Here is the news that affects our Orange Bowl games and I'm sure is making everyone happy:
Here is the news that affects our Orange Bowl games and I'm sure is making everyone happy:
Did you expect anything different? I guess I didn't, though I did vote for some Hurricanes to grace the 2016 All-ACC Preseason Football Team. Only one Miami Hurricane was chosen by the media as a member of the 2016 All-ACC Preseason Football Team -- just announced Wednesday morning.
That Hurricane: punter Justin Vogel, an exceptional athlete for sure.
Brad Kaaya wasn't even the second quarterback chosen last week in a vote of 191 media voters credentialed for last week's ACC Football Kickoff in Charlotte.
No Stacy Coley. No Al-Quadin Muhammad. No David Njoku (I know he's young, but it is "preseason'' and it is just your educated guess). No Michael Badgley (but he WAS second behind Clemson's Greg Huegel.) No Jermaine Grace.
More fuel for the Hurricanes, if they even look at this stuff.
Here it is, plus the detailed voting below:
2016 All-ACC Preseason Football Team
WR – Artavis Scott, Jr., Clemson
WR – Isaiah Ford, Jr., Virginia Tech
WR – Travis Rudolph, Jr. Florida State
TE – Jordan Leggett, Sr., Clemson
OT – Roderick Johnson, Jr., Florida State
OT – Mitch Hyatt, So., Clemson
OG – Dorian Johnson, Sr., Pitt
OG – Tyrone Crowder, Jr., Clemson
C – Jay Guillermo, r-Sr., Clemson
QB – Deshaun Watson, Jr., Clemson
RB – Dalvin Cook, Jr., Florida State
RB – Elijah Hood, Jr., North Carolina
DE – DeMarcus Walker, Sr., Florida State
DE – Ejuan Price, r-Sr., Pitt
DT – Carlos Watkins, r-Sr., Clemson
DT – DeAngelo Brown, Sr., Louisville
LB – Ben Boulware, Sr., Clemson
LB – Keith Kelsey, Sr., Louisville
LB – Devonte Fields, Sr., Louisville
CB – Cordrea Tankersley, Sr., Clemson
CB – Des Lawrence, Sr., North Carolina
S – Derwin James, So., Florida State
S – Quin Blanding, Jr., Virginia
PK – Greg Huegel, r-So., Clemson
P – Justin Vogel, Sr., Miami
SP – Ryan Switzer, So., North Carolina
2016 All-ACC Preseason Team Voting
Deshaun Watson, Clemson 188; Mitch Trubisky, North Carolina 1; Brad Kaaya, Miami 1; Lamar Jackson, Louisville 1.
Dalvin Cook, Florida State 184; Elijah Hood, North Carolina 97; Wayne Gallman, Clemson 70; Matthew Dayes, NC State 8; Taquan Mizzell, Virginia 7; Travon McMillian, Virginia Tech 4; Qadree Ollison, Pitt 3; Joe Yearby, Miami 3; Jon Hilliman, Boston College 3; Mark Walton, Miami 1; Marcus Marshall, Georgia Tech 1; Brandon Ratcliff, Louisville 1.
Artavis Scott, Clemson 112; Isaiah Ford, Virginia Tech 112; Travis Rudolph, Florida State 94; Mike Williams, Clemson 80; Ryan Switzer, North Carolina 42; Mack Hollins, North Carolina 27; James Quick, Louisville 23; Stacy Coley, Miami 23; Kermit Whitefield, Florida State 15; Jamari Staples, Louisville 13; Bug Howard, North Carolina 11; Jesus Wilson, Florida State 6; Bra’Lon Cherry, NC State 5; Tabari Hines, Wake Forest 3; Anthony Nash, Duke 2; Cam Phillips, Virginia Tech 2; Olamide Zaccheaus, Virginia 1; Steve Ishmael, Syracuse 1; T.J. Rahming, Duke 1.
Jordan Leggett, Clemson 89; Jaylen Samuels, NC State 41; Bucky Hodges, Virginia Tech 34; Cam Serigne, Wake Forest 7; Ryan Izzo, Florida State 6; David Njoku, Miami 4; Cole Hikutini, Louisville 4; Brandon Fritts, North Carolina 3; Daniel Helm, Duke 2; Scott Orndoff, Pitt 1.
Roderick Johnson, Florida State 153; Mitch Hyatt, Clemson 82; Adam Bisnowaty, Pitt 70; Jon Heck, North Carolina 39; Trevor Darling, Miami 13; Casey Blaser, Duke 8; Eric Smith, Virginia 5; Jonathan McLaughlin, Virginia Tech 4; Geron Christian, Louisville 3; Yosuah Nijman, Virginia Tech 2; Bentley Spain, North Carolina 1; Gabe Brandner, Duke 1; Justin Herron, Wake Forest 1.
Dorian Johnson, Pitt 107; Tyrone Crowder, Clemson 82; Caleb Peterson, North Carolina 77; Kareem Are, Florida State 32; Wyatt Teller, Virginia Tech 13; Danny Isidora, Miami 13; Tony Adams, NC State 12; Wilson Bell, Florida State 12; Tanner Stone, Duke 11; KC McDermott, Miami 11; Augie Conte, Virginia Tech 8; Omari Palmer, Syracuse 4.
Jay Guillermo, Clemson 124; Lucas Crowley, North Carolina 13; Jackson Matteo, Virginia 11; Freddie Burden, Georgia Tech 10; Nick Linder, Miami 8; Alec Eberle, Florida State 8; Alex Officer, Pitt 5; Joe Sceflo, NC State 4; Jason Emerich, Syracuse 3; Jon Baker, Boston College 3; Eric Gallo, Virginia Tech 2.
DeMarcus Walker, Florida State 142; Ejuan Price, Pitt 102; Josh Sweat, Florida State 33; Ken Ekanem, Virginia Tech 23; Al-Quadin Muhammad, Miami 16; Harold Landry, Boston College 15; Bradley Chubb, NC State 12; KeShun Freeman, Georgia Tech 10; Mikey Bart, North Carolina 8; Kevin Kavalec, Boston College 6; Andrew Brown, Virginia 5; Dajaun Drennon, North Carolina 5; Duke Ejiofor, Wake Forest 5.
