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Heat adds NCAA's top 3-point shooter; 104.3 FM's format changes; James Coley addresses issues

The Heat on Friday signed undrafted rookie Corey Hawkins, a 6-3 shooting guard from Cal-Davis who led the nation in three-point shooting percentage last season at 48.8 percent.

Hawkins, who made 81 of 166 three-pointers, was seventh in the nation in scoring at 20.9 per game and was named Big West Player of the Year. He also averaged 4.9 rebounds, 3.4 assists, 1.4 steals but 3.0 turnovers.

Hawkins, the son of former NBA guard Hersey Hawkins, gives the Heat 17 players under contract, three under the league maximum for training camp.

Three of those players --- forward James Ennis, center Keith Benson and Hawkins --- have non-guaranteed deals.

Tyler Johnson’s contract is partially guaranteed. Teams can keep no more than 15 players once the regular season starts.

The Heat would like to keep Hawkins for its Development League team in South Dakota if he doesn’t make Miami’s roster.

Hawkins averaged 19.7 points and shot 47.3 percent from the field and 41.3 percent on three-pointers in three seasons at UC-Davis. He twice led the Big West in scoring after transferring to UC-Davis from Arizona State, where he never played.

Hawkins was on the Sacramento Kings’ summer league roster but was sidelined by an ankle injury.

“Corey in the training camp shot the ball very well,” Kings assistant coach John Welch told The Sacramento Bee. “He’s a natural scorer. He knows how to get to the free-throw line, get guys off balance, kind of an old-man game.”

RADIO CHANGE

Listeners tuning in to 104.3-FM The Ticket on Friday got a surprise: Without warning, the station switched permanently to an alternative rock format.

That means all of the sports programming that had been simulcast on both 104.3 FM and 790 AM will now air on only 790. That 790 lineup is highlighted by Heat games and Dan Le Batard’s program, which is expected to move from 3 p.m. to 9 a.m. in a few weeks.

Entercom, which last month completed its purchase of both stations from Lincoln Financial, believes a music format will generate more revenue that an FM sports format.

The switch happened at 11 a.m. Friday, without any public announcement in advance, and stunned station employees, including the marquee hosts.

So why make the move?

“The FM didn’t put us so far over the top that everyone stopped doing sports; it didn’t give us this big huge victory,” general manager Doug Abernathy said.

“The data shows that everyone calls it 790 The Ticket. That’s the brand. There was this gaping hole in [ages] 18 to 49 that was being under-served --- music in general. You have five, six stations doing pop, hip hop in the market. We’re serving up something that is sorely missed in the marketplace.”

But why not announce it sooner than minutes before?

“With social media today, you don’t need three or four days of let’s tease this thing,” he said. “We launched at 11 a.m. By 3 p.m., we’re No. 3 trending on Twitter. Every, every other song [on 104.3], we’re making reference to 790.”

The Miami-Fort Lauderdale market hasn’t had a rock station since 93.9 FM in 2012.

The 104.3 FM signal has been simulcasting 790’s programming since August 2012 and drew more listeners than the AM signal did.

The elimination of one of The Ticket’s signals will give WQAM-560 an opportunity to make inroads in its ratings battle against the Ticket, which has been winning in most dayparts.

COLEY’S THOUGHTS

Some snippets from UM offensive coordinator James Coley from his session today with WQAM’s Joe Rose:

### On Stacy Coley: “He started in January, said to himself, 'I cannot come into training camp 168 pounds.' [Now] he’s 195 pounds.

"He came in really light [last year], had wisdom teeth pulled out, had a back injury, had a shoulder injury. Was never 100 percent coming into [last] season. He attacked the training [this year]. He’s had one drop the entire camp. He’s stronger. He’s got confidence. Being stronger, the weight, and not hurting built that confidence. He’s in that feed-the-beast category.”

Coley said he wants to get Coley the ball more down the field, as opposed to merely bubble screens. “We like to chuck the ball, throw the ball downfield, and he and Herb Waters have to replace a Phillip Dorsett and stretch the field like Phillip did.”

### On getting enough touches for the receivers: “It’s a very unselfish bunch. Kevin Beard, our receivers coach, has done a phenomenal chance, has gained the trust with his knowledge of having played the position. They’re trusting everything he says. It’s not really a 'me' group….

"What’s really complicated is we have tight ends who can come into the slot or [be] receivers and not be traditional tight ends. David Njoku, at 6-5, can stretch the field. What personnel groupings are you going to put other there?... Everybody is going to get the opportunity to catch the ball.”

### On the rotation at running back, which is challenging with four backs warranting carries (Gus Edwards, Joe Yearby, Mark Walton and improved Trayone Gray): “That’s probably the hardest job on offense and that’s why coach Ice [Tim Harris] has it. He’s got a great feel for it. He coached me in high school so I’ve got to shut up.

"We have a plan on how the game plan is going. When you have four backs, you have to continue to ask that question: Who’s getting the majority of the carries? Who’s giving him the break? Is it always this guy or is it another guy?”

### On Walton: “He picked up the system fast. He’s shown he can play at this level this year and play big.”

### On the offensive line: Coley said the group is not yet set.

It appears Nick Linder is the likely starting center; Trevor Darling likely will be one of the tackles; and Danny Isidora should start at guard unless he’s moved to tackle. Kc McDermott and Alex Gall also have decent shots to win jobs, but Jahair Jones and Sunny Odogwu and Joe Brown are pushing.

“This unit made a commitment to be the tightest group on the team,” Coley said. "They’ve responded. They’re playing with a chip on their shoulder. Everybody is saying we may be the weak link. I’m excited about the group.”

Twitter: @flasportsbuzz 

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