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Summer Check-In

Can't lie to you Eye on The U Crew. I've been enjoying my summer break even though a few stories have roped me back into work and kept me away from the beach. That being said, its never a bad thing to give you a place to talk Canes. Let's start with the men's basketball team.

I know I'm not breaking any new ground here, but losing the Devin Ebanks sweepstakes to Indiana is a tough loss for the Canes. When Ebanks, one of the country's Top 10 recruits in the Class of 2008, spurned UM Saturday and announced his intentions to go to Bloomington (READ THE STORY) it was a painful loss for coach Frank Haith who invested years and plenty of time and energy trying to make Ebanks his first big catch at The U.

But as painful a loss as it is and as much as Ebanks would have helped Miami and Haith, I'm not ready to say his loss is a poor reflection on Haith. I'm not trying to Devinebanks2defend him. I'm just trying to be fair. Sometimes when you swing for the fences, you miss the ball. All big time recruiters do. Yes, Haith was hired in-part because he was a great recruiter and the expectations were he could snag a few guys like Ebanks who could help turn UM's fortunes around. But to say Haith failed in recruiting Ebanks and thus is a failure as a coach and recruiter is not an opinion I'm ready to agree with yet. While many UM fans may point to the past and how the Canes were once able to snag Darius Rice, a McDonald's All-American, in 2000, I'm sure many will forget the Hurricanes were coming off one of their best seasons in school history. Last year's Hurricanes team finished 4-12 in the conference and 12-18 if you forget and had one of the worst home crowds in the country. I don't care how good of a recruiter you are. When you're trying to win a war with a water water pistol, while your enemy from Indiana has an army and an AK-47 in his hand, winning a recruiting battle is next to impossible. And that's what Haith was up against.

Aside from that, Ebanks is a player many experts believe won't be in college very long. Getting him certainly would have been huge, even if for one season. But what Haith needs is time, support, and the type of recruits -- he'll hate me for saying this -- Leonard Hamilton was able to bring into Miami after taking his lumps in the early going. Hamilton got some talented, tough players like Johnny Hemsley, Mario Bland, Tim James and John Salmons, who helped take Miami to the next level with defense, athleticism, hunger and grit. Haith has some of those guys. Unfortunately, some of them, like Adrian Thomas, Jimmy Graham and Anthony King, were hurt most of last season. And that's what the 2006-07 Hurricanes lacked.

Wednesday's news on UM receiving its first commitment in the Class of 2008 (READ THE STORY) was an encouraging sign. Quincy Roberts, a 6-5 combo/guard from QuincyrobertsHarrisburg, Pa., isn't a blue-chip recruit. Rivals.com and Scout.com rate him three-stars. But he seems like a kid who has a lot of good ingredients. I spoke with him and his high school coach for about 15 minutes each Wednesday (CHECK OUT THE AUDIO LINKS ON THE STORY). Roberts is not only a good student, but an overall great player who makes his teammates better. He played quarterback on the football team and according to his coach is fearless, tough and strong. Most guys from outside Philadelphia are. According to his coach, he only averaged 10 points, 5 rebounds and 4 assists last season. But he's a kid who helped his team, which has three other Division I recruits, to the state final four two years in a row (CHECK OUT A VIDEO LINK HERE). Either way, his signing gets UM on the board in 2008, which is important on its own. It's also not bad to mention how new assistant coach Jake Morton played a role in recruiting Roberts, who said the former Cane text messaged him everyday for months. Roberts told me Haith told him he wanted one swingman and two bigmen in his Class of 2008. I'll keep you posted as more news develops with other recruits.

Now let's talk football, where all signs are pointing toward the Canes having one of its Jacoryharrisbest recruiting classes ever. Yeah, I said it. Ever. And that's truly because Miami-Dade, Broward and Palm Beach Counties may be stacked with its best talent in years and Randy Shannon's hiring has made UM the hot place to be again. No commitment might be more important than Northwestern quarterback Jacory Harris, who committed to UM just last week (READ THE STORY). Harris, who set Miami-Dade passing records last season, is the frontman and leader to one of the nation's best high school teams. He is respected everywhere he goes. His commitment will likely spew several more of the nation's top players UM's way, including teammate and receiver Aldarius Johnson who should be the next big recruit to commit to Miami this summer. Covering high schools the way I have for years, eventually it will become a domino effect. I suspect much the same way Lakeland sent nearly all of its big studs to Florida last year, this year it will be UM's turn to grab all the best the 'West has and more locally.

The fact UM and Shannon have 10 commitments -- and 10 major local studs at that -- this early tells me Miami is well on its way back to its old days when the local talent wanted to stay home. And if it stays that way, it shouldn't be too long before the Canes are playing for championships again.

