Frank Haith is still working hard to bring his first McDonald's All-American to the University of Miami. After what the Canes accomplished this season in reaching the second round of the NCAA Tournament, you have to imagine he'll be even closer to reaching that goal soon. Well, even if he's unsuccessful (which I doubt he will be), Canes fans will at least be able to know they'll have a house full of McDonald's All-Americans soon enough.
The school announced Thursday it will host the 2009 McDonald's High School All-American game on April 1st at BankUnited Center. Its the first time the game, which has been played since 1978 (the year I was born), will take place in Miami. New UM athletic director Kirby Hocutt, who will officially replace Paul Dee on June 1st, was in Milwaukee Wednesday night to represent The U when it was announced.
That's a great sign for Canes basketball fans, who have to like the fact the school's administration is pushing for big time basketball events. Think about the benefits of having the game at UM and what it could mean to the program. Haith, who is on the road this week recruiting, will be able to show off his relatively new basketball arena -- and the Canes' new basketball practice facility on national television. Miami, most likely, will be in the NCAA Tournament at that time -- or just coming off what should be another strong season. So, here's an early pat on the back for Hocutt and the new UM administration for looking to cash in on the momentum Haith and his team are creating.
DEVIN EBANKS UPDATE: Speaking of the Canes' recruiting front, it looks like that last scholarship Haith is looking to use will not end up in the hands of former Indiana signee Devin Ebanks. According to Scout.com, the nation's fourth best small forward said Wednesday didn't mention UM among the four schools he'll be considering and visiting soon. Instead, he listed Texas, Memphis, Rutgers and West Virginia. "Those are my top four and the only ones I’ll look at,” Ebanks told Scout.com. “I’m going to schedule visits to all four of them." I'm still trying to reach Ebanks' high school coach at St. Thomas More, Jere Quinn, to confirm that's the case.
MEIER'S MCDONALD'S ALL-AMERICAN: UM women's coach Katie Meier had to be all smiles yesterday. She got to watch her best signee in three seasons, 5-11 forward Shenise Johnson, play for the East in last night's Girls McDonald's All-American game. Johnson only had two points, but she had five assists and a handful of steals and showed Canes' women's basketball fans a positive sign for the future. Johnson, a senior at Rush-Henrietta School in New York, led her high school tem to three consectuive state championships while averaging 24 points, 17 rebounds, 7 assists and scoring 35 points in the stte championship game. I spoke to her high school coach for a few minutes Thursday and he said UM edged Syracuse for Johnson's services. Johnson becomes the first McDonald's All-American recruited to The U since Tamara James.