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Heat makes roster move; Encouraging outlook for UM hoops; Heat, Dolphins, Marlins chatter

2 p.m. update: The Heat signed center Justin Hamilton, its former second-round pick out of LSU, and waived guard DeAndre Liggins, who was working under a second 10-day contract. Hamilton averaged 19.3 points, 9.2 rebounds, 2 blocks and 1.5 assists and shot 49 percent for the Heat's NDBL team in South Dakota. Hamilton is playoff-eligible, by the way. He signed for the remainder of this season, with a non-guaranteed team option for next season.

 

FRIDAY BUZZ COLUMN

UM's basketball season ended Thursday (barring some postseason invitation that Jim Larranaga has said is not going to happen). But good news looms for Larranaga's program: Next season’s team should be considerably better, more potent offensively, and more interesting to watch.

UM will get a boost from high-scoring guard DeAndre Burnett (who missed this season with a wrist injury) and two transfers who were ineligible this season: former Kansas State point guard Angel Rodriguez and ex-Texas guard Sheldon McClellan.

McClellan, who averaged 13.5 points for the Longhorns in 2012-13, is “a very, very talented offensive player --– kind of a combination of Durand Scott, Rion Brown, Trey-McKinney Jones,” Larranaga said. “He has size, length, jumping ability, shooting ability, driving ability, can make free throws. He hasn’t become the defender he should be. Most of the really good offensive players rest on defense. We can’t afford that.”

Senior guard Rion Brown calls McClellan “a freak of nature. He’s athletic even just passing and dribbling!”

McClellan said he came to Miami because of Larranaga and “how he handles players. And transfers have done well here” – include Shane Larkin and McKinney-Jones.

He said “motivation and time management” were problematic for him at times at Texas, but he has improved in both areas. “I’m in the gym more now,” he said, adding that a backcourt duo of himself and Rodriguez “can be pretty scary.”

Players rave about how Rodriguez has become the team’s vocal leader even though he wasn’t eligible to play this season. He has corrected players when they do something wrong at practice, even yelling when needed.

Rodriguez, who averaged 11.4 points and 5.2 assists at Kansas State last season, “can create for a lot of people,” freshman guard/forward Davon Reed said. “He’s a guy you want to play with because he makes the game easier for you.” And he’s a skilled defender.

UM is expecting a lot from Burnett, who averaged 36 points for Carol City as a senior two years ago. “He's a great scorer,” Reed said. “He can catch and shoot, can go off the dribble.”

Larranaga said UM will play a lot of small ball next season, because most of its best players will be guards: Rodriguez, Reed (who will see a lot of time at small forward), Burnett, McClellan, Manu Lecomte (improved considerably as the season progressed) and two newcomers: four-star point guard JaQuan Newton (rated the nation’s 35th-best recruit by rivals.com) and three-star shooting guard James Palmer (rated the 114th-best player). “Scoring will not be an issue next year,” senior Erik Swoope said.

UM’s incoming class has two three-star power forwards (6-8 Omar Sherman and 6-9 Ivan Cruz Uceda), but no natural center unless UM finds one with its last scholarship available, which Larranaga prefers to use on a senior transfer.

Larranaga said it’s “impossible" to find a big man "with skills who knows how to play.”

“There are not a lot of those guys out there. Those guys are so highly recruited. There are not a lot of those guys in the NBA anymore, guys like Dwight Howard."

Sophomore seven-footer Tonye Jekiri hasn’t progressed as much offensively as UM hoped.

“Last summer, he worked at it, but he didn’t kill himself,’ Larranaga said. “He really needs to become fanatical if he wants to score at all. The only baskets he’s really getting are right at the rim. He makes a jump shot once every five games.”

Larranaga privately has said his biggest regret was not playing Swoope more earlier this season. But Swoope said: "What we did this year was a testament to his coaching. We could have been way below .500. He got the most out of this team."

CHATTER

### Besides the drop-off in defensive metrics from last season, the biggest change in Heat performance this season has been Miami’s play late in close games. Last season, in the final five minutes of games with a five-point margin or fewer, Miami was 32-8 and outscored teams by 131 in 176 minutes.

This season, Miami is 19-13 in those games and has outscored teams by nine (12th in the league) in 139 minutes. (Indiana is plus 54.) Last season, the Heat shot 49 percent in the clutch, with 88 assists and 40 turnovers. This season, it’s 43 percent, 40 assists, 33 turnovers.

Chris Bosh is shooting 58.5 percent in the clutch and LeBron James 48.6, but each has had turnovers in the final seconds of close games in the past week, and every Heat guard in Erik Spoelstra's rotation is shooting below 40 percent in the clutch.

### The Dolphins, who hope to sign guard Shelley Smith after his visit today, still had $26 million in cap space as of 4 p.m., according to the NFLPA web site. [UPDATE: The Dolphins have signed Smith to a two-year deal. They also have reached a two-year deal with cornerback Cortland Finnegan, who was one of the league's top corners for Tennessee before a decline in play the past two years with St. Louis. He missed the final nine games last season with a fractured orbital bone.]

