Miami football finally unveils plans for $34 million "Carol Soffer Football Indoor Practice Facility"

  IPF

FONTAINEBLEAU Miami Beach (a nice place to be on a Friday night!) -- After months of anticipation, the University of Miami finally unveiled plans for its yet-to-be-built "Carol Soffer Football Indoor Practice Facility," to be named in honor of the mother of lead donor and billionaire Jeffrey Soffer.

Soffer is a South Florida real estate developer and philanthropist who contributed $14 million of the $34 million that will be needed to begin construction -- of which $24 million has already been raised.

Have to give kudos to UM athletic director Blake James, who pulled off the unlikely Mark Richt hiring and has been a real plus for the Hurricanes in pretty much every area. 

I know Carol Soffer from years ago, and she is a terrific woman. She has been a UM donor for athletics for more than 20 years. Really liked her sons I met tonight. Jeffrey Soffer seems like a super nice person. Hey, he gave up his money because his mother said UM athletics was the right way to go, and he publicly told her he loved her. As a mom (or son), you've got to like that.

Jeffrey said right away that he has never been to a UM football game but will make sure to attend his first game this season.

That first game, I'm pretty sure, will be Florida State.

Included in Miami's release on Friday: 

"The 81,800-square-foot facility will feature two field-turf fields – one 80 yards long and an additional 40-yard field directly connecting to the Squillante Strength and Conditioning Center. The facility will be located on the current football practice grounds, and will feature interconnectivity to the Hecht Athletic Center and the Schwartz Center for Athletic Excellence. 

 The project includes a 20,000-square-foot football operations center with a mezzanine level that will house all of the football coaches’ office space with views overlooking the indoor fields.  The football center will also feature six position meeting rooms, a head coach’s suite, three coaches’ conference rooms, a first-class football recruiting suite complete with lounges and meeting rooms, as well as a state-of-the-art video center." 

UM is aiming for the facility to be completed by the summer of 2018.

Coach Mark Richt has pledged $1 million of his own money to help fund the facility, which greatly impressed his players when they learned of his generosity. 

 As I said in a blog earlier this week, the Richt era continues to soar. The No. 15 Canes (3-0) are off this weekend but next play at noon Oct. 1 at Georgia Tech (3-1), to be nationally televised by either ABC, ESPN or ESPN2.

It's not a coincidence that Richt's arrival in Coral Gables has already catapulted the football program to a happy place it hasn't been in years.  It's amazing how one man and what appears to be an excellent coaching staff can make a difference.

Richt said tonight that Brad Kaaya's knee injury that he sustained during the Appalachian State game was a bone bruise and was healing day by day. He said the open week was helpful because it obviously has given it more time to heal.

Kaaya was great, as usual. First-class young man, so unassuming and forthright.

"It is awesome to actually get out and see the Hurricane Club members and meet the Soffer family,'' Kaaya told reporters. "In years past, people talked about the Board of Trustees, our alumni, our boosters. It all just sounds like up there somewhere in some castle, some secret meeting room.

  “It’s nice to actually meet them and know they have our back and are giving their full support to us. It’s huge for me to see this. It’s a great day.’’

   Here's my full, final-edition story that is now online and includes cool videos, photos, reaction and all the news: .

  Have a great weekend everyone.

SUSAN MILLER DEGNAN

September 20, 2016

September 14, 2016

Breaking News: UM hoops star recruit Dewan Huell arrested

By Michelle Kaufman

mkaufman@MiamiHerald.com

Dewan Huell of Norland High, the most celebrated University of Miami basketball recruit in recent years, was arrested for battery on Tuesday.

“I am aware of the reported incident involving Dewan Huell last night and we are still gathering information,” said UM athletic director Blake James. “I have very high expectations for all of our student-athletes, as I know Coach Larrañaga does for his team, and any misconduct will be addressed.”

Larranaga, reached by phone, said he just returned to town from recruiting and had not yet met with Huell.

"I just got back, and am planning to meet with Dewan and find out what happened," Larranaga said. "Dewan is a terrific kid and we will deal with this once we have all the information."

