With the baseball team enjoying a day off -- and me enjoying a few of my own too -- I figured I'd check in to say hello and share a few notes with you.
1. I officially feel old. I turned 30 on Saturday and had a great time. We partied at Opa -- that Greek restaurant -- on South Beach. I danced on tables with some really hot chicks. Later, we had a real nice time at a restaurant/club in the Grove called Christabell's Quarters. The place has the look and feel of the French Quarter in New Orleans. Drinks can be pricey ($7 beers?). But I still recommend it if you want to try something different in South Florida.
2. Expectations are continuing to climb for Frank Haith's basketball team. ESPN analyst Andy Katz recently moved the Canes up from 12th in his preseason rankings to 8th with this disclaimer... "The Hurricanes should be a top-10 team in the country and a top-three squad in the ACC. There really is no excuse if they're not. Jack McClinton might be one of the top guards in the nation next season. Dwayne Collins is a legit scorer in the post. The role players were all solid last season. And Miami has the experience of going to the NCAA tournament and winning a game." I'd love to think the Canes are ready to be a Top 10 team in the country. But they got to show me they have a consistent No. 2 weapon behind J-Mac first.
3. Speaking of McClinton, he reportedly balled out according to InsideTheU at Chris Paul's Backcourt Skills Camp two weekends ago. McClinton earned MVP honors among a group that featured Davidson's Stephen Curry, Florida's Nick Calathes, Boston College's Tyreese Rice and a group of about a dozen others. That's a great sign to see No. 33 not only enjoying his summer workouts, but outshining some of the other stars in college basketball. I'm hoping to catch up with Jack myself before the end of the summer. But tomorrow, I have an interview set with freshman Julian Gamble, who spent the first half of his offseason traveling with Athletes in Action in West Africa. I'll share the interview with Gamble, who is expected to play a pivotal role in the paint behind Jimmy Graham and Dwayne Collins next season, when I finish it later this week.
4. As for the football team, look for some movement on the recruiting front over the next couple of weeks. Coach Randy Shannon hosted a three-day camp over the weekend and had a number of high profile 2009 out of town recruits in town for unofficial visits to the campus (That's how they do it in college football these days). One recruit, Jacksonville Raines defensive end Lawrence Henderson, reportedly committed to UM Monday and then backtracked according to Canesport.com. Most of the guys who visited aren't anybody you've really heard of yet. But rest assured you will. I get the sense Miami coaches are really making a push out this year to nab out-of-town recruits. Truth is the 2009 class locally is not as strong as '08 was and Miami coaches are looking elsewhere to fill their primary needs at corner and along the offensive and defensive lines. I think ultimately the only local kids Miami is truly after are Killian running back Lamar Miller, Columbus defensive tackle Antwan Lowery, American defensive end Olivier Vernon and Plantation cornerback Brandon McGee. That's fine -- as long as the out-of-towners get locked in.
5. As for the remaining '08 signees who are still having issue getting into Miami with grades and test scores, look for an update my friend Barry Jackson tomorrow. BJ has news on that as well as some other eye-opening notes that have only been rumored topics on message boards up to now.
As for me, I'm supposed to be on vacation until the middle of July. And I plan to rest, relax and reinvigorate myself until then. But I'll still be around providing updates when I can. Until the next time, peace out!