P.S. - I was on the radio last night with The Dos Amigos at 790 The Ticket. We talked Canes hoops and the latest regarding the new law passed to randomly test high school athletes in Florida for steroids. Check it out here.

Anyway, I'm out. Feel free to chime in on what's eating you up this summer regarding the Canes. I wouldn't mind turing a few of your questions or comments into another blog entry the next time around. I should be back with another blog in the next two weeks. I'm not scheduled to be back fulltime from vacation until July 21. Until then, there will be some sporadic blogs. Enjoy the summer. I know I will.

Comments

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Nice read there Manny. Hope you've been enjoying your summer vacation.

Not landing Ebanks hurts, but like you said, it would have been a minor miracle had we actually gotten him. We have to build a foundation first, and that starts with winning and with building a fanbase here.

Roberts looks like a good player, even if he isn't the most heralded of recruits. From watching a highlight video, he seems to have a good shot, and if he can play defense and make his teammates better, he should do well here. I was intrigued by the "one swingman and two bigmen" comment though -- do you have any idea what big guys Haith is targeting? I assume that he thinks we'll be ok at the point, with just one true point guard on the roster.

Great post Manny.

Is too bad we didn't get Ebanks, but like it was said before we need to have a better record and better attendance at the Bank United so we could have a chance with All- Americans players. But being in the ACC will help us get the 3-2 star guys that hussle and work hard to get to the top.

Football we don't have to worry about now that we got Shannon and he knows we need to have those Dade, Broward, and Palm Beach County guys.

Manny , now is your time to shine! Omar from the sun-sentinel is no longer covering the hurricanes and therefore his blog is done...U can take advantage by tighting up your coverage of THE U and bring more people to the site and blow up this site!

GO CANES

Manny, you are right about FLA talent this year. I do not remember seeing so many stud LBs in one year accross the state. However, what the U needs is big time lineman. Both on the O and D. It is poor O lineman recruiting that has killed us the past 4 years.

It's not the o-line recruiting...it's the fact that they've been injured! O-line needs consistency to be successful, and the injuries have just prevented them from being productive.

I think is a combination of both. However, I think is more poor recruting. I remember checking the last two years recruting before Shannon was the head coach, and there were hardly any offense of linemen, widereceivers, or quarterbacks. Now, Shannon is here, and what's the first thing he does. Recruites around 4 wide receivers although I think is more than that,a highly recruited quarterback, and at least three offense of linemen. This year he's focusing in recruiting DL, which he cameout saying he was in need of them. I like what I'm seen, but at the end, Shannon has to win in order for this commitments to sign with Miami. Go canes!!!!

I think you got the Yeah I said it from Omar's blog. wow what a copy cat. anyways it's WWW.CANESPACE.COM from now on!!!!

Like Hassan said- www.CaneSpace.com is it! The blog over there is blowing up as big as the Sentinel ever was! Tons of coverage, with lots of different angles from all fans! CHECK IT OUT!

Hey Manny- C'mon over and join The Leigon! We'll be more than happy to have your opinion on the topics over at CaneSpace.

Getting into the final 2 for Ebanks was a miracle on its own. Players watch who top players have in their final schools closely and it can only help to be that close. Haith is on the verge of a great class, he needs one or 2 good guys to round out a team with King back for year 6 and Rios who everyone seems to forget was all world 2 years ago in high school.

what is the deal with the OB deal?

big, huge lost with Ebanks..its time for Haith to get a "big" name recruit and raise the talent level so we can compete in the ACC

Hey Hey, My question is: When is it that Dee will officially step down and have you heard anything as far as who we might be trying to hire to replace him. I haven't really heard anything in a while. Its tough getting any Canes info up here in Ocala(Gator Country).

Manny, Good blog...now that O' is gone you and Canespace are the only show in town.

Who is the top candidate to replace Dee? I've heard Kosar's name thrown out there a few times, however it seems to me that the man barely can manage his personal life. No knock against Kosar who was a great, great Cane, but anytime I've heard him in an interview or on Sid's show he sounds completely blasted. The stress of the Canes job won't help him get his head right, so let's hope that he's not at the top of the short list.

manny a suggestion for the Next blog when you get back from Vacation, Talks W/ Super coop, DeMarcus, all New recruit what you did during spring. that was really good i think you should bring it back. see if you cant find out whats goin down w/ the OB, they are keeping that quieter than a library

UM Lifer and I hate to say it but Ebanks probably made the right call. BBALL barely has a pulse here. Not sure how we can create a better BBALL program but good players from out of the area aren't going to come here with the record and attendane figures we put up. We need a huge jump in local talent and get lucky enough to get the ones that want to stay close to home.