According to a police report obtained by Andy Slater of WINZ, Huell, 19, walked into his ex-girlfriend’s dorm room at FIU, found her in the closet with another man and attacked the man. Police say he grabbed the man by his shirt and dragged him out of the room, leaving him with scratches on his neck and chest.

Huell, who is 6-11 and 220 pounds, was to begin his freshman season with the Hurricanes next month. He was rated the nation’s No. 21 recruit by ESPN and played on three state championship teams with Norland. He averaged 19.2 points and 9.1 rebounds last season and was the Miami Herald 8A-6A Player of the Year.

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September 12, 2016

Hot off the Press: UM Hoops Schedule!

By Michelle Kaufman

mkaufman@MiamiHerald.com

Yes, yes, we know it's still early in the football season, so nobody's really thinking basketball yet.

But the ACC released the men's basketball schedule on Monday afternoon, so stop gushing over Mark Richt for just one moment and mark your calendars!

Miami will play at Virginia on Feb. 20 as part of ESPN's Big Monday schedule, and will also play four other games on ESPN/ESPN2: vs. Notre Dame (Jan. 12), at Duke (Jan. 21), at Louisville (Feb. 11), and at Virginia Tech (Feb. 27).

The Canes also have two CBS games: Jan. 28 against North Carolina and Feb. 25 against Duke.

Among Miami's home opponents are NCAA runner-up North Carolina, Notre Dame (Elite 8), and Duke (Sweet 16).  The Hurricanes play road games at Syracuse, Virginia, Duke, Pitt, FSU, and Virginia Tech.

UM's first exhibition game is vs. Barry at the BUC on Nov. 2. The first conference home game is Dec. 31 against NC State -- yes, New Year's Eve, but 4:30 p.m., so plenty of time to party afterward.

"We need to defend our home court again this season," said UM coach Jim Larranaga. "Our fans helped create an electric atmosphere and we are looking forward to having that home court advantage again this year."

The full schedule:

Nov. 2 vs. Barry (exhibition), 7 p.m.

Nov. 11 vs. Western Carolina, 7 p.m.

Nov. 16 at UNF, 7 p.m.

Nov. 19 vs. Penn, 4 p.m.

Nov. 24 vs. Stanford, 2:30 p.m. in Orlando

Nov. 25 vs. Indiana State/Iowa State in Orlando

Nov. 27 vs. Florida/Gonzaga/Quinnipiac/Seton Hall in Orlando

Nov. 30 vs. Rutgers 7 p.m.

Dec. 3 vs. Wofford

Dec. 6 vs. South Carolina St, 7 p.m.

Dec. 16 vs. FAU, 7 p.m.

Dec. 22 vs. George Washington, 7 p.m.

Dec. 28 vs. Columbia, 7 p.m.

Dec. 31 vs. NC State, 4:30 p.m.

Jan. 4 at Syracuse, 7 p.m.

Jan. 12 vs. Notre Dame, 7 p.m.

Jan. 14 at Pitt, noon

Jan. 18 at Wake Forest, 8 p.m.

Jan. 21 at Duke, TBA

Jan. 25 vs. Boston College, 9 p.m.

Jan. 28 vs. North Carolina, 1 p.m.

Feb. 1 vs. FSU, 8 p.m.

Feb. 4 at NC State, 3 p.m.

Feb. 8 Virginia Tech, 9 p.m.

Feb. 11 at Louisville, TBA

Feb. 15 vs. Georgia Tech, 8 p.m.

Feb. 18 vs. Clemson, noon

Feb. 20 at Virginia, 7 p.m.

Feb. 25 vs. Duke, 4 p.m.

Feb. 27 at Va Tech, 9 p.m.

March 4 at FSU, 4 p.m.

March 7-11: ACC Tournament, Brooklyn, NY

June 28, 2016

UM coaches on Pat Summitt's death

By Michelle Kaufman

Like all college basketball fans, University of Miami coaches Katie Meier and Jim Larranaga were deeply saddened to wake up Tuesday to the news that legendary University of Tennessee coach Pat Summitt had died at age 64.