Carlos Watkins, Clemson 132; DeAngelo Brown, Louisville 56; Derrick Nnadi, Florida State 48; Christian Wilkins, Clemson 41; Nazair Jones, North Carolina 31; Patrick Gamble, Georgia Tech 21; Demarcus Christmas, Florida State 15; Josh Banks, Wake Forest 8; Woody Baron, Virginia Tech 7; B.J. Hill, NC State 5; Mike Ramsay, Duke 5; Truman Gutapfel, Boston College 5; A.J. Wolf, Duke 4; Donte Wilkins, Virginia 4.
Ben Boulware, Clemson 149; Keith Kelsey, Louisville 99; Devonte Fields, Louisville 96; Micah Kiser, Virginia 84; Matt Milano, Boston College 49; Ro’Derrick Hoskins, Florida State 20; Zaire Franklin, Syracuse 13; Marquel Lee, Wake Forest 11; Connor Strachan, Boston College 9; P.J. Davis, Georgia Tech 9; Jermaine Grace, Miami 8; Matt Galambos, Pitt 7; Ben Humphreys, Duke 7; Mike Caprara, Pitt 5; Andrew Motuapuaka, Virginia Tech 3; Airius Moore, NC State 3; Brant Mitchell, Georgia Tech 1.
Cordrea Tankersley, Clemson 115; Des Lawrence, North Carolina 62; Marquez White, Florida State 54; DeVon Edwards, Duke 43; M.J. Stewart, North Carolina 33; Shaq Wiggins, Louisville 20; Corn Elder, Miami 19; Brad Watson, Wake Forest 10; Tim Harris, Virginia 7; Breon Borders, Duke 6; Jack Tocho, NC State 5; Avonte Maddox, Pitt 4; Sheldrick Redwine, Miami 4.
Derwin James, Florida State 112; Quin Blanding, Virginia 107; Jordan Whitehead, Pitt 51; Josh Harvey-Clemons, Louisville 37; Rayshawn Jenkins, Miami 18; Chuck Clark, Virginia Tech 11; Donnie Miles, North Carolina 10; John Johnson, Boston College 9; Trey Marshall, Florida State 8; Josh Jones, NC State 6; Ryan Janvion, Wake Forest 5; Deondre Singleton, Duke 4; A.J. Gray, Georgia Tech 2; Antwan Cody, Syracuse 2.
Greg Huegel, Clemson 63; Michael Badgley, Miami 41; Nick Weiler, North Carolina 39; Harrison Butker, Georgia Tech 16; Chris Blewitt, Pitt 12; Joey Slye, Virginia Tech 11; Mike Weaver, Wake Forest 7; Cole Murphy, Syracuse 2.
Justin Vogel, Miami 100; Nicholas Conte, Virginia 60; A.J. Cole III, NC State 20; Ryan Winslow, Pitt 11.
Ryan Switzer, North Carolina 112; DeVon Edwards, Duke 40; Kermit Whitfield, Florida State 16; Corn Elder, Miami 8; Brisly Estime, Syracuse 6; T.J. Logan, North Carolina 4; Nyheim Hines, NC State 3; Michael Walker, Boston College 1; Olamide Zaccheaus, Virginia 1.
SUSAN MILLER DEGNAN
Miami football coach Mark Richt, during a full day scheduled in Bristol, Connecticut for ESPN's Car Wash, spoke with Mike & Mike (photo above tweeted by UM) in the morning. Here are most of the highlights:
You were there when all the legendary quarterbacks were there, who was best one of those?
When Jim [Kelly] and I were seniors you’ll have that first scrimmage of year. You get your ones and twos to scrimmage and then you get your three unit in there. You let your freshman quarterbacks take a drive, right? Vinny [Testaverde] might have been first and he was like bang-bang-bang – like 6 for 6, touchdown. Then Bernie [Kosar] goes in there. Bang-bang-bang-bang, 6 for 6 touchdown. Jim and I looked at each other, like, ‘It’s a good thing we’re getting out of here because those guys are going to take over.’
"Jim Kelly was one of the most fierce competitors and I hate it because he’s the guy who beat me out and lived my life so to speak when I had my dreams of playing at Miami. But he was phenomenal."
How much of it was that you got to go to your alma mater?
"It was big, but when you coach, coaching is tough enough. If you don’t have a chance to win then it’s just not very much fun at all. I wanted to go a place where you can win… Miami can win for sure… To add to it, it was my alma mater and the timing of it was perfect…"
You look back on your experiences. What will you do differently if anything. What will you have learned from Georgia that you will do different here?
"Not a lot different. I think I was the fourth winningest coach in America when I left there. We did some good things. But I truly cherish every moment I was at Georgia. Fifteen years at a place like that – it was a wonderful experience.”
A lot of it is what have you done for me lately…To you, what’s the expectation of getting your team up where everybody talks about them like they’re talking about.. like it used to be in the day?
" …The big thing is recruiting. We’ve got very fertile recruiting ground in the Miami area, the tri-county area of Dade, Broward and Palm Beach County. Miami also traditionally has gotten great players from all over the nation and we’ll continue to do that. Do that, just put in a good, solid fundamental scheme and get after people, just don’t self destruct. Let’s see how great Miami can be if we just take care of business.’’
On the current discussion about the possibility of the elimination of the kickoff in college football, because there is a disproportionate amount of injury on that play vs. others:
" I’ll be honest with you. I’m OK without a kickoff… I’ll say this: For the first 15 years or so of my career, I’m an offensive coordinator. I’m up in the box. I see the game from the box. I’m getting ready to call plays, things of that nature. I go down the next 15 years on the sideline and you sit there and you witness what happens on a kickoff. It’s a violent play and guys are running full speed and you’ve got a bunch of guys that are young and strong and brave and no one is backing down. So, yeah, I think that’s a play I could live without. A lot of people probably are going crazy right now about it, but when you see it up close it makes sense to me."
We are seeing so many changes in the game in the interest of player safety. Where would you put a line between how much you’re willing to change the game of football in the interest of safety and where you get to the point where you say, ‘Look, at the end of the day, this is the game and we’re going to either play it or not?’ How much has the game changed in the interest of keeping players safer?
"I think it has changed a good bit. ...We’re teaching the rugby tackling they do at the Seattle Seahawks. We've bought into taking the helmet out of the tackle.. Manny Diaz, our defensive coordinator, is a believer of it. He’s been doing it for a few years now as a coach. And we think that’s a smart way to play football and we think it’s an effective way to play football."
Regarding communication, in the NFL they use the headsets until 15 seconds in the play clock. In the CFL, they changed to it until now they can talk all the way to the snap and past the snap:
Richt on headsets: "As a QB I would hate that."
