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Clemente, Gilbert part ways with The U

The University of Miami men's basketball team parted ways Monday with two players -- point guard Denis Clemente and freshman forward Lawrence Gilbert.

ClementeAnd truth be told, it's the two I expected. In this blog back on March 15 in the UM basketball season wrap-up I told you how the program had 15 players who could potentially have ended up on the team next season. With only 13 scholarships available something had to give. Clemente, who was suspended twice, doomed himself. And Gilbert, whom Haith told me numerous times couldn't figure his way in the system, simply played himself out of the plan. Gilbert likely will not take long finding a new team. Clemente may take some time. His recent run into trouble off the court could scare away some schools.

So, ultimately what does Clemente's loss mean for the basketball team next year? Point guard just became the biggest question mark on the team and the position is going to be run by either an incoming freshman in Edwin Rios or a converted shooting guard in Jack McClinton.

McclintondribbleHaith told me after the ACC tournament he felt confident McClinton could make the switch from shooting guard to the point with some coaching and even compared him to one of his former players at Wake Forest who did the same. While McClinton showed he was capable of running the point briefly at the ACC tournament, he's still going to need to work a lot on his ballhandling skills. At times this season, Haith said McClinton often overdribbled causing him to the turn the ball over. Rios, on the other hand, has been a scoring point guard for most of his high school career. It should be interesting to see how the situation develops.

Of course, there is still an oustide chance another backcourt player could be brought in too. As it stands, UM has just four guards expected to be on the team next year -- James Dews and JUCO recruit Lance Hurdle being the others. Small forward Brian Asbury can count as a fifth option, especially if Haith wants to go big.

Ultimately, if Anthony King is not granted an extra year of eligibility -- we'll find out next month -- UM would have another scholarship in hand. And I know for a fact Haith and his assistants have not stopped recruiting just in case there are any other departures.

Stay tuned for developments.

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