins debut tonight after missing the first three months with shoulder inflammation, we will begin to see if his performance catches up to the quality of his stuff.

“He has explosive stuff at times and a complete repertoire,” Marlins executive Larry Beinfest said earlier this year.

But that hasn’t translated into results. In finishing 9-14 with a 4.85 ERA, Alvarez allowed an absurd 270 base-runners in 187 innings for Toronto last season, including 29 homers and a .290 average against. Cleanup batters hit a ridiculous .342 against him.

“Alvarez is a better pitcher than he showed in Toronto,” one scout told us this spring. “The key for him is getting good sink on his fastball.”    

Comments

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johnny

I think there should be penalties for recruits to "VERBALLY commit to schools when their senior season hasn't even started yet. Its ridiculous because many of them will change their minds anyways after they take official visits during their senior year

go canes!

Champagnat Catholic requires players to commit before the start of the senior season and then they shut down recruitment to avoid distractions as per the head coach. his grades will improve and he will attend Miami fall 2014

go canes!

Georgia Cane

Attending Champagnat means his struggling in school. Let's keep our fingers crossed for the local kid. GO CANES! Golden has done an excellent job in recruiting, all things considered.

Coral Gables'81

Kids of that age will constantly change their minds. Chip Kelly flew out of Oregon, what was his penalty? The NCAA should have an early signing period, and eliminate the insanity of having these kids and their press conferences on national signing day.

Marcus

Yes, a few of UM’s commitments are unheralded developmental projects, but UM also has four players in ESPN’s top 150.

Nice spin Barry. A "few" are unheralded ? And only 4 are in ESPN's or anyones Top-150 ? EVERY Top-10-15 Program that has from 10-14 commits right now has 4 or more Top-150 kids. And with 10-12 schollies left, they'll add 8-10 4-5 star Kids in Feb. Miami ? Not. ESPN has 10 Cane commits as Unranked, 2-Star or barely 3-Stars that were offered by ZERO Top-30 Programs. That Barry, is a BUNCH, not a "few". Sure it's your job to paint a Silver-lining from time to time for the homers, but not the entire cloud so Cane fans will slurp on your sack. How about writing a "Supply and Demand" article about the remaining Cane schollies that are left and just how many of the 80 or so Top-150 kids are considering The u ? hint, they're not, which is exactly why Golden is bringing in "projects" by both handfuls.But when you do your reserch, take off the Orange n Green Glasses for a bit huh ?

FSU and Florida will kill in Jan. n Feb. While Miami will add just a few more USF, FIU, UCF and FAU offered "good character kids, with great potential" according to Golden. You and Canes fans can but that garbage. Not Top-10 Programs.

Pee Gee

According to Rivals.com, out of the 20 UM oral commitments secured for 2014, seven kids are rated 4-star, nine of them are 3-star, three have 2-star, and one kid has none. And the kid with no stars is Demetrius Jackson of BTW who has yet to play a down of varsity football but all indications are he could wind up being another 4-star prospect by the time it's all said and done. For all you naysayers out there, particularly Marcus, that's pretty good.

Barry Chitwood

Marcus, are you any relation to Nevin Shapiro?

Marcus

^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^

subscribe to them, Bleacherreport, 247sports n Scout.com (scout actually, like ESPN ranks classes by quality, not falsely ballooned up quantity. and u are behind FSU n FLORIDA both, as u will be in ALL polls in Feb.) and pay ur $9.99 a month to read their cooked up articles to make urselves feel better about what's not true.

ESPN has 10x's the resources and film to evaluate and is by far the lead authority at getting info from Coaches that do there own evaluations. The others copy off ESPN and then inflates kids stock by subscribers "Favorite" teams. They all get the 4-5 Star kids right. The 2-barely 3 Star kids are a whole different throw something up agaist the wall and hope it sticks(ie- keep the "customer" happy). The mere fact that MORE than half of Miami's Class has NOT been offered by Top-20 D-1 Programs, and MANY offered and considering Mid-Majors, 1-AA and D-2 schools tells u all u need to know... But then again, denial will keep that from happening.

u go do some reserch and get back now ya hear ?

Marcus

No, but I keeps it R.E.A.L.

Marcus

Hmmmm, do I want a "few" or Whole Bunch of Benjamin's ?

UMike

Marcus: You're a total idiot...you act like YOU KNOW EVERYTHING...I'll tell you one thing that you OBVIOUSLY don't know - whether these so-called three and four "star" commits are even going to make it at the next level...you get all caught up in ESPN and SH*T like that, and you actually BELIEVE what you hear...get a life, will you! UM had a class that was ranked number one in the nation a few years back, and it was a total bust...so, shut up and stop acting like you're some recruiting expert...NO ONE IS, not even the so-called experts.
FACT is, this kid chose UM over such schools as Alabama, Ohio State, UFelony, Free Shoes High School in Tally, etc, etc.....now, it's time for you to get lost...your OBVIOUS DISDAIN for UM is, well, OBVIOUS. This is HURRICANE COUNTRY...get lost.
OH, on a similar note...UM's baseball program has NINE of the nation's top 100 players committed to go to UM next year, by far putting UM at the top of the list of baseball recruits...and guess what, THAT doesn't even excite me BECAUSE - and, I'll say it again, NOBODY KNOWS, for sure, how any high schoolers are going to do at the college level.
So, go back to you couch and watch ESPN and come back when you have received a REALITY CHECK...in the meantime, THIS IS "UM COUNTRY" - no outside skanks wanted....get outta here, moron.

GO CANES!