And as a coordinator? "I would love it for the first 15 seconds or whatever it is -- call the play and shut it off. But if you’re a quarterback and if you have a coach that’s in your head the whole time trying to tell you what to do as the play is being run you would be crazy. But the ability to get the play in quickly and for that matter a defensive coach could get his play in quickly, I’d be all for that."
Looking ahead, what will you say will constitute a successful first year for you? What do you want to be able to say at the end of this season looking back and say, ‘This was a successful first year for me at the U?’
"I’m not going to put any limits on what we can do. I believe we can win the Coastal and play for the championship and get to that game and anything can happen. Obviously if you win that one, hopefully we’re in the four-team playoff. I’m not going to put a lid on what can happen this year.’’
SUSAN MILLER DEGNAN
Get out your phones, apps and other nifty technology. University of Miami football coach Mark Richt is spending Tuesday in Bristol, Connecticut, on the ESPN campus for its annual "Car Wash.''
You can catch the Hurricanes coach in several ways during the day. He starts off on the Mike and Mike radio show at 8:55 a.m and next will be interviewed live at 9:20 am on SportsCenter.
Also on Richt's schedule:
College Football Live (1:10 p.m.)
Paul Finebaum Show (1:35 p.m.)
Other scheduled appearances, per UM:
12 p.m. Russillo and Kanell
12:20 p.m. Freddie Coleman Radio
12:30 p.m. ESPNU
2 p.m. Highly Questionable
2:15 p.m. Stephen A. Smith Radio Show
2:55 p.m. Jorge and Izzy
SUSAN MILLER DEGNAN
I picked the Miami Hurricanes to win the Coastal Division this year in the Atlantic Coast Conference.
But, hey, you know what they say about No.2.
The ACC just released the results of its ACC Football Kickoff Preseason Poll.
Miami (50 first-place votes), 1,108 total points, was picked in a poll of 191 media members to finish second this season in the Coastal, behind North Carolina (121 first-place votes, 1,238 points).
After that in the Coastal: Pitt (14, 859), Virginia Tech (3, 697), Duke (2, 597), Georgia Tech (1, 588) and Virginia (261 points).
The Atlantic Division's poll results: Clemson (148 first-place votes, 1,293 total points), Florida State (42, 1,176), Louisville (1, 961), NC State (704), Boston College (441), Syracuse (426) and Wake Forest (347).
Also in the voting, Clemson junior quarterback Deshaun Watson overwhelmingly was the choice to repeat as ACC Player of the Year. The Clemson Tigers were predicted to win the ACC title on 144 ballots, followed by FSU with 39 votes and UNC with seven. One voter picked Louisville.
UM quarterback Brad Kaaya tied with Louisville QB Lamar Jackson for fourth with two votes apiece. FSU running back Dalvin Cook finished second behind Watson with 18 votes. UNC running back Elijah Hood finished third with four votes. And Duke cornerback DeVon Edwards got one vote.
These polls mean nothing, but they're fun. And maybe they'll be a tiny bit of motivation for the guys who didn't get the respect they might have deserved.
SUSAN MILLER DEGNAN
The Atlantic Coast Conference announced the launching of a new ACC Network with ESPN on Thursday morning during ACC commissioner John Swofford’s opening news conference.
The network’s “monumental agreement,’’ Swofford said, will be, according to the ESPN/ACC release, “a comprehensive linear and digital network,’’ the news release said. “The 20-year partnership will provide ACC fans unprecedented access to live events via a comprehensive, multi-platform network. It also provides for the extension of the conference’s existing rights agreement with ESPN to 2036.’’
The network will air “450 exclusive live events, including 40 regular-season football games, more than 150 men’s and women’s basketball games, more than 200 other regular-season contests and tournament games from across the conference’s 27 sponsored sports.’’
For basketball fans, the conference will move to 20 men’s ACC basketball games in 2019.
Each of the 14 ACC programs and Notre Dame had representatives on stage during the address. UM women’s basketball coach Katie Meier joined football coach Mark Richt as UM’s reps.
For Meier, the new network will bring much more exposure to her women's team, as most of the major men's games already were televised.
"It’s stunning to me,’’ Meier said of how far women’s basketball has come and how it will be embraced by the network. “I can’t believe I’ve been such a part of such a rise in the sport. I’m humbled by it.”
Meier said she’s “really proud’’ of the ACC. I love the other women’s basketball coaches in this conference… it motivates me. This moment is huge.’’
"For Miami in particular, Meier said the network marks “another huge basic foundation principle that I need for this program to go where I wanted to go. We do want to compete in the Final Four. The national exposure with recruiting is going to be enormous for us.
“…To be able to tell parents, ‘You won’t miss one game. You won’t miss one of your daughter’s game, and not because you have to huddle over a computer back in the corner somewhere. But you can literally turn on a 72 inch TV and see her in HD.'
“That’s awesome for me. And that’s really going to help our program.’’
UM athletic director Blake James told the Miami Herald on Wednesday night, when reports had already surfaced about the new ACC/ESPN network, that it would be a long-awaited advantage for all league members. UM already has made over a major commitment to broadcasting, having produced 114 events for ESPN3 this year.
"This isn't as much about exposure for sports like football and men's basketball because they get great exposure,'' James said. "But when you look at the rest of our programs -- women's basketball, baseball, tennis, track, everything else, this is a real win for them.
"We'll need to elevate a little bit in order to be able to broadcast linear, but for the most part we're ready to go on most of what we do. That was part of my idea behind this investment last year when we did this.
"Between the staffing and equipment and everything, it will be over a $2 million investment we've made.''
SUSAN MILLER DEGNAN
(photo above by sentelevision.com)
The Miami Hurricanes, a football program that espouses family in every way, had a little brother (well, not so little) pledging his allegiance to the Canes last night.
Wide receiver Evidence Njoku, Class of 2017, committed to his big brother's Miami Hurricanes on Monday night.
Big brother David is a UM tight end who can jump sky-high and has impressive hands. David, 6-4 and 245 pounds, is a redshirt sophomore who started four games in 2015 and played in all 13, with 21 catches for 362 yards and a touchdown. Even better: David's 17.2-yards-per-catch led the Hurricanes. Click here to read my profile feature on David, and how he missed his sister's wedding to play against Virginia.
Evidence was at Camp Paradise this past weekend. He's listed as 6-4 and 195 pounds.
The Njokus are from Cedar Grove, N.J. (shout out to fellow N.J. natives!)