Manny, I followed Omar's blog religiously and I will agree with the other reader that this is your chance to pull everyone over. The SS blog is dead without O.

You never add anything new or insightful.. I know more about UM recruiting than you and this is your job.

As I stated in the last blog, Paul Dee and the rest of the Athletic Department have done a horrendous job with this basketball program. After Hamilton left we could've had Rick Pitino as a coach, but instead we got "the great" Perry Clark and then after that fiasco we hired Frank Haith who is nothing more than a respectable recruiter. On the other hand the guy that was perfect for this job, Anthony Grant, was never given an opportunity. Look what Grant has done throughout the years. He has recruited 4 first round draft choices, he became Coach Of The Year at VCU and was the only choice to replace Donovan if he would've left. Locally the guy is a legend. The only person responsible for all this is Paul Dee.

Greener Grass Outside the Orange Bowl?
Decision looms for Miami whether `Canes should move

June 25, 2007
By Adam Aizer
Special to CSTV.com

The stadium is outdated and rusty. It's worn-down and a bit of an eyesore.

But fill it up with over 70,000 fans on a Saturday afternoon, and the Orange Bowl - home of the Miami Hurricanes since 1937 - becomes one of college football's revered settings.

It lacks the amenities that most stadiums in this country have, like parking lots, suites and club seats. It doesn't have a fancy press box or an eye-popping video replay board.

But what the Orange Bowl lacks in luxury, it makes up for with an abundance of character and tradition. In those two categories, the Orange Bowl is in the same class as Lambeau Field and Yankee Stadium.

The bright green grass of this historic venue has seen Joe Namath's guaranteed victory over the vaunted Baltimore Colts, three Wide Rights and a Wide Left in one of the best football rivalries around. There have been classic national championship games like the 1984 Orange Bowl in which Nebraska courageously went for a two-point conversion when it needed only one point to tie or the 1994 game that matched No. 1 vs. No. 2 and ended with Bobby Bowden's Seminoles beating the Cornhuskers for Florida State's first title.

Only two more Orange Bowls would ever be played after that in the stadium that shares its name. The stadium has already lost its bowl game. Are the Hurricanes next?

An exit from The Orange Bowl seems possible for the `Canes. Certainly, the archaic venue cannot pull in revenue like most others around the country. Just looking at Florida's Swamp and Florida State's Doak Campbell Stadium shows you exactly what the Hurricanes are lacking. Money is always an issue in college football, and the Orange Bowl just doesn't generate enough of it.

To make matters worse, the University of Miami doesn't own the Orange Bowl. The city of Miami does, with UM paying a lease. So with a less-than-ideal situation, the school must look at all the scenarios.

"I want us to be at the best possible place for the future of the program," UM Athletics Director Paul Dee said, "and I'm not sure exactly where that is."

There are two options right now for the `Canes: A renovated and improved Orange Bowl or Dolphins Stadium, which already houses the Miami Dolphins and Florida Marlins.

Dee says in order for the Orange Bowl to even be considered a viable option, it must be safe enough structurally for the next 40 or 50 years without requiring a future investment; it must have its seats, bathrooms and concessions upgraded; and it must have better places to entertain the special guests and higher-end boosters.

Dolphins Stadium provides all three of those necessities. So now the city of Miami must step up.

The city's latest proposal is a reported $206 million offer to add suites and club seats to the Orange Bowl. It would also include an upgrade in the concession area and bathrooms, as well as a new sound system and scoreboard. The proposed improvements sound great, but many involved hope the Orange Bowl can be designated an historical site, which would allow for a tax credit of over $40 million. Without the designation, the odds of UM staying in the only stadium it has ever called home seem bleak.

The easy solution would be to pack up and head about 15 minutes north (and further away from campus) to Dolphins Stadium. The problem, though, is that few want to lose the tradition of the Orange Bowl.

"If you're going to make the argument totally on tangibles," Dee said, "what is the better facility? How are you going to get people in and out? How are you going to entertain? What are you going to have in terms of creature comforts? Parking? All of those things... That all goes on the Dolphins Stadium side of the ledger."

That's part one of the equation, but Dee continued.

"On the other hand are the intangibles. And that is the history that we have having played there since 1935. The championships and the wonderful games that we've won there. The Orange Bowl games that we've participated in where we won the national championship. The players that have played there. The inspiration that they've been. The fans that we've attracted to the Orange Bowl. The noise that's created in the Orange Bowl because it's a metal structure as opposed to a concrete structure. All of the intangibles presently add up to saying, `You really ought to stay.'"

