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Q&A: '09 hoops recruit Donnovan Kirk

After making a few pit stops Monday at a trio of high schools in South Florida for spring football, I got a chance this morning to squeeze in some blog work by speaking with the newest big-time basketball recruit headed to The U -- 6-8, 213-pound forward Donnovan Kirk of Detroit Country Day.

Kirk, rated the 56th-best recruit in the 2009 class by Rivals.com and a Scout.com Top 100 player,
committed to UM coach Frank Haith last week to become the first recruit in Miami's '09 class. (Villanova Donnovan_kirktransfer Malcolm Grant, a 6-foot point guard, will also make his debut in '09 but is technically part of Miami's '08 class. The Hurricanes still have three scholarships available in '09). Kirk, whose parents both work in the auto industry, told me he's excited to be the first of what he hopes is a Top 25 national recruiting class at Miami. A B-student, Kirk said he still needs to get his SAT or ACT score to qualify at Miami. But he said it shouldn't be a problem. Here's what else we talked about...

Q: Being a guy from Michigan, I have to imagine you grew up a Wolverine or Spartans fan. That being said, the Canes were able to lure you from both of them and get you to commit to coming to South Florida. What did coach Haith do to convince you to come here?
A: I grew up in Pontiac and was a Michigan fan. But I wouldn't actually say it was that hard of a decision. I had narrowed it down to four schools, but really it was Michigan State and Miami. Coach Haith definitely built a strong relationship with me. I definitely see the relationship going forward in a great way. I met him at the beginning of my junior season. Miami was the second the school to offer me. But they definitely made me feel more comfortable than anyone else. Plus, I have family down there.

Q: Your high school coach mentioned last week that you had made an unofficial visit to Miami. What were your impressions and how did it play a role in your decision to pick the Canes?
A: My trip was definitely good. I went at the start of winter, I think when they opened the season against a D-II school. The highlight was sitting down and talking with the coaches and getting to know the players. The one thing I could see right away is that they're not selfish. They try to work together to win basketball games. What impressed me the most was when I watched them play and I watched coach Haith and how much they respect him and how he gives them respect. It was great to see that. I saw it again when I watched them on TV a couple times. I really feel like I can fit in.

Q: How important was it to you that UM had as good a season as it did. I mean, a year ago the Canes were 12-20 and in last in the ACC. How much did their turnaround to 23-11 and the second round of the NCAA Tournament help you in picking them?
A: That was very important. I was able to see that they really are good and on their way up, they're building something. I needed to see there really was a winning attitude. Its hard to go to a school where you are not winning games. I see players coming in and know players who really want to be a part of something special. I see a team coming in now that is ready to take Miami to the next level. And I want to be a part of that. I'm definitely going to work hard to make Miami one of the best schools in the nation.

Q: How do you see yourself fitting in? Your coach compared you last week to [former Gator and Atlanta Hawks rookie] Al Horford. He's a little bigger than you, bulkier. Do you see yourself being like Horford at all?

A: I think my game is a lot like his. But I'm still trying to get as big as he is. Coach Haith told me he'd like for me to get to like 230 pounds by the time I get to Miami. They want me to get stronger. I could also be 6-9, 6-10 by then. I'm really just trying to pick my game up, but the ball on the ground more, working on my handles. I think I can be strong and quick. My game is really inside, not out. I mean, I can hit the shot from the outside. But I love getting to the basket, dominating down low.

** Along my pitstops at American, Miramar and Carol City Monday, I got a chance to speak with '09 football recruit and Rivals.com 4-star defensive end Olivier Vernon. While I'll have my complete report over on the high school blog later this afternoon, I figured I'd let you know Vernon now considers himself "a soft verbal" to Miami.

He says while the Hurricanes are still the team he wants to play for, he said other college coaches like Alabama's Nick Saban have intrigued him with the notion of playing a flex linebacker/defensive end position like Vernon's idol, Jason Taylor. This season, Vernon will start at middle linebacker for American. He said UM is only recruiting him as a defensive end.


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I read this kid is even better than 56th in the nation, and should grow before he comes to UM. Good commitment. Cool to see UM's successful season paid off in recruiting. Manny, 2 questions...did anyone sign Darnell Jenkins/who? and also, if UM and FSU meet in the ACC Tourney (Baseball), do you predict a few bean balls or fist fights???

