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1 posts from September 26, 2013

September 26, 2013

New UM commit; Wade, Harden react more on Durant; Huizenga exits; Dolphins, Marlins

Friday morning update: UM basketball received a commitment late last night from Dallas 6-8 power forward Omar Sherman, who is ranked No. 93 by scout.com in the 2014 recruiting class. Sherman, a physical player with a decent jump shot, also considered Wichita State. He's the second top 100 player in this class, joining guard JaQuan Newton.



No, Dwyane Wade assured, his testy Twitter exchange with Oklahoma City star Kevin Durant was not a joke, not a publicity ploy for Gatorade (for whom they previously filmed a commercial) or any other product.

But Wade is ready to defuse the situation.

Asked Thursday night if Durant’s comment that James Harden should replace Wade on Sports Illustrated’s list of the Top 10 players was uncalled for, Wade said: “Everyone has an opinion. We’re in an age now where everyone uses their opinion. That was it. He had an opinion. I had a response.”

Asked if their exchange was a joke, he smiled and said, “No.”

To refresh for those who might have missed it: Wade responded to Durant’s comment on Tuesday night by tweeting: “Note to self – make him respect your place in history… again… Don’t believe me. Just watch.” To which Durant responded: “Show me. Don’t tweet me.”

Harden told Comcast SportsNet in Houston today that he believes the Wade/Durant exchange was genuine. Asked if he's a top 10 player, Harden said: "For sure. Last year, I got a chance to prove it... I've kind of always been looked over."

Rockets center Dwight Howard said: "I told James [to] just stay away from [getting involved in the Wade/Durant back and forth]. We do our talking on the floor."

### Wade, speaking at his charity Fashion Show, said: “Our team did a good job of listening to me this summer and leaving me alone and letting me take a vacation. Now I’m back to work.”

Michael Beasley and Mario Chalmers showed up later at the event, and Beasley told AP of returning to Miami: "It hasn't set in yet."

### The Heat wanted to bring in point guard Roddy Beaubois, who averaged 7.1 points for Dallas the past four seasons, for an audition, but a wrist injury prevented it.


### Paul Soliai’s absence last week is among reasons the Dolphins are allowing 4.7 yards per rush, sixth-worst in the league. But how have the offseason linebacker changes factored in?

Consider: Last season, Pro Football Focus ranked Kevin Burnett second and Karlos Dansby 15th against the run in their linebacker categories. As for their Dolphins replacements... This year, Dannell Ellerbe is 44th of 48 inside linebackers against the run (though he’s second in the league in tackles), and Philip Wheeler 25th of 34 in his outside linebacker category – with Dansby (Arizona) and Burnett (Oakland) still ranking ahead of both.

What’s more, Dansby and Burnett combined for 20 missed tackles in 2012. Ellerbe and Wheeler already have 11 in three games. And Koa Misi’s PFF ranking against the run has dropped from ninth in 2012 to 21st in 2013.

So Miami's issues against the run extend well beyond Soliai's absence and the play of the defensive line.

### You know what surprises receiver Mike Wallace about Ryan Tannehill? “He’s a lot more composed than I thought he would be… Every single day he makes us more and more comfortable with his growth.”

And tight end Charles Clay said Tannehill is “a totally different person” this year in how he “takes control of the huddle. He’s always positive, and that gives the rest of the team confidence.”

Tannehill has risen to ninth in quarterback rating at 94.3 (well ahead of Joe Flacco and Tom Brady) after finishing 27th last year. And he has gone from last in league in third down rating (65.3) to 11th (90.7).

### Not only did Dion Jordan grade out highest of any Dolphins defender in Pro Football Focus’ Week 3 ratings, but only one other NFL player with fewer than 100 snaps (Pittsburgh’s Cameron Heyward) has more quarterback pressures. (Jordan has played only 57 defensive snaps.)

ESPN’s Jon Gruden, who calls Monday’s Dolphins game, criticized the Jordan pick in April, because he said Jordan never played 60 or so snaps in a game.

“I have a lot of respect for Gruden, but Dion is in tremendous shape and can run for days, and I don’t see any reason he can’t play 55 or 65 plays a game,” Oregon defensive coordinator Nick Aliotti said. (He played 31 against Atlanta.) “We played our team a lot like a hockey team because our guys would rotate.”

### Former Dolphins/Marlins/Panthers owner H. Wayne Huizenga officially left the sports ownership business this week, for the first time in more than 20 years. He sold his tiny share of the Panthers to Vincent Viola after selling his five percent Dolphins ownership to Stephen Ross earlier this year.

“I’m happy being a fan, and I have a suite at all three [Dolphins, Panthers, Marlins] venues,” Huizenga said Thursday.

### Giancarlo Stanton, whose recent power surge has given him 24 homers (along with a .249 average and 58 RBI in 113 games), said “nothing will make me OK with this season. I haven’t played the way I wanted all year. Anything baseball related bothered me.”

Asked if he would consider a long-term contract from the Marlins, he was non-committal. He can be a free agent after 2016.

### Desperately in need of offense, the Marlins say they will consider doing something unlike them: Trading quality pitching for offense.

“Pitching is our strength throughout the system, and we have the depth to lure someone possibly,” Marlins vice president of player development Marty Scott said. “We have stockpiled pitching prospects to get a bat,  depending on who’s out there.

“We have holes to fill position wise at the major league level, and I don’t think we have [minor leaguers] for those positions right now.” (He made a possible exception for second baseman Derek Dietrich, who finished the year in the minors.)

### With practice opening Friday, a quick primer on how UM’s new-look basketball team – which lost six key players - ended up:

Point guard: Potentially shared among Garrius Adams (also will play small forward), Belgian freshman Manu LeComte (“the contacts we have overseas told us this kid is going to be a very good player,” coach Jim Larranaga said) and freshman Corn Elder once football season ends (“he knows how to run a team,” Larranaga said)…. Shooting guard: Rion Brown (will get a lot of shots), with freshmen DeAndre Burnett and Davon Reed behind him….

Small forward: Adams (“Durand Scott was ACC Defensive Player of the Year and Shane Larkin was on the All-Defensive team and they couldn’t stop him in practice… awesome in practice,” Larranaga said), plus Erik Swoope, Reed and well-regarded junior college transfer James Kelly (18.3 points, 10.1 rebounds last season)…. Power forward: Former DePaul player Donnavan Kirk, in his second tour with UM, with Kelly and Swoope… Centers: Tonye Jekiri (has worked on offensive game) and Raphael Akpejiori.