Evidence is a three-star receiver ranked by 247Sports as the No. 80 wideout nationally and No. 12 prospect in New Jersey.
Incidentally, Evidence has transferred from Cedar Grove High to Wayne Hills High. Long-time Canes fans know that Wayne Hills High is where the Olsen brothers (Greg, Christian and former Hurricane Kevin) are from, and where their dad, Chris, coached for many years.
SUSAN MILLER DEGNAN
Former Miami Hurricane great, Dallas Cowboy and St. Thomas Aquinas Raider Michael Irvin (picture above is his twitter photo) -- the Pro Football Hall of Fame receiver known as "The Playmaker' -- joined Marc Hochman, Channing Crowder and Zach Krantz to talk about this past weekend's Paradise Camp at UM and Canes football.
And, as usual, he was completely engaging.
Irvin, 50, was one of several former Canes megastars who were guest speakers or helped coach dozens of top-rated recruits on Saturday night.
His son, Michael Irvin II, recently arrived at UM as a tight end out of St. Thomas (learn all about Michael II in my feature on him and Sam Bruce by clicking here).
Here are some excerpts I transcribed from this evening's interview on WQAM:
On Richt and the program in general: "Honestly, I love the direction we’re headed in. Let’s be real here… in those [glory] days we were an offensive minded football team. We have so many offensive gifts in and around our area of football. Having Mark Richt getting back to that, that offensive mind where we become quarterback U all over again, I just love it. I love being around him, I love the way he’s putting things together as far as really pointing towards let’s all come back to what we used to be...He's bringing back the essence of family and that's a great thing."
On it seeming like the UM players, the program, are having fun again: "You think you can win with three yards and a cloud of dust in Miami? Man, there’s too much going on in Miami for that. I'm talking about winning on the field, winning in the stands, winning with everybody and everywhere. It’s back to having fun."
On seeing his son on Greentree Field: "I can’t tell you what that meant for me... I’m looking over and I remember when I was 18, 19 years old on this field. Now he has my name on the back of his shirt over there coaching the tight ends and then he’d throw me the football and I was like, 'Oh my God. This is heaven.' I didn’t want to leave.''
On bringing the swag back in a changing world of football and beyond: "You can’t do what we used to do at UM but [you can] still have success. We don’t ever want to do anything to hurt our team, and certainly in the midst of trying to win a game and anything that reflects poorly on the families. [But] get this now: having fun winning -- ain’t nothing against the law with that. There's no rules against that.…If you take pride in how you play out here on this practice field, when you hit game day all of that will come through. One guy makes a play, you start that attitude, the stuff that’s contagious. There's nothing illegal with that...
"I tell them like Jimmy told us, 'Man do me this: You just win! We'll deal with what comes with it. You just win no matter what. Don’t worry about what everybody says. If we win we’ll deal with all that other stuff that comes with people talking about this, talking about it. Now, you don’t want to do anything that keeps putting your your team 15 yards back and giving you penalties, but if you win, all of that other stuff takes care of itself… Its too hard of a game not to have fun. That’s what separates the very, very good [from] the very, very great. You’ve got to enjoy what you’re doing.''
Regarding the "swag'' topic, Irvin indicated that today's players need "to be cognizant'' and sensitive about making sure they don't do some of the things that he and other former UM players might have done in the past.
"With all of these shootings,'' Irvin said, "I don’t want to see you go out there [with] blazing guns and shooting , without sensitivity of what’s going on. But football is an escape from a lot of the issues that we deal with everyday. And it also is our greatest truth of growth. We see these issues we have but that’s what makes a locker room so great. You’ve got all these different people from different backgrounds, different races, but we have one goal in mind: that’s being the best team.
"That’s what we need in this country, one goal in mind. Let’s be the best country and stop [being] divided with all this mess we’re going through."
SUSAN MILLER DEGNAN
The University of Miami football team just announced a "year-long partnership with the American Youth Football League (AYFL)'' for youth 13 and younger in Broward County.
And leave it to head coach Mark Richt to be right in the middle of it, spreading his community service and good will and ultimately leaving South Floridians, in turn, feeling good about Hurricanes football.
In UM's release, it said the partnership begins at 6:30 Monday at PAL Field in Plantation with the first of two coaches' clinics. Richt and other assistants will be there to instruct AYFL youth coaches.
"I couldn't be more excited about this partnership,'' Richt said in the release. "Through this partnership, we will be able to give kids and coaches the proper instruction they need to help advance their skills. This is a great opportunity to get out into the community and speak to some of our youth football programs in the AYFL. I'm looking forward to this clinic and to visiting other youth teams in parks throughout the tri-county area in the near future.''
The partnership, UM said, "will provide coaches of the AYFL with a customized concussion protocol in collaboration with UHealth Sports Medicine to assist coaches with overall safety.''
Members of the AYFL will attend the Canes' game against FAU on Sept. 10 as part of the partnership.
SUSAN MILLER DEGNAN
Zack Collins was named as the recipient of the 2016 Johnny Bench Award honoring the nation’s top collegiate catcher Thursday at the 19th Annual Greater Wichita Sports Banquet.
Collins, who was selected by the Chicago White Sox in the first round of the 2016 Major League Baseball First-Year Player Draft in early June, is the first University of Miami representative to win the award, which was created in 2000.
Collins beat out finalists Logan Ice (Oregon State) and Keith Skinner (North Florida) for the honor.
The Pembroke Pines native, who earned first-team All-America honors from Baseball America, D1Baseball, NCBWA, Perfect Game and Rawlings, delivered another dominant season swinging the bat and behind the plate in 2016.
Collins batted .363 for the season, leading Miami with 16 home runs and 59 RBI to go along with a nation-leading total of 78 walks. He reached base at a .544 clip, the second-highest in the country, and recorded a team-high .668 slugging percentage.
A back-to-back All-ACC First-Team selection, Collins started 62 of a possible 64 games, including 59 starts behind the plate. He just four errors as a key member of a Miami defense that tied for first nationally with a .983 fielding percentage.
Collins, who signed a professional contract with the White Sox as the No. 10 overall pick last week, ended the season ranked third among active players in career home runs (42), third in career RBI (183) and first in career walks (177).
In Collins’ three seasons with the Hurricanes, Miami won two ACC regular season championships (2014, 2016) and three straight ACC Coastal Division titles (2014-16), and made two trips to the College World Series (2015, 2016).