"I didn't know her personally. I viewed her and her career from afar," said Larranaga. "I thought of her as the Dr. James Naismith of women's college basketball. She put women's basketball on the map. She was the dominant coach for the first 20 years after Title IX."

Meier did know Summitt well, and had this to say:

"Pat Summitt was such an iconic figure in our sport. She just elevated every conversation, clinic or recruiting event. She always reminded the younger coaches to `act right' and to lead with strength and compassion. She inspired a generation of female competitors who will continue to give back."

Back in 2011, when the then-No. 7 Hurricanes played No. 3 Tennessee, Meier was asked about Summitt.

She said: "I could spend two hours on that. She is obviously the best at her profession. When Pat wins, women's basketball's happy. They (Summitt and her staff) have been so helpful. They're cheering for you, supporting you. If you want to come to a practice, they let you. They're all about women's basketball, especially Coach Summitt.

"I've been lucky enough to have exposure to them and how they operate. I hope everyone in our profession appreciates it. I have a ton of respect and owe a lot of my career to Tennessee, their generosity. If I needed an out of bounds play, I could call (then-assistant) Holly (Warwick) or Coach Summitt right now and they’d give me an out of bounds play to make me a better coach. That’s what they’re in it for, opportunity for young players, and coaches. I wish I’d see more of it in the sport. It is rare and a wonderful thing that they’ve been headliners this whole time for women’s basketball.’’

June 24, 2016

McClellan to Wizards, Rodriguez to Spurs

By Michelle Kaufman

Former University of Miami guard Sheldon McClellan confirmed Friday that he has a partial contract offer from the Washington Wizards that he will sign when he reports to camp on July 1.

McClellan, 6-6, was not selected in the NBA Draft on Thursday night, but had interest from several teams.

Hurricane teammate Angel Rodriguez also got good news on Friday. He was invited by the San Antonio Spurs to Summer League.

"All I need is an opportunity, I'll take care of the rest," Rodriguez said. "I'm always going to bet on myself, that's for sure!"

Tonye Jekiri was still weighing his options.

McClellan awaiting offer, possibly from Wizards

By Michelle Kaufman

Former University of Miami guard Sheldon McClellan watched the NBA draft from his home in Houston, and like so many talented college basketball players, was not among the players chosen Thursday night.

But, reached at 1 a.m., he said he was awaiting word from his agent about a contract, possibly with the Washington Wizards, one of the 11 teams he worked out for in the past month. The Wizards had shown a lot of interest, and let it be known they'd be interested in signing him if he went undrafted. He would join the team for the summer league, which begins the second week of July.

Asked if it was a nerve-wracking night, McClellan replied: "No, not at all. I'm excited about the opportunity and blessed to even be considered. I have several options in front of me right now, so I'm in great shape."

McClellan, 6-6, was projected on some mock drafts as a late second-round pick. He did well at he NBA draft combine. One of the only knocks on him is his age. He will turn 24 in December, and the trend is for NBA teams to go with younger players.

McClellan's UM teammates Angel Rodriguez and Tonye Jekiri also were undrafted. Both also got looks from many NBA clubs and could land in the summer league or overseas.

May 23, 2016

Dejan "DJ" Vasiljevic on his first week at UM

Incoming freshman guard Dejan "DJ" Vasiljevic arrived at UM for Summer School from his native Australia last week.

Asked his first impressions, this was his response: "At the moment the whole experience appears surreal – so many things have happened over the past few days that I feel as if I am still on the plane and everything is flying by. Seems like I am getting over the jet lag and feel refreshed. I have managed to finalize my enrollment, start classes and obtain the medical clearance so basically it has been full on several days. Between classes, assignments and workouts there has not been much time for anything else. I did get a chance to meet several football recruits and share experience with them, went to a baseball game which reminded me why I chose an indoor sport – it was too hot outside, at least for me, so I think those players deserve lots of praises for their commitment. Literally everyone has been so supportive and encouraging helping me with the transition. I am really excited to be part of this program."