Many of the fans have been saying, "You really ought to stay," as well. Dee noted that the more active fans have advocated for staying at the Orange Bowl by a small margin. An online Miami Herald poll has almost 75 percent of the voters saying UM should not leave, and an online petition has even arisen to block the move.

There is no deadline for a decision, although UM would like to make it by the end of 2007, indicating a possible move to Dolphins Stadium as early as 2008.

"When you go to other stadiums and see how they've put money into it and how the cities have put money into it and how the schools have, it seems like we're the only ones that haven't done anything about our situation," former UM left tackle Eric Winston said.

Winston, now a member of the Houston Texans, played the 2004 FedEx Orange Bowl in Dolphins Stadium. It was a much different experience than playing at UM's usual home field.

"It's not as personal, I think, as the old Orange Bowl is," Winston said of Dolphins Stadium. "The fans aren't as close. It's harder to get it really loud, and it's kind of a half-football, half-baseball stadium too. ... It definitely takes away from some of the college pageantry that's in it."

Jonathan Vilma of the New York Jets, who starred as a UM linebacker on some of the same teams as Winston, plays in Dolphins Stadium once a year now. He sees no comparison to the Orange Bowl.

"No. No. the Orange Bowl - you can't compete with the Orange Bowl," he said. "Not with the energy that we have when we play the big games."

There is no doubt about which stadium is louder, which stadium is more unique, or which stadium caters to the hardcore, old-school football fan. But that same stadium has hardly any seatbacks or parking spaces, nor does it have instant replay on its score board. How could any national championship contender play in such an outdated place?

"It's a phenomenal building, and so much has happened there which has always, over the years, overcome any shortcomings that it has physically," Dee said. "That's what makes it hard. Because you've got the tangibles, and you've got the intangibles, and it really is a tough tug-of-war debate."

In many ways, the Orange Bowl is a symbol of the UM football team itself. Miami has perhaps the worst training room and facilities in the ACC. It is a private school that expects to compete with the big boys. It is, basically, an Orange Bowl in a world of Doak Campbells. Nobody likes the Hurricanes except for Hurricanes fans, the same way nobody appreciates the Orange Bowl except for the loyal fans that stand in the sweltering heat six Saturdays every year.

So an extremely important decision looms. If Miami leaves the Orange Bowl for more green, but not necessarily greener pastures, it leaves behind tradition, history and countless moments that won't make the 15 minute trip north to Dolphins Stadium.

"Personally I wouldn't want them to leave," Vilma said. "Miami and the Orange Bowl - you just can't say one without the other."

At least for now.

Save The Orange Bowl Petition:
http://www.petitiononline.com/canes07/petition.html

The way I see it, Ive lived without a Jumbo tron for for over 25 years of going to games... do I really think itll make THAT big a difference? I tailgate in a parking lot up the street for hours before the game and grab 2 beers before I find my seat... do I really need more consessions? I have never, NEVER, left my seat to go use the cattle troughs DURING a game, I go before the band of the hour is even on the field... do I really need more restrooms???

No, I dont... I have never asked for them, never complained about any of it. Im there for the game, not fancy chicken fingers.

The Rose Bowl is a bigger dump than ANYONE thinks the OB is... can you imagine if someone said USC is going to move over to the home depot center and knock it down to build a Stadium for The Angels?

I dont think USC would care too much about the Rose Bowl being torn down, its UCLA's home stadium, USC plays in the LA Coliseum.

But I see your point.

nice blog manny...ive got two questions

1. In the nations top recruting classes, where do you think the Canes or gonna end up for the class of '08?

2. Do you really think the Shalala is going to be dumb enough to take the Canes out of the OB?

I can't believe there are only 2200 names on the petition!!! Come on Canes!!! If you're a REAL Fan sign the thing. Can we get this posted somewhere else so we can get more signatures!
If Shalala moves the Canes to Dolphin Stadium, that will be her signature on a soon to be resignation letter. IF they move, it won't take long to see that attendance will be poor, especially by students and all the money they thought they would make would never be fullfilled!!
This is a College Team not a pro Team!
(Eventhough they used to be so good they could beat a pro team!)

i was there when miami beat holy cross i snuck in. a great place to root for the hurricanes

i was there when miami beat holy cross i snuck in. a great place to root for the hurricanes

DM,please share your knowledge.

THEY CAN ALWAYS LEASE OUT FIU'S STADIUM.

JIM MORRIS SUCKS MAJOR P!#GA...FO LIFEEEEEE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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