By Michelle Kaufman
Like all college basketball fans, University of Miami coaches Katie Meier and Jim Larranaga were deeply saddened to wake up Tuesday to the news that legendary University of Tennessee coach Pat Summitt had died at age 64.
"I didn't know her personally. I viewed her and her career from afar," said Larranaga. "I thought of her as the Dr. James Naismith of women's college basketball. She put women's basketball on the map. She was the dominant coach for the first 20 years after Title IX."
Meier did know Summitt well, and had this to say:
"Pat Summitt was such an iconic figure in our sport. She just elevated every conversation, clinic or recruiting event. She always reminded the younger coaches to `act right' and to lead with strength and compassion. She inspired a generation of female competitors who will continue to give back."
Back in 2011, when the then-No. 7 Hurricanes played No. 3 Tennessee, Meier was asked about Summitt.
She said: "I could spend two hours on that. She is obviously the best at her profession. When Pat wins, women's basketball's happy. They (Summitt and her staff) have been so helpful. They're cheering for you, supporting you. If you want to come to a practice, they let you. They're all about women's basketball, especially Coach Summitt.
"I've been lucky enough to have exposure to them and how they operate. I hope everyone in our profession appreciates it. I have a ton of respect and owe a lot of my career to Tennessee, their generosity. If I needed an out of bounds play, I could call (then-assistant) Holly (Warwick) or Coach Summitt right now and they’d give me an out of bounds play to make me a better coach. That’s what they’re in it for, opportunity for young players, and coaches. I wish I’d see more of it in the sport. It is rare and a wonderful thing that they’ve been headliners this whole time for women’s basketball.’’
By Michelle Kaufman
Former University of Miami guard Sheldon McClellan confirmed Friday that he has a partial contract offer from the Washington Wizards that he will sign when he reports to camp on July 1.
McClellan, 6-6, was not selected in the NBA Draft on Thursday night, but had interest from several teams.
Hurricane teammate Angel Rodriguez also got good news on Friday. He was invited by the San Antonio Spurs to Summer League.
"All I need is an opportunity, I'll take care of the rest," Rodriguez said. "I'm always going to bet on myself, that's for sure!"
Tonye Jekiri was still weighing his options.
By Michelle Kaufman
Former University of Miami guard Sheldon McClellan watched the NBA draft from his home in Houston, and like so many talented college basketball players, was not among the players chosen Thursday night.
But, reached at 1 a.m., he said he was awaiting word from his agent about a contract, possibly with the Washington Wizards, one of the 11 teams he worked out for in the past month. The Wizards had shown a lot of interest, and let it be known they'd be interested in signing him if he went undrafted. He would join the team for the summer league, which begins the second week of July.
Asked if it was a nerve-wracking night, McClellan replied: "No, not at all. I'm excited about the opportunity and blessed to even be considered. I have several options in front of me right now, so I'm in great shape."
McClellan, 6-6, was projected on some mock drafts as a late second-round pick. He did well at he NBA draft combine. One of the only knocks on him is his age. He will turn 24 in December, and the trend is for NBA teams to go with younger players.
McClellan's UM teammates Angel Rodriguez and Tonye Jekiri also were undrafted. Both also got looks from many NBA clubs and could land in the summer league or overseas.
After covering the University of Miami baseball program this season, I was very surprised that it ended the way it did. I truly thought this year the Hurricanes would get closer than ever, and perhaps all the way, to their dream of a fifth national title.
More than anyone, the players did, too.
The College World Series and the first part of the tournament leading up to it have been fascinating: teams many of us didn't know much about breaking the hearts of nationally heralded baseball programs -- Louisville getting slammed by UC Santa Barbara, the same team that eliminated the Hurricanes; No.1 Florida falling to Coastal Carolina in their opener; and on and on and on.
This team should be lauded, nonetheless, for a tremendous 50-14 season.
The Canes have been a truly close-knit group of guys with talent across the board, great attitudes, and an overriding team spirit.
When I look at the NCAA national rankings going into Monday's final game, it's still amazing to me that Miami was NOT in the top 10 of any national team category except sacrifice bunts (fourth -- and here come the groans, though I disagree with those groans), fielding percentage (No. 1 until maybe today, not sure because they haven't been posted yet) and obviously win-loss percentage (second, with a .794).
Watching this team play defense was a beautiful thing.
Watching it overcome so many deficits gave those who followed the team a sense that no deficit would be a problem.
But I didn't get that feeling in the College World Series.
Nerves? Probably, no matter how many times they said they'd been there before. Doesn't matter. This stage was different, and as coach Jim Morris accurately said, every team in this tournament was hot. No matter how great, good or mediocre a team is, if it isn't hot at the end of the season it doesn't get to Omaha. Miami was hot all season. To only lose two games in a row once until this week is nothing short of excellent.
Pitching? Surprisingly sub-par. Michael Mediavilla, dominant all season (despite sometimes starting out a bit rough), imploded. But guess what? The guy is back next year and there's no reason to think he won't be as good or better.
Defense? Shaky a few times.
Hitting? The Canes just didn't come through with the timely hits they needed in a setting where everyone, again, is either super talented or super hot. That first game against Arizona was especially mind-boggling, as 14 Hurricanes struck out -- eight looking at third strikes. That ump calling balls and strikes was absolutely atrocious, but especially because of that, you've got to swing if the ball is anywhere near you can make decent contact.
Coaching? Jim Morris, J.D. Arteaga, Gino DiMare are all excellent coaches -- and J.D. and Gino can flat-out recruit. Morris has more than 1,500 career victories (more than 1,000 in Coral Gables) and has gotten UM to Omaha 13 times since 1994 -- that's 13 times in 23 seasons at Miami with a sport that divvies 11.7 full scholarships to its players. If you don't get scholarship money and don't qualify for an academic scholarship, that means you have to pay the approximately $60,000 room and board. It's a lot less expensive to pay for that room and board at Florida or Florida State. It's a lot more challenging to do at UM what you can do at UF or FSU, simply by the amount of bodies from which you have to choose. Morris has two more seasons coaching at UM, before he's replaced by coach-in-waiting DiMare, an intelligent man and a talented hitting coach.
Regarding Monday's game, however, I would not have put Peter Crocitto in to pinch-hit -- despite the pinch-hitter from UCSB (Sam Cohen) who crushed Louisville with that grand slam to get into the CWS and the kid from Long Beach State (Jeff Nellis) who was batting .095 before hitting the pinch-hit homer against Bryan Garcia in the regional. Crocitto finished the 2016 campaign batting .218 by hitting into a season-ending double play. Too risky at way too crucial a point for my taste. Maybe Morris knows something we didn't, but I would have left in Barr, who had an RBI-single in UM's losing effort against Arizona.
