Checking in from inside the RBC Center in Raleigh where the Hurricanes are set to take on the N.C. State Wolfpack in about half an hour. I know this has been a busy weekend for news out of UM and I plan on touching on those subjects in a few. But I'll start with basketball.
HOOPS NOTES, THOUGHTS...
- I know someone asked me the other day if the Hurricanes were only going to wear black uniforms from now on when on the road. UM SID Margaret Belch tells me the Canes will be debuting their orange jerseys tonight. UM has three uniforms: their home whites and road orange and black.
- Considering No. 1-ranked North Carolina is coming to town Wednesday -- and just lost to Maryland at home -- I'd pretty much say this is a real important game for the Canes, who don't want to be 1-2 going into that game against the Tar Heels.
HOMECOMING NIGHT?: Tonight's game in Raleigh will be a homecoming not only for coach Frank Haith, who grew up in North Carolina, but also for center Anthony King, forward Jimmy Graham and freshman Julian Gamble. There actually will be plenty of Canes family members in attendance. Jack McClinton's family is expected to attend along with the family of guard Lance Hurdle, whose family has moved from San Diego to Virginia to be closer to their son on the east today. Today is McClinton's birthday.
POINT GUARD PLAY: There were few items I couldn't get into my advance of today's game including Haith's thoughts on Hurdle, who could start seeing a lot more playing time at the point. With freshman Eddie Rios struggling to get acclimated to the college ball and with McClinton seeing a lot of defensive pressure, Haith said Thursday plans to ease it up with more of Hurdle, who is the fastest guard on the team.
"The point guard thing, I think we just have to find a way to get into our offense better, get the focus off of Jack a little bit," Haith said. "I think sometimes particularly early in the game, people are focused on taking Jack away. Maybe itâs a little easier at the start of the game because heâs out front. I know defenses are particularly the best at the beginning of the games. And when the defense loosens up, you have a tendency to lose guys."
"Thereâs no question Lance will [see more playing time at the point]," Haith said. "I thought he had a really good performance in the second half against Boston College. And I think the more time he gets the better heâs going to be. Youâre seeing him grow and get better. I think heâs gotten more comfortable with his quickness and his speed, heâs got that ACC speed, athleticism which will definitely help us. We need to get some easy buckets and I think when Lance does that, he helps us create easy buckets because of his speed."
GETTING MORE OUT OF THE POST: There is no question Haith needs to get more out of post players for Miami to be successful and I expect the Hurricanes to make it a point to establish and inside presence early. But I asked Haith to talk about his big men on Thursday and this is what he said: "Anthony obviously it could be a little bit of the injury. I donât know. He didnât complain about being hurt. We need Anthony to be more aggressive and more assertive. We need to find more ways to get that out of him. When he is, weâre a different team. When he's passive and not as active it hurts us. We need him to be more assertive. He's very capable of it. Just getting comfortable and getting back out there. He's very emotional. I know Georgia Tech was his first ACC game getting back. Hopefully, we're going home for him in that Durham-Raleigh area. Hopefully we can see the Anthony King of old.
"Jimmy is doing well. I think Jimmy was 1-for-4 [against Boston College]. But I love his activity. His defensive presence. His aggressiveness. I feel real good about his level of activity and what he brings to the table."
"Dwayne [Collins]? We need more. We need more out of Dwayne. I donât know if Dwayne has played well in either ACC game in terms of what heâs capable of doing. Heâs our best low post scorer. We need more production out of him."
Susan Miller Degnan and I had been hearing for about a week Aubrey Hill was the leading candidate to replace Marquis Mosely -- even before Mosely was officially fired. The tough part of this job is getting confirmation on rumors. Susan did a great job finally tracking Aubrey down on Friday. My hats off to her.
AUBREY HILL HIRING: Hill looks like another solid hire for the Canes because he's young and has been very much involved in recruiting -- especially here in South Florida -- during his stints at Florida, Duke and finally Pittsburgh. I haven't spoken to Hill since he was named coach, but Susan said he sounds like a very enthusiastic guy.
Hill played receiver at Florida, but before he was a Gator he was a Carol City Chief and someone coach Walt Frazier always thought highly of. I spoke to Coach Frazier Friday about Hill and this is what he had to say: "Outstanding person, football player. Everytime he comes home he visits me. The thing that stood out about 'Bre is he did all the little things good players are supposed to. When he was here, teams always double covered him and he rarely got the ball. But he made it a point to make sure if he wasn't getting the ball, he was making his teammates better so when they got the ball, they could explode. He always handled things well. He blocked. He was a leader. I think that's what makes him such a good coach."
Hill played with UM strength coach Andreu Swasey at Carol City. I also know he is very good friends with Randy Shannon's right hand man, former Edison coach Corey Bell.
BIG RECRUITING WEEKEND: This weekend is one of three busy weekends at The U. I've heard there is somewhere between 8 and 10 visitors this weekend at Miami including four commitments, linebacker Zach Kane, receiver Travis Benjamin, defensive end Andrew Smith and defensive tackle Micanor Regis. The out of towners are believed to be California defensive backs Vaughn Telemaque, Herman Davidson and Aaron Hester and Tennessee linebacker/defensive end Gavin Hardin. Telemaque and Hardin are the two guys Miami has the best shot at. It's imperative Miami starts landing some cornerbacks. Telemaque is considered a safety. But at this point, I'm sure Hurricanes coaches will do whatever they have to do to stockpile talent and turn guys in corners if they have to.
PODCAST: I finally recorded this week's podcast and uploaded it to The Herald's website on Friday. Here's the link. I spoke to Larry Blustein for close to an hour on a variety of topics including looking ahead to the Class of 2008, the hiring of Bill Young as UM's defensive coordinator and the storylines to follow in the coming weeks. I also spoke to Charles Fishbein on what the Gators and Seminoles are doing in recruiting.