### Free agent right tackle Zach Strief declined an offer to visit the Dolphins. Indications are that he prefers to return to New Orleans.

### In exchange for Jonathan Martin, the Dolphins will get a seventh-rounder in the 2015 draft, but only if he’s on the 49ers opening day roster. Though Stephen Ross repeatedly said he planned to meet with Martin, they never did, according to the Martin camp. No Dolphins official called Martin directly when the trade was made, though that's not unusual.

### The Dolphins envision new defensive tackle Earl Mitchell as an every down player. He received an identical four-year, $16 million offer from San Diego but liked Miami’s defensive system better…. Though New England-bound Darrell Revis has a home in South Florida and likes the Dolphins, he wanted to play on a short contract with a Super Bowl contender. So Miami wasn’t a serious contender, despite an inquiry.

### Marcell Ozuna, who the Marlins have projected as their starting center fielder, is hitting .179 this spring (5 for 28). Conversely, center fielder Jake Marisnick surprisingly has hit well (7 for 21, .333) after seeming overwhelmed offensively in his Marlins stint late last season. Ozuna's offensive game is far more advanced than Marisnick's, and the Marlins are counting on Ozuna's bat coming alive at some point this spring. If it doesn't, an interesting decision looms in center field.

Comments

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frostdog0819

I Love Coach L. Not once all season did he pass the buck to the players.Love how he manned up and said he should have played Eric Swoopee more this year.The team as a whole throughout the season IMPROVED AND IT SHOWED LATER IN THE SEASON. I enjoyed this season a lot and can't wait until next season. I hope they get in the NIT somehow.On that note, I hope his fellow co workers at greentree took some notes.Barry I know as a journalist and sportswriter respect certain athletes.Eric Winston and Antrel Rolle's opinions.What they said on WQAM is telling of the defensive side of the football. Barry all I'm saying is we need improvement, and we haven't seen any(The worst defenses in Miami History).Tim Walton got fired in 2008 for having the 33rd ranked defense in the nation.

u are u ...

But good news looms for Larranaga's program: Next season’s team should be considerably better, more potent offensively, and more interesting to watch.

.

don't u believe it ... but u will, because ...

u are u ... no post-season u ... but there's always next year

I hope they get in the NIT somehow.

Posted by: frostdog0819 | 03/14/2014 at 03:40 PM

.

spoken like a trUe cane clUck ...

GATORS !!!

# 1

Not our rival

Posted by: u are u ... no post-season u ... but there's always next year | 03/14/2014 at 03:52 PM

Hush nerd, no one cares about your fake internet rivalry, in real life Miami crushed your Gators last season and we're not scheduled to play again.

JimmyJ

^^^^^
This.

Former Season Tckt Holder

GO MARISNICK! he was my choice all along, if he hits he's much better than Ozuna defensively and on the base paths, can be a good lead-off man.

Marios

Hope Finnegan's healthy next year. Just having him there pushing last year's rooks will help but hopefully he'll bounce back.
So Patterson is a no? Too bad, I would prefer Patterson if both have same injury potential.

WE ARE U BETTER THAN UF...WITH TEETH

HOWS THE THE FOOTBALL TEAM U CLUCK ......OH WAIT R 2 STARZ BEAT UR 5 STARZZZZZZZZZZZZZZ

rbleigh

Thanks for the update on Canes basketball. I really hope these additions are cool & calm when handling the ball, last night's game was painful to watch with all of the turnovers.

Silent Owl

Encouraging outlook for UM hoops, just like the same encouraging outlook you've been spinning about UM football for over a decade, right?

LOL. Embrace your past, cuz U have no future.

joe r

A+ for dennis hickey, still work to do and there are issues but not because of him, this guy is a problem solver and getting it done...wouldnt it be something if he took a qb in the first round..he has done so much work on the other problem areas just maybe he is going to have the flexibility to go first round with a qb, gotta keep picking first round qb until you hit it...no johnny manziel please, dont need the drama...how about trading wallace and next year first round to move up and get bridgewater and have a real qb competiton, look if some miracel happens and tannehill gets good then life is good

u are u ... no football,basketball or beisbol u ...

HOWS THE THE FOOTBALL TEAM U CLUCK ......OH WAIT R 2 STARZ BEAT UR 5 STARZZZZZZZZZZZZZZ

Posted by: WE ARE U BETTER THAN UF...WITH TEETH | 03/14/2014 at 07:57 PM

Retarded ? or just a cane fan ?

johnnie j

Fairly happy with Hickey s picks for the Phins so far.Not crazy about Finegan but we ll see if he was worth the risk.Hoping still for a LB and a RB in FA.The NFL draft in April will be interesting.(Oh I forgot it s now in May) as the NFL now wants it permanently changed to May.Whatever.The Heat seem de-energized ever since LeBron s 61 point night.It may have drained him for a few games.The energy overall the past 6 games haven t matched the opponents.Hopefully when this low energy period passes/in 2 weeks or so...the old/GOOD Heat will re-emerge.