So on to next season, which looks pretty good to me at a quick glance.
Not sure about all the once prospective signees who instead have signed or will sign to play with Major League Baseball organizations after the draft, and also wondering if Jacob Heyward (242. batting average and drafted in the 18th round by San Francisco Giants), a phenomenal outfielder who struggled at the plate but has great power and potential, will return for his senior season; as well as infielder Johnny Ruiz (.342 batting average and drafted in the 28th round by Houston).
But here are some names to feel really good about heading into next season: infielder Randy Batista (.272), center fielder Carl Chester (.336), third baseman Edgar Michelangeli (.269 clutch hitter), first baseman Barr (.256) -- and an outstanding pitching staff in Mediavilla (11-2, 3.40 ERA), Andrew Cabezas (3-1, 5.07 and only getting better) and a bullpen gem in Frankie Bartow (6-0, 2.72), who will likely begin 2017 as the closer. If Jesse Lepore's shoulder injury doesn't necessitate surgery (I have no idea of his prognosis at this second), he is another standout (9-0, 2.20) who will be returning. Then there's Devin Meyer and Keven Pimentel among other pitchers. Talented sidewinder Cooper Hammond is recovering from major surgery and might not be able to return in time for next season, Morris previously said. Enrique Sosa, who also has major surgery to start the season, has one more season of eligibility.
Those who didn't get much playing time, such as Romy Gonzalez and catcher Joe Gomez, are also expected to produce next season.
Unless you win the College World Series, every season ends on a down note. But at least to me, the 2016 Miami Hurricanes -- no matter how upset and frustrated they might be now -- had a season of which to be proud.
SUSAN MILLER DEGNAN
Here's a report by recruiting correspondent Peter Ariz on Mark Richt's chat with the media Saturday morning... (picture above by Peter)
On the third day of the Mark Richt Football Camp on the University of Miami campus, Miami’s coach spoke about the impact of social media on recruiting and assessed how the south Florida recruiting base compares to Georgia’s.
Richt, who was one of the most successful recruiters in the country during his time in Athens, Georgia as the Bulldogs’ coach, believes that the two areas are more comparable than people might realize.
“There’s a lot more similarities than difference, in my opinion,” said Richt. “Even the Metro Atlanta area is similar to the tri-county area here as far as number of prospects, proximity to your school – you’re always going to have a certain percentage that want to go to your school and you’re going to have a certain percentage that just flat out want to go away from home and you’re going to have the ones in the middle that we will battle for.”
As far as the types of prospects that the Miami staff targets, Coach Richt said there are a certain criteria that they look for in terms of “a height, weight, maybe not necessarily always a 40, but speed, and agility.” If a recruit does not fit exactly what they want, that is not the end of the line in Richt’s eyes.
“Now if a guy is a little shorter than you want him to be, then he’s got to be a little more dynamic. I’ve had great receivers this tall and I’ve had great receivers that tall. So I’m not going to say a receiver has got to be 6-foot or 6’3”, or a guy has to run a 4.6 or 4.4,” said Richt.
“If a guy doesn’t quite fit the criteria you have, he’s gotta be a highly productive guy or a guy that has the growth potential to become what you want him to become.”
The emergence of social media has changed recruiting in many ways, but Richt explained that it is a part of the evaluation process for his staff.
“If he’s a guy that we are highly interested in, or we’ve offered, or he’s committed, we watch it very closely,” said Richt.
“I’ve let guys go – at Georgia, there was a kid we had committed and he had stuff on there that really wasn't good. He was representing us so we told him ‘don’t do that’ and then he ‘yes sirred’ us and changed his little handle or whatever you wanna call it and kept doing the same thing. Apparently he didn’t care about what we were saying so we told him we were moving on.”
Richt says that his coaches speak to the recruit’s “head coach, position coach, if they have a strength coach, a team chaplain, the principal, a counselor, teachers in class” and added, “if there’s something you need to find out then you probably will.”
Although a roster full of high character student-athletes is what Richt is striving for at Miami, he understands that no kid is perfect. He explained how they try to prevent issues from arising.
“We try to capture the heart of our guys and tell them we love them. Any rule we have is really based on trying to help you be great. Help you be a great father, husband, citizen, college football player, whatever their desires are,” said Richt. “If they know our motivations then I think they respond well. Rules have never made people behave. Laws have never made people behave. Usually you make good decisions based on what you have in your heart.”
University of Miami football coach Mark Richt just spoke to a group of reporters at the intramural fields on campus, where UM is hosting the first annual Mark Richt Football Camp through Sunday.
Our Peter Ariz was on the scene, reporting about the camp and Richt.
Here's the key news before we add quotes from Richt:
*** Running back Mark Walton, who was suspended indefinitely after being arrested for DUI in April, is, said Richt, "still on the team, working out, and going to school." Richt said if there's any more news to report regarding Walton, he'll let us know.
Please note that Walton has still not gone to court yet, and still could be suspended for the opener or beyond, but nothing has been announced about any punishment.
*** Richt also addressed his $1 million pledge toward construction of the indoor practice facility for football, though he didn't actually say "$1 million.'' When the Miami Herald asked about his "$1 million'' donation, however, Richt said it was important people knew that he was "all in'' on Miami and that it was important for people to know he is "not going anywhere.''
*** Richt also spoke about his 7-on-7 football camp, and about 7-on-7 satellite camps.
More to come.
SUSAN MILLER DEGNAN
and PETER ARIZ
Miami Hurricanes right-handed pitcher Frankie Bartow, who came up big this season as the set-up man for UM career saves leader Bryan Garcia, was just named a Louisville Slugger Freshman All-American.
Bartow, who is as smiley and good-natured as he is talented, has a team-high 39 appearances out of the bullpen in 2016. It should be noted that going into the postseason, Bartow's 36 appearances was ranked fourth nationally. He is 5-0 with a 2.76 ERA, his five wins being the most for any UM relief pitcher.
The Miami native has 27 strikeouts compared to eight walks. Bartow was one of 15 relief pitchers nationwide selected for the honor, and one of eight players from the ACC.
Bartow was the pitcher that made an outstanding defensive play on a hard-hit ball up the middle and fired to third base to prevent a would-be run in the Hurricanes' final regional victory -- then threw wild to first base on a failed pickoff attempt to bring home the tying run for Long Beach State. Hey, he's only a freshman. All in a good night's learning.
