The University of Miami men's basketball team started the season Saturday without point guard Lance Hurdle. Tuesday, coach Frank Haith sounded optimistic Hurdle -- who practiced for the first time in weeks Monday -- will play some when the Hurricanes travel to the Virgin Islands Friday to play in the Paradise Jam.
"Lance practiced yesterday and based on what I saw in practice -- knock on wood -- he'll have an opportunity to play some," Haith said. "I don't know how effective he'll be coming off the box. But I think he'll have a chance to give us something."
Consider it good news for the Canes, who obviously are at their best when Jack McClinton doesn't need to tote the rock and is free to run off screens and knock down threes. In the meantime, expect sophomore Eddie Rios to continue to start in Hurdle's place. Haith said Saturday night after UM's season-opening win over Division II Florida Southern it could be awhile before you see the old Lance.
One thing is for sure, the Canes are hoping 2007-08 is the last they'll see of the first-year Eddie. Rios lost eight pounds (he's down to about 186) and looked a lot Saturday like the star point guard Miami thought it was getting when they received an oral commitment from him in the 11th grade. He was 3-for-3 from three point range, scored a career-high 17 points and got to the rim with the speed and quickness we all once heard about.
Southern Miss won't be a cakewalk for the Canes when the teams hook up at 2 p.m. Friday. Larry Eustachy's team (yes that Eustachy) went 19-14 last year and brings back All-Conference USA Second Team guard Jeremy Wise, a player Haith said will be as good a guard as his team faces all year. Look for James Dews to draw the assignment. I'll be there to provide a live Courtside Blog.
> Don't forget Wednesday is supposed to be Durand Scott's decision day. I'm not going to be in New York for it, but I'll be by the phone hoping to hear something in the morning.
> Here's the link the video from CBS 4 of Tuesday's basketball press conference.
> OK, I'll now leave you to your regularly scheduled football programming (THE BEGINNER'S GUIDE TO THE GEORGIA TECH TRIPLE OPTION) and our Mollie Rose with UM kicker Matt Bosher.> OK, one more link... to my feature on freshman defensive end Marcus Robinson.