9 a.m. update: Virginia Commonwealth 6-10 forward Michael Gilmore has informed UM that he is transferring there, a source said today. This was first reported last night by Scott Golden of hoopexchange.
Gilmore played in 55 games and started 18 in two seasons for VCU, averaging 2.6 points and 2.2 rebounds.
He averaged just 11.5 minutes per game last season but he has at least two appealing skills: He's big and he's a big man with range.
He hit 13 of 33 three-pointers last season (39.4 percent) and shot 47.4 percent overall from the field (37 for 78).
He also has shown the ability to be a decent rebounder when given meaningful playing time.
Gilmore started 18 of the first 24 games for the Rams last season, but his playing time decreased significantly after that point because of the emergence of VCU forward Justin Tillman.
Gilmore's best game came against Oklahoma in the second round of the NCAA tournament, when he matched his career highs in points (12) and rebounds (eight) in 20 minutes.
Gilmore was considered one of the nation's top 100 players coming out of a Jacksonville high school and had offers from Kansas State, Georgia Tech, Oklahoma, Providence and others. He is the nephew of Hall of Famer Artis Gilmore.
Gilmore, who must sit out this upcoming season, has two years of eligibility remaining and will give UM some frontcourt depth when Kamari Murphy graduates after next season.
Meanwhile, UM has one scholarship remaining and is still awaiting word from five-star point guard Derryck Thornton, who is transferring from Duke after one season. Thornton visited UM's campus last month and has a good relationship with Jim Larranaga. He's also considering Kansas, Southern Cal and Washington.
We've heard a wide range of opinion on the Dolphins' offseason (the draft, in particular, got good marks) and here’s how analytics site Pro Football Focus, now owned partly by NBC’s Cris Collinsworth, assessed the Dolphins’ offseason:
First, their free agent moves: “After the Dolphins “won” free agency in 2015 and signed Ndamukong Suh to a record deal, some concessions had to be made this offseason,” PFF’s Mike Renner wrote. “Olivier Vernon and Lamar Miller were easily the largest casualties, but losing Rishard Matthews, Brent Grimes, and Derrick Shelby will prove costly as well.
“The issue isn’t so much that they didn’t dish out new deals to their free agents, it’s who Miami decided to replace them with. Signing Mario Williams, PFF’s lowest-graded edge rusher last season, to a two-year, $17 million deal doesn’t fit in with Miami’s larger offseason restocking theme, especially when it forced them to let the younger and more productive Shelby sign elsewhere. Williams had obvious effort concerns last year in Buffalo, but at 31 years old it’s also possible he just might not be the player he
once was. The best thing that can be said about the signing is that because he was cut, Williams won’t qualify into the compensatory pick calculation and the Dolphins will still likely get a third and a fourth next season, according to overthecap.com.
“The big offseason news, though, was the trade with Philadelphia that netted them Kiko Alonso and Bryon Maxwell. Maxwell might be an upgrade from their current situation at cornerback, but he’s still an average cornerback who they’ll have to pay $17 million over the next two seasons. Alonso, on the other hand, didn’t look close to the player he was as a rookie in [Buffalo] and with all his injury issues it’s unclear if he’ll ever get back there. The risk, however, was minimal and it could pay off dividends.”
And as for this 2016 NFL draft:
Round 1 (pick No. 13) Laremy Tunsil, OL, Mississippi
Round 2 (pick No. 38) Xavien Howard, CB, Baylor
Round 3 (pick No. 73) Kenyan Drake, RB, Alabama
Round 3 (pick No. 86) Leonte Carroo, WR, Rutgers
Round 6 (pick No. 186) Jakeem Grant, WR, Texas Tech
Round 6 (pick No. 204) Jordan Lucas, SS, Penn State
Round 7 (pick No. 223) Brandon Doughty, QB, Western Kentucky
Round 7 (pick no. 231) Thomas Duarte, TE, UCLA…
PFF says this: “Even after the trade with Philadelphia that bumped Miami back to the 13th pick, the Dolphins still selected an offensive lineman — Laremy Tunsil — with legitimate top-five talent. The pick also fills an egregious need, after Miami had the lowest-graded left and right guards in the NFL last year.
“In later rounds, they also nabbed a couple PFF favorites for Ryan Tannehill to throw to in Leonte Carroo (second-round grade) and Thomas Duarte (third-round grade). The heavy investment on the offensive side of the ball will be extremely important in helping Chris Grier to fully evaluate their quarterback before the Dolphins’ opt-out clause at the end of the year.”
PFF’s overall view? Writes Mike Renner:
“Outside of the unnecessary extension for the 34-year-old Cameron Wake and head-scratching signing of Williams, Miami had a decidedly impressive offseason. They couldn’t throw around as much dough as they did a year ago, so they executed a trade with the Eagles to infuse the roster with talent and also targeted a number of budget offensive linemen to plug holes. The defensive line might not have the same punch it did a season ago, but their offensive line figures to be among the most improved units in the NFL.
“Unfortunately, even if the offense takes a step forward from its 2015 form, the defense as a whole still figures to be a problem. Swapping out Grimes for Maxwell is a wash, and Abdul-Quddus is a solid addition, but the front seven will still have issues against the run. If their season ends in a playoff appearance, it will be because Tannehill finally took the next step with a talented line and group of receivers.”
• One player PFF likes a lot is Isa Abdul Quddus, the likely new starting safety opposite Reshad Jones, who remains away from camp protesting his contract. Jones would be subject to daily fines of $10,000 if he misses the start of training camp.
Abdul-Quddus said he has spoken a bit to Jones and is eager to play alongside him.
“Great player,” Abdul Quddus said. “I can’t wait to learn from him. I watched him. I know he’s a physical dude. He’s a baller. I can’t wait for him to bring that energy to the field. I feel we’re both versatile safeties. We can both play in the post and in the box.”
Abdul Quddus, who had 57 tackles, six passes defended and one interception in 16 games for Detroit last season (including eight starts), said Thursday that in his first three years in the league, “I really played free safety. Last couple years were first years I played strong. I’ve been watching a lot of safeties.
“I try to make sure everybody is in the right position. I bring a physicalness to the game. I am not afraid to hit anybody, come up and make the plays nobody else wants to.”
• The Dolphins announced their preseason dates and times. They will play Friday, Aug. 12 at the New York Giants at 7 p.m. and Friday, Aug. 19 at the Dallas Cowboys at 8 p.m. They will play Atlanta at 8 p.m. in Orlando on Thursday, Aug. 25 on NBC, then wrap up preseason at home at 7 p.m. Sept. 1 against Tennessee.
• With his game-winning hit last night, Christian Yelich now has four walkoff RBIs in his major-league career; he had two in 2014 and one in 2015. According to Elias, the only player with more walkoff RBIs over the past three seasons is Josh Donaldson, who has seven over that span.
• Ex-Canes file: The 49ers say Ray-Ray Armstrong is in the mix for a starting linebacker job. (If only UM had tried him there instead of playing him at safety). The Sacramento Bee said "to this point in his career, Armstrong is best known for beating his chest and barking at a police dog while a member of the Raiders last year. Armstrong was investigated for the pre-game incident in Pittsburgh in November, but charges never were filed in the matter."... Green Bay cut ex-UM quarterback Ryan Williams and signed ex-UNC QB Marquise Williams... Ufomba Kamalu, trying to make Houston Texans as an undrafted free agent, did a fun ESPN interview here....
Twitter: @flasportsbuzz... If you missed it, please see the last post for lots of Dolphins, Panthers, Marlins and the latest on UM's contigency plans if their first game needs to be moved, plus the major obstacle UM baseball must overcome.