Bottom line: Bartow is really talented, and is expected to be looked at first to replace Garcia as the team's closer next season.
Bartow joins Michael Mediavilla (2015), Zack Collins (2014) and Bryan Garcia (2014) as current Hurricanes who were Louisville Slugger All-Americans.
For the full release from Collegiate Baseball Newspaper, click HERE.
SUSAN MILLER DEGNAN
Just announced by the NCAA: The Miami Hurricanes will play Boston College in its NCAA super regional best-of-three game series from Friday through Sunday at Mark Light Field, with the opening game at 5 p.m. Friday on ESPNU.
The Saturday and Sunday games are scheduled for noon, with Sunday's game only if necessary. Saturday's game will be on ESPNU and Sunday's game, if necessary, would be on ESPNU or ESPN2.
The third-ranked Canes (48-11), who won the Coral Gables Regional late Sunday, already knew they were to face fellow Atlantic Coast Conference member Boston College (34-20) in the super regional. But they were waiting to see if the next round would be Friday through Sunday or Saturday through Monday.
The winner of the eight super regionals around the country advance to the College World Series in Omaha, Nebraska.
Boston College, the No. 3 seed in the Oxford, Mississippi regional this past weekend, will face Miami for the first time since March 2014, when UM swept the three-game series. Miami is 18-6 all-time against the Eagles.
Despite three super regional spots still to be determined, as games have stretched into Tuesday, the NCAA nonetheless made the schedule and host announcement on Tuesday morning.
For ticket information to the super regionals, go to hurricanesports.com.
SUSAN MILLER DEGNAN
Leave it to Mark Light Shake to come up with an appropriate, and likely delicious, new conconction for the baseball postseason that begins with the Coral Gables Regional on Friday, when No. 2 seed FAU (38-17) meets No. 3 seed Long Beach State (36-20) at 1 p.m. and No. 3 national seed Miami (45-11) meets No. 4 seed Stetson (29-29).
The vanilla shake, shown in the picture above, is graced with a churro stick that looks a lot like the bat that UM third baseman Edgar Michelangeli held straight up in the air before he flipped it to run the bases as he watched his three-run homer sail over the left-field fence to put UM ahead for good last week against NC State in the ACC Tournament. I must admit, I became an instant Michelangeli fan watching the flip.
When I asked Michelangeli what life has been like since "The Bat Flip Heard 'Round the World,'' here's what he said:
"Obviously it's been fun. I've tried to keep it lighthearted and not really think about the home run because we still have games to play. I had fun the next day. All my teammates were joking about it. But it's time to move on and play regionals now.''
What were you thinking when you did that, Edgar?
"I don't think I was thinking much,'' he said with a grin. "It was just reaction. I had high emotions. I was very excited. It just happened.''
We have a very strong feeling that a LOT of Bat Flip Shakes will be sold this weekend at The Light.
You paying attention, Edgar?
KUDOS to GINO AND J.D.
While you're in the reading mood, please check out this story on long-time Hurricanes' assistants J.D. Arteaga and Gino DiMare, both former players and both top-notch coaches. Thanks to our Michael Stern, who has done a great job in his internship with us and is off to the Cape Cod League to do some broadcasting this summer. We'll miss him! Follow him @michaeljstern23
DANNY GARCIA STARTING FOR CANES
UM announced it will start left-handed junior Danny Garcia (9-3, 3.62 ERA), the usual Sunday afternoon starter during the regular season, against Stetson on Friday in its regional opener.
Stetson will start right-handed junior ace Mitchell Jordan (6-5, 4.07), who starred last summer in the Cape Cod League with an 8-1 record and 0.20 ERA as the Cape Cod Pitcher of the Year.
"I'm very privileged to get the rock tomorrow and just keep grinding,'' Garcia told reporters, including the Herald's McPherson, on Thursday. "Last year I pitched Game 4 and I got it done. This year, hopefully I get it done Game 1.''
Canes catcher Zack Collins was among 25 amateur baseball players selected as semifinalists for the 2016 Gold Spikes Award, USA Baseball announced Wednesday.
Collins lead the third-ranked Hurricanes in home runs (12), RBI (52), on-base percentage (.540), slugging percentage (.630) and leads the nation in walks with 66. His on-base percentage, the stat coach Jim Morris treasures, is second in the nation.
Collins became the first Miami player to earn back-to-back spots on the All-ACC first team since Jon Jay in 2005 and 2006.
BRANDON LOPEZ HONORED
Hurricanes senior shortstop Brandon Lopez was named a semifinalist for the Brooks Wallace Award that goes to the top shortstop in the nation. Lopez, known for his great fielding and this season for extraordinary hitting (he's batting .388 with 13 doubles and 41 RBI) has made only five errors in 131 attempts (.975) in 2016.
He has recorded career-bests with 73 hits, 43 runs scored, the 13 doubles, two home runs and the 41 RBI. He is slugging .489 and has an on-base percentage of .454.
He'll be one of several Hurricanes drafted next week.
Here's this to help you keep organized:
— Hurricanes Baseball (@CanesBaseball) May 31, 2016
Finally, here's some ticket information if you plan on going this weekend:
You can go online at hurricanesports.com, or call the ticket office at 1-800-GO-CANES.
Field Box -- $120.
Chairback Reserved -- $90.
General Admission: $60 adults, $45 youth/seniors.
Field Box -- $25 (pending availability. Only general admission seating is expected to be available on a single-session basis.)
Chairback Reserved -- $20 (pending availability, same as above)
General Admission -- $12 adults, $8 youth/seniors.
Students -- Free with CaneCard.
Parking is free in the Ponce de Leon garage, located beyond the right field wall of Mark Light Field. Fans are encouraged to arrive early because of events at the BankUnited Center.
SUSAN MILLER DEGNAN
UM baseball fans: Tune in to ESPNU at noon to tomorrow to watch the field of 64 announced for the NCAA Division I Baseball Tournament, which begins locally on Friday, June 3, at Mark Light Field in Coral Gables.
UM, which had the nation's No. 3 RPI as of Sunday, will learn tomorrow what it is seeded nationally for the tournament. The Canes will also learn the other three teams coming to Coral Gables next weekend, and who they would meet in a super regional (which also would be in Coral Gables) should they win their regional.