-- Michelle Kaufman.

May 09, 2016

Canyon Barry chooses UF over UM

By Michelle Kaufman

mkaufman@MiamiHerald.com

If only the University of Miami had a nuclear training reactor. Maybe then the Hurricanes basketball program could have signed College of Charleston transfer Canyon Barry, son of the former UM and NBA legend, Rick Barry.

Instead, the sharpshooter chose to pass up his father's alma mater and play his final year of college basketball at the University of Florida. Barry, the youngest of Rick's sons, is a two-time Academic All-American and graduating this summer with a degree in Physics. He plans to pursue a Master's Degree in nuclear engineering.

"These past few months have been pretty crazy since I made the decision to graduate and transfer," Barry said in a statement. "I have been contacted by numerous coaches from some of the top teams in the country.  I feel blessed and honored that they were interested in having me be a part of their programs...Ultimately, however, after much prayerful consideration, I have made my decision to attend the University of Florida next season and play for Coach Mike White as a Florida Gator.

"The University of Florida is a great fit for me for several reasons.  First, they have an exceptional Nuclear Engineering program and actually have one of the only nuclear training reactors in the southeast.  Secondly, I really like Coach White, his integrity, his honesty with me, and his style of play.  He and I both feel that I can make an immediate contribution... I met the players on my official visit and felt right at home in Gainesville. Lastly, I have family on both my mom and dad’s sides who live in Florida. My grandparents, aunts and uncles, and my cousins will all be able to see me play and cheer on our team."

Barry averaged 19.7 points per game his junior season, but was limited to 13 games because of a shoulder injury.

 

November 23, 2015

UM hoops No. 9 in CBS poll

The UM men's basketball team made a major statement with nationally-televised back-to-back double-digit victories over preseason Top 25 teams at the Puerto Rico Tip-Off tournament.

The Hurricanes won the tournament title after crushing Mississippi St. 105-79 and then knocking off No. 16 Utah 90-66 and No. 22 Butler 85-75. Miami improved to 5-0 and surely will break into the AP Top 25 -- possibly the Top 15 -- on Monday afternoon.

UM is ranked No. 9 in the latest CBSSports poll.

ESPN college hoops guru Andy Katz said during the UM-Butler broadcast: "If they hold on here, they're not just going to be in the Top 25, they could be in the Top 10. Right now, it's how you look, and they look great.''

ESPN commentator LaPhonso Ellis, who was working the game, said: "I think they're a Top 10 team. I've seen almost all the Top 10 teams in action, and Miami is deeper and more balanced and has so many scoring threats. How many teams can go to their bench and not have any drop-off?''

Where will the Canes land in the latest AP poll? We'll find out soon.

This could be a very interesting year for UM basketball (women are 4-0 and also receiving votes). Wonder if those 5,400 season-ticket holders will show up Friday at 4 for the game against Northeastern?

See you at the BUC  -- Michelle Kaufman.

November 17, 2015

Huell expected to sign with UM

Wednesday could be a huge day for UM men's basketball. While the Hurricanes are in Puerto Rico preparing for Thursday's opener of the Puerto Rico Tip-Off, 5-star recruit Dewan Huell of Miami Norland High is expected to announce his college of choice. And word from a few sources is that the 6-9, 220-pound power forward will pick Miami over South Carolina. FSU was also in the mix, but he apparently eliminated the Seminoles from his list in the past few days.

Huell had a big summer impressing scouts, and is rated anywhere from No. 20 to No. 25 nationally depending on the recruiting site.

If you've never seen him play, here's a preview...

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o2FdcpPEvcs

 

posted by Michelle Kaufman. See you at the BUC.

November 13, 2015

Kamari Murphy suspended

By Michelle Kaufman

mkaufman@MiamiHerald.com

The University of Miami men’s basketball season got started with bad news two hours before tipoff Friday.

Junior forward Kamari Murphy, an Oklahoma State transfer expected to be a major contributor, was suspended for the first three games for a violation of team rules, the school announced as the Hurricanes prepared to host University of Texas-Rio Grande Valley at the BankUnited Center.

