GREENSBORO, N.C. -- Frank Haith hasn't come out and said it yet (I'm not sure he ever will considering he never did it for Jack McClinton). But the University of Miami basketball team you will see on the floor this afternoon in the ACC Tournament (and over the next couple seasons) belongs to a new leader: freshman Durand Scott.
It wasn't supposed to happen this quickly. Dwayne Collins, James Dews and Malcolm Grant were supposed to be the leaders of this team this time of year. But it's clear the future is now. Scott, the first UM player named to the ACC All-Rookie Team, has been given the green light to take over the team the last month.
He's responded with 17.2 points, 4.2 rebounds and 2.6 six assists over the Canes' last five games. It's not by accident that the team has looked better because of it, coming close to beating Florida State and nearly rallying UM from an 18-point deficit at North Carolina with 16 of his season-high 29 points in the second half.
"There's no question Durand Scott is a guy players across the country are looking saying man, I'd like to play with him," Haith said last week.
"He's a guy I think can attract other great players because he's a selfless player, but also a very good player. He's the kind of guy that will do whatever he has to do to win. When you look at his play and some of our other young guys, you got to feel like the future is bright. To go on that stage at North Carolina and put up the type of game he had at North Carolina, for that matter the game he had against Duke, you don't see many freshmen do that. That tells you right there he has a chance to be a special player."
A special player and perhaps the only big chip UM has left at the moment. If the Canes are going to win any more games this season and have a shot at the NIT (UM might have to win two games here to even be considered), it's clear Scott is going to have to lead them there.
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