As I said below in my story, the 44 consecutive years of postseason berths by Miami baseball represents the longest active NCAA postseason streak for any collegiate sport.
That is incredibly impressive.
My story is below. I'll be at UM tomorrow for the NCAA announcement.
Time for a fresh coat of white paint to change “43” to “44” on the University of Miami dugout – as in “NCAA RECORD 44 STRAIGHT TOURNAMENTS.”
Though it was no surprise, on Sunday night the NCAA announced Alex Rodriguez Park’s Mark Light Field in Coral Gables as one 16 national sites to host an NCAA baseball regional next weekend in the first round of the Division I Baseball Tournament.
The 44 consecutive years of postseason berths by Miami baseball represents the longest active NCAA postseason streak for any collegiate sport.
Now, the only surprises will be what national seed the third-ranked Hurricanes (45-11, 21-7 Atlantic Coast Conference) will be deemed, the other three teams coming to Coral Gables and who the Canes might meet at Mark Light for the super regional should they win their regional.
The full field of 64 teams and the tournament’s national seeds will be announced live on ESPNU at noon Monday.
“It’s crazy,’’ UM coach Jim Morris said last Monday before leaving for the ACC Tournament, in which the Canes won their first two games but were eliminated by Florida State (No. 12 RPI) in the third. “There are so many in a row I hardly think about it anymore. I just don’t want to be the coach when it ends.
“Whenever it does end, it may never be matched again.’’
One team the Hurricanes will not meet in the regional or super regional is No. 4 Florida, which will host the first round in Gainesville and as of Sunday had the No. 1 RPI in the nation. Miami had the nation’s No. 3 RPI. The Canes lost two of three to Florida this season and were eliminated by the Gators in last year’s College World Series.
The FAU Owls (38-17) of Boca Raton, ranked as high as 13th by Baseball America, will not host because their stadium isn’t big enough to accommodate a regional. The Owls, who went 1-2 in the Conference USA tournament as the No. 1 seed, are not expected to come to Coral Gables. FAU last week was projected by Baseball America as the No. 1 seed in the Long Beach, California, regional and by D1 Baseball as the No. 1 seed in the Tempe, Arizona regional.
Last year, the Canes earned the No. 5 national seed of eight awarded, before going on to win the regional and super regional. They went 1-2 at the CWS in Omaha.
Miami won national titles in 1982, 1985, 1999 and 2001 – the latter two won by Morris, who has made it to Omaha in 12 of his 22 seasons in Coral Gables.
“Hosting is huge,’’ Morris said. “It’s something we work at all year and we talk about all year. It’s a nice feeling to put ourselves in this position because you earn that spot, and our guys certainly have done that this season.”
Outfielder Jacob Heyward said it was “great to be at home for the regional,’’ but added that he rarely thinks about the advantage of hosting.
“We just want to play,’’ Heyward said.
The College World Series begins June 18 and will end either June 28 or 29.
SUSAN MILLER DEGNAN
If you're a UM fan, you've got to respect a coach (and a program's first-year coach, at that) for not just urging others to get on board by supporting the program above and beyond -- as in $$$$$$$ -- but doing it himself. Here's my story on when/where Mark Richt actually revealed his $1 million pledge toward the indoor practice facility project, and the bottom line of why the AD knows the facility is necessary -- with Richt comments from Pro Day added.
The University of Miami indoor football practice facility project just got a nice boost from the man closest to the Miami Hurricanes.
Nice, as in $1 million.
UM football coach Mark Richt told a group of about 50 “very supportive individuals’’ at a private dinner after UM’s #Building Champions Spring Tour in Chicago last Thursday that he was donating $1 million toward the facility, a source at the private dinner told the Miami Herald.
UM athletic director Blake James confirmed that Richt is giving a donation but wouldn’t divulge details.
“I know Mark is going to make a gift to the project,’’ James told the Herald on Wednesday. “When we finalize it we’ll make an announcement.”
The donation was first reported by Canesport.com.
James wouldn’t give a timetable for breaking ground or announcing a major leadership donation by someone who would get his or her name on the building.
“There’s a lot of energy and excitement about the project,’’ James said, “but until we do get the gift there isn’t anything to announce. We don’t put timetables on gifts.’’
When Richt mentioned the donation at the dinner, the guests were apparently thrilled.
“You can imagine the reaction,’’ the source said. “Everyone was extremely impressed. Everyone clapped. People hollered. It was impressive.’’
The source said Richt “spoke to the dinner crowd about his commitment to the program, about his commitment to those young men and the major needs of the program, including the indoor facility.’’
The #BuildingChampions Spring Tour, separate from the dinner, was at the Knickerbocker Hotel.
Richt, in his first year at Miami, makes more than $4 million, though UM is a private school and does not disclose his contract details.
Multiple sources familiar with the indoor facility plans previously told the Herald that coaches have been informing prospective recruits about the facility and that renderings of the project, which has yet to break ground and even officially be announced by UM, have been made available to current players by Richt.
The indoor practice facility, which James told the Herald has “been No.<TH>1 on my list for a year and a half,’’ will be large enough to enclose a regulation-size football field.
It will include a weight room and coaches’ offices and is expected to extend from the current weight room housed in the Schwartz Center for Athletic Excellence near the outdoor practice fields. Initial costs will be between $20 and $30 million.
UM is the only Atlantic Coast Conference school without an indoor facility and one of the only major programs in the country not to have one.
James told the Herald last month that the biggest safety concern is lightning, which often strikes repeatedly in Miami’s tropical climate, wreaking havoc on practice.
Every time UM’s lightning alarm goes off, the players are required to go inside for at least 30 minutes.
“It’s not temperatures that we’re looking to get out of,’’ James said. “And obviously you have to play in the rain. For us, it’s getting out of the lightning.”
Speaking of rain, the many Hurricanes who performed in front of NFL representatives on UM Pro Day -- its combine at Greentree Field -- were undoubtedly hampered by torrential rain that day. They kept performing because they had no choice, but an indoor facility would have been a blessing at that point.
"It was sad, really,'' Richt, who attended the UM combine, told reporters the next day. "It was sad that it was a downpour at the moment they needed to be able to show what they could do.
"They fought through the adversity, and I think the pro scouts appreciated and saw that. I did like how they handled adversity. That's part of the evaluation process. [But] not to have a place where they could have the type of day that they've been working so hard for, for so long -- not only from the end of the season to now, but really their whole life they're waiting for that opportunity -- was just tough on them.''
SUSAN MILLER DEGNAN