Murphy will return to the team Nov. 20 for the second-round game of the Puerto Rico Tip-Off.

Murphy sat out last season per transfer rules, and entered this year with high expectations. He is a tenacious rebounder and defender, and a vocal leader. Teammates and coaches raved about him in the past few weeks.

Teammate Sheldon McClellan called Murphy “a junkyard dog,’’ a tireless worker and among the team’s most respected leaders.

“Love him,’’ UM coach Jim Larranaga said of Murphy a few weeks ago. “Last year, I thought there were two areas we needed to improve and give attention to. Kamari Murphy does both very well. He is an outstanding defender and rebounder. He can guard one through five. That’s how quick he is…Once he’s settled in, maybe 10 games in, he’s going to be really, really good.’’

Added Angel Rodriguez: “Kamari brings what this team needed – somebody else to be very vocal, what I call a dog. He not only gets himself going, he gets everybody going.’’

November 12, 2015

UM hoops signs 6-11 center

Some basketball news on the eve of season-opener (7 p.m. Friday vs. University of Texas-Rio Grande Valley)

Rodney Miller, Jr., a 6-11 center, signed a National Letter of Intent to play basketball for the University of Miami, Head Coach Jim Larrañaga announced Wednesday.

Miller is a native of Laurelton, N.Y., and plays for Oak Hill Academy in Virginia. He is considered a four-star recruit, and is ranked No. 15 among centers by ESPN. He chose UM over Connecticut, Florida, Virginia, Georgia Tech, Wake Forest and Seton Hall.

“Rodney Miller, Jr., impressed us from the very first time we saw him play with his size, rebounding and shot-blocking ability,” Larrañaga said. “He has a lot of raw potential and we expect that he will improve dramatically in our program. He has learned to compete at the highest level in high school by playing for one of the very best college prep schools in the country.”

See you at the BUC -- Michelle Kaufman

October 23, 2015

New Unis for UM hoops...

In case you don't follow me on Twitter (shame on you!..just kidding...but you may want to add me to your list if you care about Canes hoops)...

The men's and women's teams had a Medium-Sized Reveal party last night, attended by UM basketball's biggest boosters. It wasn't quite the extravaganza at LIV that the football team got, but it was a nice affair -- with plenty of lovely appetizers.

Here is what the Canes will be wearing this season....

UMuniforms

Be on the lookout early next week for my preview stories on the men's and women's teams.

It should be an interesting season with nearly everyone back, the addition of Oklahoma State transfer Kamari Murphy, and a leaner, quicker Ivan Cruz Uceda (he dropped 20 lbs and went from 24 percent body fat to 9 percent..I want to use his trainer!!)

The schedule has lots of big home games -- Dec. 1 vs. Nebraska, Dec. 8 vs. the Florida Gators, Dec. 29 vs. Princeton, Jan. 2 vs. Syracuse, Jan. 9 vs Florida State Seminoles, Jan. 25 vs. Duke, Feb. 3 vs. Notre Dame, Feb. 22 vs. Virginia and Feb. 27 vs. Louisville.

On the women's team, the Hurricanes are very excited (read: giddy) about the addition of "Double Dutch'' freshmen Laura Cornelius and Emese Hof. They are both members of the Netherlands youth national team, played in the U19 World Championship, and word is they are picking things up really quickly and poised to make an instant impact.

See you at the BUC!

---Michelle Kaufman

October 05, 2015

UM hoops update...

Hey there UM hoops fans...the season is right around the corner.

Coach Jim Larranaga met with the media today to fill us in on what's up, and here's what you need to know:

1. Ivan Cruz Uceda is a new man! Last season he weighed 237 and had 24 percent body fat. Today he is a svelt 217 lbs and only 9 percent body fat! "He is faster, quicker, stronger and will be a better Ivan than he was last year.'' (Writer's sidenote: I need to go see trainer Steve Felde!!)