Canes

Marcus is soo right. I mean Sean White with zero Top 20 offers, went to the ESPN Event and was the Number 1 QB. He knows what he is talking about.

Remember last year when Louisville with all there 2 stars whipped UF and all of their so called 5 stars.

Watch 4 Da HOOK


No, but I keeps it R.E.A.L.

Posted by: Marcus | 07/04/2013 at 01:33 PM

^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^

When keepin' it real GOES WRONG!!!

UM fan

You guys worry me. Don't you understand by now that angering the local morons can be dangerous? It's better for the wack jobs to be here, wacking and trolling, than kidnapping children. Besides, it's not all their fault. How would you feel if your mom, a UM fan, left you for a woman, and your father had to breast feed you until you dropped out of high school?

Sad times

Posted by: Marcus | 07/04/2013 at 01:32 PM


There's nothing you can say about UM football that outweighs the fact that you spent your 4th of July studying UM recruits.

Get a life you internet troll.

Canada Mike

Can't ever remember the Dolphins being in such great cap-shape - AND being so aggressive in free agency at the same time. The Fins brass seems to be turning the corner. Hope the players can now. GO FINS!

scrubby91

Et tu, Barry? Is there even 1 journalist in America today that knows the real name of our holiday today is not the "Fourth of July"? It is called "INDEPENDENCE DAY" (really, you capitalize the word "fourth". Do you think capitalizing it will make it the actual name of the holiday?)

It is the most important holiday that we as Americans have, the one that makes all the others even possible (yes it is far more important than christmas, a holiday and traditions stolen from pagans).

So lets start with you Barry, since you are the one writer who really seems to try to get your facts straight. Happy INDEPENDENCE DAY everyone. For those who think it doesn't matter, I just want to wish you a very happy and early "Merry 25th of December" to you!

Lt. Lois Einhorn

Sorry Canada Mike, the reason they're aggressive in free agency is that they can't draft any players worth paying.

The reason they still have tons of cap space is that they can't draft any players worth paying.

This is not the way to build a successful franchise, nothing changes until Ireland's gone.

Lt. Lois Einhorn

And no it doesn't matter whether you call the 4th of July "Independence Day".

scrubby91

Yes it does, 'Lois'. maybe not to jingoistic, simple-minded Americans like you, but to real Americans it does. Happy 25th of December, btw...

P.S You sentence is as backwards as your thinking. omg you happily mindless fools....

scrubby91

*Your sentence

Lt. Lois Einhorn

Jingoistic? I'm only in it for the hotdogs and beer.

PS - you're a miserable person.

Chris Wong

Recruiting has quickly morphed into a very lucrative industry that for the most part speculates what kind of talent a school can bring in each year. It gives us as college football fans the hope that future seasons (mainly next season) will yield better results than the previous ones. I appreciate it for that and nothing else. Why? College Football recruiting is a crapshoot just like the NFL, NBA, and every other professional sport's annual Draft. How many busts do we see every season? Sure, it is inspiring to see a recruiting class that is filled with 4 and 5-star level talent. It makes us feel awesome that our team convinced more highly coveted players to sign with OUR team and NOT YOUR team. It inflates our (already present) arrogance to proclaim with absolute certainty that WE are going to beat YOU as we neglect the fact that the most important part of the equation (the actual game) hasn’t even occurred yet! However, WE have more stars than YOU!

Please… Anyone who has actually played sports knows that the level of competition changes tremendously at each level whether it be from JV to Varsity to College (Div III to II to I) to Professional. We can only speculate that these 4 and 5-star recruits will perform as well as they have in high school at the next level.

While a highly rated recruiting class theoretically puts a team at a greater advantage of doing better, the fact of the matter is that it all comes down to player development and their ability to perform in the system they have committed to. Yes, examples exist like Alabama who has had the top ranked recruiting class in 2008, 2009, 2011, 2012, and 2013 according to Rivals.com and who went on to become arguably the best team of recent memory. However, there are teams like Oregon who finished in the top 5 in the past 3 years with only one top 10 ranked recruiting class from 2008 to 2012 (9th in 2011). Stanford, which finished in the top 10 in the last 3 years, only had two recruiting classes break the top 20 since 2005 (20th in 2009 and 5th in 2012)! The majority of the players in that 2012 class didn’t even contribute to this year’s top 10 finish either! For all of you SEC pundits out there, I tried to find some consistency out there in the BCS, but Alabama seems to have been the only consistent top 10 finisher from the SEC. South Carolina maybe? There have been many top 10 recruiting classes in the SEC in the past several years though. Either way, it does help to prove the point that while many of the top rated recruiting classes have gone to SEC schools, it doesn’t seem to translate as equally into BCS success. University of Texas has had a top 5 ranked recruiting class in 2006, 2007, 2009, 2010, 2011, and 2012, yet has essentially disappeared from the BCS since 2009.

I am a true University of Miami fan (and yes, I actually went to school there too). However, it makes me laugh when I see how many people think that recruiting rankings will translate into winning/losing games and National Championships that haven’t even occurred yet. I’m tired of the negativity from supposed fans. Give the coaches and players credit. You missed your opportunity to live that dream whether it be as a player or a coach. Let’s be real here, the overwhelming majority of people who criticize don't even have nor ever had a fraction of the talent or athletic ability that the recruits have in UM’s 2014 class. Go Canes!

Lt. Lois Einhorn

Chris Wong, most would read that post as 'negativity from supposed fans'.

I say let the fans enjoy recruitment. It's July. It's not supposed to mean anything.

Yay new players. Valentine's a BFD.

Chris Wong

Then most don't read very well...

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