I realize the next few months are going to be awfully slow newswise around The U. So, I'm hoping to keep this blog going with Q&A sessions for most of the summer. My first one is with incoming point guard Edwin Rios, who hooked up with coveted '08 recruit Devin Ebanks while Ebanks made his visit to Miami over the weekend.
Among the highlights: Rios says he's been working out with Dee Brown in Orlando, perfecting his craft and has become close with Jack McClinton, potentially his biggest competition for the starting point guard duties. Rios, once rated in the top 10 nationally among recruits, averaged 25.5 ppg, 7.9 rpg, 5.7 apg, 3.0 spg his senior season at Miami High. Enjoy.
Q: What have you been up to since the end of the high school season?
A: Basically working on my grades and trying to finish strong my last semester. I have everything right to get to college. I've been working out, trying to get ready for UM. Trying to help the team out. I've been working out in cycles, doing a lot of biometrics, corp training and weights to get bigger and stronger for the next level. I've been going to Orlando, working out with Dee Brown, the former player for the Celtics, the former Slam Dunk Champion. I've been going up to his sports complex and put in a lot of work you know, just trying to get better and see how far the team will go next year.
Q: What specifically have you been doing with Dee Brown?
A: We've been doing a lot of what he calls cleaning up my game what that is trying to take out any unnecessary things that I don't need, extra dribbles or my release. I make everything a little bit quicker so players don't have a chance to react to whatever I do and can't read me and stuff. I've been working on my shooting form and my release. We've been working on dribbling, making double moves and crossovers behind the back. It's a lot of good stuff. Also, he has trainers up there that I've been doing corps stuff with them. And this summer I'll be up there with Jeremiah Rivers from Georgetown. He's been my boy since the sixth grade. There's a lot of good stuff going on this summer.
Here is some video Rios working out with Dee Brown (via YouTube).
Q: As far as your health is concerned, I know you were battling some foot injuries, how healthy are you now?
A: Pretty healthy right now. I haven't had any injuries. I'm getting a lot of elevation, getting my speed back, attacking the basket. My lateral movement is back. So, it's a matter of time, plus with all the workouts we've been doing with squatting and lunges and all that stuff, I really don't see any problems I have.
Q: What have you talked about with Coach Haith since the news came out that Denis Clemente would no longer be on the team? What has he talked to you about? Obviously it has to speed up your growth process. I know you wanted to come in right away and start but the fact you guys might be a little shorthanded at point guard does that worry you?
A: Of course if Denis was there it would have been a lot better for me having that competition to play with and help me mature more. Also, his speed. But those things happen. Players get hurt or what not and you got to deal with it. Coach Haith told me not to worry about it. To go in there and play a lot of minutes. I just got to be a team leader and pick up things a lot faster than I would have if he was still there.
Q: I know there are thoughts Jack McClinton could play some point guard too. Not that you guys have a ton of guards anyway, but Jack is a guy who did pretty well at shooting guard and could now play some at the point. Are you looking forward to the competition with him?
A: I have. Wherever you go your going to have good competition if you're a good team. When you compete you're going to get better. You know me and Jack are real close. We've hung out a couple times and it's all part of the energy we have over there. I push him and he pushes me. That's how it works and how we get better.
Q: How often have you gone over to UM since the basketball season ended?
A: I've been over there I'd say like 8 to 10 times in the open gym and stuff like that. I just go to hang out and make a bond with the team, get some confidence with them. Most of the time I go by myself. I'll have Jack call me or Dwayne [Collins] and we'll go work out and then we'll have open gym. I'll stay, hang out and talk about next year and what we're looking forward to.
Q: What are you looking forward to most next season?
A: Basically trying to win games, trying to see what I can do to make the team better and make Miami basketball a known power. I'm very excited to see what the future has in store for me in college, see what happens.
Q: As far as your graduation with Miami High, have you met all your requirements?
A: Yes. Everything is good. I'm just waiting for time to go by. I only have a few more weeks. I'm preparing for finals. I've already passed the SAT, I've passed the FCAT and all that. I did get enough. If I wouldn't have passed the FCAT, my SAT scores would have replaced it. I did what I had to do. It's long gone.
Q: How much have you spoken to the other incoming freshman, Freddy Asprilla and Julian Gamble?
A: I haven't really heard from Freddy since the nationals. Julian Gamble I think I spoke to him when he came down for his visit a couple months ago. He sounded very excited and told me he's been working on his game. He looks a lot better. He looks a little bit stronger, a little bit slimmer. He's very excited.
Q: Devin Ebanks was visiting this past weekend. I know he's part of the 2008 Class, he's a great player UM is in the running to get. Did you speak with Devin at all and do you know how his visit went?
A: Yeah I spoke to him. He told me he feels very comfortable here and he sees himself wearing a UM jersey when he gets out here. But you know how it is, he has to go through the process and he still has schools that he likes. He has to make his visits and see the schools he likes. He'd be a good pickup for us because of his versatility and the way he could step in and he can play immediately. He reminds me and kind of works it like Kevin Durant. The way he can go inside and outside. I played with him at the ABCD Camp and he played on my team and against him. He's a competitor. He's a very good player offensively and defensively. He's long, lanky. He gets up. It's a good pickup for Miami if we can get him.
Q: How long was he here and did you get a chance to hang out with him? And how much has coach asked you to try and help in his recruiting?
A: As a matter of fact, I had my prom this weekend and I couldn't spend a lot of time at the school, but I hung out with him. I came by Saturday morning and drove by and said what's up. I said hello to his mom. I had a rental, I had a Hummer so he was in there with me checking it out and stuff. We were there in the parking lot talking. Friday I hung out with him for a bit and then at night before he left. Coach has brought it up a lot [trying to help in the recruiting]. But mostly its me try to make a national power here. I've been trying to work with him. I know he's the type of guy that if he came to our school he'd have a lot to offer. I mention that to him every now and then. But I tell him whatever his decision is I'm cool with it. I don't want to jump the gun, but I think he'll fit in good here, come in, log a lot of minutes.
Q: Did Ebanks tell you his decision is down to Miami or Indiana?
A: That's what I've heard, I'm not sure. But whatever choice I'm sure it's a good one.
Q: You watched UM go through a real tough season last year with injuries and being shorthanded, how much did you wish you could be out there helping them out?
A: I felt the same way here at Miami Senior. With all the injuries here, it was kind of a similar season. We started off good and then we went through the downfall where everybody got hurt. They had the same problem. It was tough to see them go through that. That's not something I want us to go through next year. It would be pretty tough to have anybody hurt again next year.
Q: How good of a team do you think you guys can be next season with three new guys and Anthony King coming back?
A: I think we should be one of the top teams in the ACC because seeing them finish the way they did in the ACC Tournament, I think it will carry over to this year. Plus, you have King coming back. He's been working. I've seen him working out hard. You got Jack coming back with more experience. You got Adrian Thomas. Jimmy Graham is back. Dwayne. We've got more experience and we're more mature.
If you would like to listen to the interview, click here. Download riosinterview.mp3
MORE TIDBITS: It appears receiver Kayne Farquharson has passed his class at Miami-Dade and will be enrolled in UM this summer... Men's basketball assistant Butch Estes has left the program... Another assistant, Michael Hunt, was a finalist for the head coaching job at South Carolina State but did not get the job.
MY CANES YOUTUBE CLIP OF THE WEEK: One of my favorite plays of the men's basketball season. Freshman Dwayne Collins brings the funk down on Boston College, his best game of the season by far.