2. Angel Rodriguez missed a week of training after getting his wisdom teeth out, but he's fine now, ready to go.

3. Asked about Oklahoma St transfer Kamari Murphy, Larranaga replied: "Love him!'' He went on to heap praise on Murphy's defensive skills, rebounding and ability to learn.

4. Where does he see UM among ACC competiton? "The league is very deep. We're not above the crowd, but we're in the mix.''

5. Davon Reed? "Getting better and better at everything.''

6. JaQuan Newton? "Has really improved his free throw shooting.''

7. James Palmer? "Will be competing for a lot of playing time. I see him more as a 2 or 3.''

March 12, 2015

Pre-game scene @ACC Tourney

About 40 minutes 'til tipoff for the ACC Tournament quarterfinal between UM and No. 11 Notre Dame. Canes are the sixth seed, Irish the third.

A few pre-game scenes...

Ran across this super fan in the parking lot!

ACCBJ

Her name is B.J. Abolt, a retired auto tag agency owner who drove up with a friend from LaBelle, Fla., near Fort Myers.

They came up in a motor coach for the women’s basketball tournament and stayed for the men’s. Her brother and sister-in-law went to UM, and she adopted their team. She travels all over the country for UM sporting events. The license tag on her car back home is “CANES,’’ and the tag on her motor coach and Jeep is “2 4 U.’’

Why does she love the basketball teams so much?

“I grew up in Indiana with a basketball in my hand,’’ said Abolt. “I’m a big football fan, but now we have such terrific coaches that we’re involved with the basketball programs and it’s fun. This team, if they’re on, they can beat anybody here. Anybody.’’

She went on to rave about UM women's coach Katie Meier and men's coach Jim Larranaga, saying both are great teachers who make their players better.

A little while later, in the arena hallway, the Canes took over the hallway for some pre-game calisthenics.

ACCWARMUP

Good news for us reporters writing on tight deadline tonight...Duke is crushing NC State 77-51 with 2 minutes to go, which means the UM game should start earlier than last night's 9:43 p.m. tipoff.

Enjoy the game -- Michelle Kaufman

February 02, 2015

Coach L on Angel, Louisville, etc...

Checking in with a very hoarse UM basketball coach Jim Larranaga Monday morning as he prepares team for Tuesday night game vs. No. 10 Louisville. The 23rd-ranked Canes lost back-to-back games to Georgia Tech and FSU, and will probably fall back out of the Top 25 after rejoining the rankings last week. Here's what he had to say on the ACC teleconference:

On the week: "It's been a rough week for our team.''

On the team mood: “Kids are pretty resilient. They bounce back pretty quickly. I think it’s harder on the coaches. But it’s hard on everybody. Nobody likes to lose. Everybody wants to win.’’

On inconsistency: “The whole key is consistency and we’ve been a team that’s very, very capable on some night, but because of our inconsistency, some nights we don’t play well at all.’’

On Angel Rodriguez shooting 33 percent overall and 29 percent in ACC games: “Some of it is shot selection. Some of it is he’s got too much responsibility. He needs his teammates to step up and play a little better themselves so he doesn’t end up having to take and make every big shot. One of our problems is we don’t have an inside presence, like most of the teams in our league have. Tonye Jekiri is a very good defender and rebounder, but he’s not someone we can just throw the ball to and he’s going to score with his back to basket. In fact, we don’t have a back to the basket player. So defenses are able to extend and put more pressure on us on our 3-pt shooting. We haven’t shot the three particularly well, neither Sheldon nor Angel. Defenses are now playing them a little differently than earlier in the season.’’

More on Rodriguez: “He needs help form his teammates. What made him so successful early is Sheldon was also playing great, and so was Manu, making all kinds of shots. What opens it up for Angel is when Manu’s on one wing making threes, and Sheldon’s on the other wing making threes. That opens it up for Angel to do his thing. We’ve gone thought a stretch where we’re not making threes, and it puts pressure on all of them, not just Angel, but Sheldon, Manu and Davon, too.’