Reality Bites

Hickey seems to be doing a fine job so far, seems to.
He addressed the O line with a tackle and guard which was a no brainer need, let us see what he will do come draft time.
Either way it's hard to get excited about the Fins in the offseason when they always disappoint when it counts and have done so for such a long time.

Speaking of a long time disappointment, the sorry canes are supposed to field a better basketball team next year. Right. That means they may get in the NIT, may even win their first round match before being bounced in the second round. Well that is something to look forward to.
Coach L is such a great coach he has a team full of guards so he will play "small". But it is true what he says, it is very difficult to find a big man with skill. For him and the sorry canes that is. All the skilled big men go to real basketball schools of course. That is why you end up with a team that only has a bunch of guards. That is why you suck now and will continue to suck in the future.
At least you have the NIT as a goal. That is more realistic than the football clowns who predicted Heisman trophies for Jacory, Morris and Duke. Those clucks never learn.

green

https://twitter.com/ChrisFreet/status/444617511540367360/photo/1

Watching @CanesBaseball on full screen & #ACCTourney on picture-in-picture via @ESPN3. #loveIT
-- Chris Freet ‏@ChrisFreet

Canes Baseball

Feb 21 Florida ESPN3 7:00pm
Feb 22 Florida ESPN3 7:00pm
Feb 23 Florida ESPN3 1:00pm
Feb 28 Florida State ESPN3 4:00pm
Mar 01 Florida State ESPN3 2:00pm
Mar 14 Georgia Tech ESPN3 7:00pm
Mar 15 Georgia Tech ESPN3 7:30pm
Mar 16 Georgia Tech ESPN3 1:00pm
Mar 22 Virginia ESPN3 7:00pm
Mar 23 Virginia ESPN3 7:00pm
Mar 24 Virginia ESPNU 7:00pm
Mar 28 NC State ESPN3 6:30pm
Mar 30 NC State ESPN3 1:00pm
Apr 04 Virginia Tech ESPN3 5:30pm
Apr 06 Virginia Tech ESPN3 1:00pm
Apr 19 Notre Dame ESPN3 7:00pm
Apr 20 Notre Dame ESPN3 7:00pm
Apr 21 Notre Dame ESPNU 7:00pm
Apr 25 Clemson ESPN3 6:30pm
Apr 26 Clemson ESPN3 7:00pm
Apr 27 Clemson ESPN3 1:00pm
May 15 North Carolina ESPN3 7:30pm
May 16 North Carolina ESPN3 7:30pm
May 17 North Carolina ESPNU 12:30pm

MARVEL OF MODERN TECHNOLOGY

green

http://radiotvtalk.blog.ajc.com/2014/03/14/css-sports-shutting-down-june-1/

"CSS Sports shutting down June 1"

there go our football replays, coaches' shows & the like ...

FOX FORCE FIVE

green

College basketball is atrocious

I don't care how much the ACC makes from it, you couldn't pay me to sit through an entire college basketball game.

Posted by: Lt. Lois Einhorn | 03/12/2014 at 01:47 PM

http://tvbythenumbers.zap2it.com/2014/03/14/mens-college-basketball-espns-most-viewed-and-highest-rated-regular-season-ever/244861/

"Men’s College Basketball: ESPN’s Most-Viewed and Highest-Rated Regular Season Ever"

FOLLOW THE BOUNCING BALL

green

Louisville(my team)

Posted by: Marios | 03/12/2014 at 06:08 PM

For the 12th consecutive year, Louisville was the highest-rated metered market for ESPN’s regular-season telecasts
-- tvbythenumbers

MY OLD KENTUCKY HOME

Reality Bites

cane homer Mario with an extra "s" roots for UL basketball while lil green pea roots for anything ACC related and the typical cane fan has nothing to do with UM, bunch of MDC rejects, FIU grads or GED wannabes, then U wonder why no one shows up to the games, no loyalty if you didn't attend like 95% of Miami cane fair weather, bandwagon "fans", how do you like them apples and this run on sentence U clucks?

johnnie j

Life is so good in South Florida.So fortunate to be able to travel back and forth to the other Coast every few days.Now THAT is Paradise.Blessed life.So many opportunities and great times to spend with our families.GO CANES.GO HEAT.GO PHINS.

Not our rival

Posted by: Reality Bites | 03/15/2014 at 12:37 PM

You are beyond pathetic nerd, go find an AOL chatroom to troll people into your fake internet rivalry. In real life UF got killed by UM last year and we're not playing again.

Mamamelo

Hey Green,

Funny how you'd diss others about ESPN3 covering FIU, but it ain't a thang when they're covering scUM.

REALITY BITES

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