Also Manny, last year you said you would talk to some Belle Glades people on what happened to JJ? He left the Browns then Cardinals 2 years ago. With all the crappy RBs in the NFL, hard to think he couldn't make a team. Did he retire, or is he playing somewhere? He has to be over 30 by now.

James Jackson works for UPS in Jacksonville now..he is doin ok

So let me get this straight. You get your feelings hurt on a blog, and so you email and tattle on someone who continuously shows you up? That's very hall-pass monitor like! Maybe instead of trying to kiss ace you could just be a man of your word and boycott this blog. You make all Canefans look like soft little kitties with all your post. Everyone on here knows what I'm talking about. "Great work Manny. I love you Manny. Thanks for my Q & A Manny". Not to mention all the peddling you do for that stupid out-of-date website of yours.

Grow up 86. Quite your crying. Learn how to be a man. We need some real CAne Fans on here. You know the fans with swagger, attitude, and know how to get a point across. "Either Come Hard or Don't Come At All". F-U 86cane.

86cane is Casual Observer. Stop changing yer name.

Wow Nick Saban is a man of his words boys and girls. If my son was as talented as Olivier Vernon. I wouldnt allow that snake around my house or kid.

Nothing is official till Nat'l Signing Day. We will get the ones who want to be here. They are the only ones we want.

LOL at 86isacrybaby. So you post in the last blog, and decide to write the exact same thing here? Alright me too then....

"Sorry buddy. I'm not 86. I use to post here under "Canester" if you want to look me up. I also post on the ESPN boards looks me up there too. Was just simply stating a fact that's all. Green just seems to get out of hand sometimes. Just an observation.

P.S. 86isacrybaby = 86 is a tool = green

See I can do it too."

What's with the personal attacks? I don't understand what the point is. Attack a point, attack a statement, but don't attack a person. That's what Gayturds and Semenoles do....

JMHO of course

Oh and Manny, you continue to do a great job


Thank you for a great interview with Donavan. It is really appriciated by us out of towners. Any word on any other Recruits that are leaning towards DA U.

Keep up the good work for us Basketball Junkies

If they don't want come to da U then I don't want them here. Let em go play with Satan. When the U wins a NC and they're watching on t.v., that's when they'll feel their mistake. Patchan will feel his mistake soon enough. Go Canes!!

excellent job as always manny. your continuous blogging efforts are always a great place to go when you want to take a break from finals. or when you want to put them off, whatever...


so what if i love Manny whats the big deal?

so what if i thank him for the outstanding work and infromation he provides.

So what if i kiss his ace.

attack me i dont care, you must feel good about yourself attacking people and calling people names over internet.

Keep up the good work, and keep hurting my internet feelings

ROBNYC, darnell signed with houston as a free agent.

Hey Manny...
Thanks for the Q and A.
If Vernon is listening to Saban, he's in for a shock of reality and we told you sooo's, down the road.
Saban was deperate in the recruiting class of 08 and nothing has changed in 09. At this point, he will do and say anything to get your attention and once he has you, you are stuck.
Suggestion... If you want to play in the NFL, just ask yourself, what teams get drafted the most. What teams are on the rise and need your ability and how soon can you start, then ask yourself... What can I do for the team and what can I do to fill their needs. Be aware, if you really want to play... you need to be flexable.
Note: Other good snake oil salesman are known to be hanging around Fla and LSU.
Manny on another subject... how are the districts/ brackets chosen (Brackets: 6A, 5A, 4A, 3A, 2A and 1A)? Is it size?

Kids, If your reading this...
Everyday, it seems some football player is either getting caught doing something wrong or is getting killed for being at the wrong place at the wrong time... Get it through your head, that if you want to make to the pro's, stay straight and stay away from problematic situations... as you know what they are and you know what can happen at certain events... So go to a movie instead.

Was surfing the net and here is another stupid happening and now the would be star who was transfering to a bigger college, is dead and for what? He said something at a party and BAM... IT's HISTORY... See YA.
Click on the news video

To those who do not have a future, life means nothing.

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