On who can step up and make big shots at crunch time: “Some teams you absolutely know which guys are going to get the ball at the end of games. We don’t really have that. Angel is 5-11. It’s not so easy for him. Even if he beats his man, it’s hard to score over the big guys.’’

On facing No. 10 Louisville Tuesday: “They’ve very different. They press. They have four or five different presses. They play zone, man to man. What’s hard on us, we only have this one day to prepare. I’d like to have 2-3 days to go over what we want to do.’’

On whether he uses Snapchat in recruiting:  “My assistant coaches do. I don’t use it myself. My communication is through texting and phone calls.’’

By Michelle Kaufman

 

January 26, 2015

UM back in Top 25

They're baaaaaaaaack. In the Top 25.

By Michelle Kaufman

mkaufman@MiamiHerald.com

The 31,000 fans at the Carrier Dome apparently weren’t the only ones paying attention as the University of Miami men’s basketball team knocked off Syracuse Saturday afternoon. Voters in the Associated Press and USA Today polls put the Hurricanes back into the Top 25 on Monday. They are ranked No. 23 in both polls.

UM had broken into the Top 25 on Nov. 24, got as high as No. 15, slipped to No. 18 on Dec. 15 and then dropped out after losing to Eastern Kentucky. But ever since the ACC season started, the Canes have been gaining respect. They had big wins at Duke and at Syracuse, home wins over Boston College and North Carolina State and their two losses were in double-overtime to undefeated No. 2 Virginia (19-0) and by five points to then-No. 12 (now No. 8) Notre Dame.

The Canes (14-5, 4-2 ACC) face Georgia Tech at home Wednesday at 9 p.m. Coach Jim Larranaga said re-entering the Top 25 doesn’t change the team’s approach to the game. He does not want his players wrapped up in rankings. But he recognizes that being a Top 25 team has long-range benefits.

“(It’s significant) as far as getting name recognition out there, having others think we’re good,’’ he said. “We’re always going to think we’re good. But it’s earning respect from other people that’s always been important. It helps in recruiting to have high school players and coaches think you have a good program, and the way they judge that is, `Who’d you beat?’’’

 

 

January 23, 2015

UM apologizes for fan shoving NC St. player

During Miami's 65-60 win over NC State Thursday night, a UM fan shoved Wolfpack player Anthony Barber. It was captured on video. UM athletic director Blake James released this statement:

After tonight’s game I was made aware of an incident involving one of our fans and a North Carolina State University student-athlete. First I want to apologize to the student-athlete involved, Coach Mark Gottfried and North Carolina State University.  This type of behavior is not representative of the University of Miami or our athletic program, and will not be tolerated. We will review the video and discuss with the ACC the appropriate actions in addressing this issue. 

 

January 21, 2015

Coach L kicks players out of practice

Most interesting nuggets out of Wednesday afternoon presser with Coach L and Sheldon McClellan:

1. Coach L did not like the energy of some players at yesterday's practice, so he made them run and then he kicked the entire team out of the gym and told them to go home. "He was pretty angry,'' McClellan said. "Rarely have I seen him like that. It wasn't the first time he was mad at us, but it was the first time we've been sent home.'' They plan to show up hungrier today because "We don't want to make coach mad.''

2. Coach L said fans should expect to see more of 6-10 Spaniard Ivan Cruz Uceda against NC State Thursday night than they saw of him vs. Notre Dame. The Wolfpack pack some heavy players in the paint, so Jekiri, Uceda, Sherman and Thomas will play a big role.

3. The Canes have had trouble guarding the perimeter, and they will be tested big time against NC State guards Trevor Lacey (17.1 ppg) and Ralston Turner (13.7), whom Coach L called a "Ray Allen kind of player'' who looks for a moment of daylight and launches threes.

4. Coach L said NC State (which beat Duke, as did UM) is "Maybe the most talented, athletic team in the league. Their backcourt is as hard to guard as any in the country.''

5. Coach L on Angel Rodriguez's 1-for-10 shooting against the Irish: "Some nights you have the juice, sometimes you don't.''

BY Michelle Kaufman