I want you to know I haven't forgotten about you, Eye on The U crew. As I've told you before, they got me doing a lot of different things over at One Herald Plaza lately, from the AVP Tour to golf to the men's Final Four to covering high schools again this week for our departed prep writer who is off to Tampa for a special writing seminar. That being said I just wanted to make this blog more of collection of topics.
I'll start with The U. First off, I'm hoping to have some info relating to center Anthony King and his eligibility real soon. As soon as I know, you will.
I know most of you guys are football die-hards, but there are other sports going on at Miami and while I won't bore you with too much of it, I want to make sure to show them some love every once and awhile and fill you in on what's happening. On the women's basketball front, the team recently picked up three more signees -- Vitalija Vasciunaite, Latoya Drake and Diane Barnes. The Hurricanes were short several players on its roster this past season and signed six in all in its Class of 2007. Vasciunaite, a 5-8 shooting guard, played on the Lithuanian National Under 18-team and is a prolific scorer. Drake, a 6-2 forward/center, is a JUCO All-American honorable mention from Florida Community College in Jacksonville. Barnes, a 6-2 sophomore forward, is a transfer from Trinity Valley Community College in Texas. She played at Lakeland Kathleen High. Those three join Orlando Boone 5-10 guard Briyana Blair, Damisha Moore, and 5-8 point guard Epiphany Woodson. Not sure how good any of them really are, but just having bodies to choose from is a victory for Katie Meier whose team suffered a tough, tough season and will now return without ACC-leading scorer Renee Taylor.
Onto another team at UM that doesn't get enough pub. The women's tennis team is set to take off for the ACC championships this week. You know, the national runner-up from a year ago! The Lady Canes have the No. 1 player in the country in Audra Cohen and are ranked 10th in the country nationally and just got their second-best player back from injury in freshman Laura Vallverdu (ranked 14th nationally). For all the credit Cane coaches get for recruiting, hats off to women's coach Paige Yaroshuk-Tews for having the top-ranked women's player on her team the past two seasons (Meagan Bradley was the other) and taking the Canes tennis program to great heights. Another player in need of a shout out: No. 3 player Audrey Banada, a former standout at North Miami Beach High, who recently passed Ronnie Reis for the most career victories on the tennis court at The U.
OK, now to the topic on everyone's mind. I know this isn't a sports-related issue, but it is a college issue and I've got to imagine all of you have some thoughts on what happened over at Virginia Tech yesterday. Obviously, it's a tremendous tragedy, but the first thing that came to my mind was how in the world this guy was able to pull off a shooting on two different places on opposite ends of campus. Its one thing to walk-in and kill somebody in their dorm, it is another to cross campus and kill 30 more people. Didn't somebody see him carrying weapons through the campus? I can't understand how students weren't notified -- through email no less -- until two hours after the first shooting there was a killer on the loose. After seeing what happened at Columbine 8 years ago, I figured somethings would have changed. But school campuses continue to be protected by lackluster security. I covered high schools for five years in Miami-Dade. Not once was I stopped by a security guard in my middle of the day visits to campuses to speak with teachers, administrators or athletes. And when I was stopped, I simply told them I was with The Herald and was let past easily. Most of the time, security guards were rarely found and when they were, they were sitting on carts, relaxing and dozing off. I'm just of the opinion schools need to be held more accountable when providing security for their employees and students.
Lastly, I want to send a shout out to our News Department and Debbie Cenziper for garnering the 19th Pulitzer Prize in our paper's history yesterday. Her House of Lies series on on widespread problems in Miami-Dade County's public housing agency was spectacular and achieved what we all got in this business for -- to help people and make change. Cenziper led a team that wrote more than 30 stories and revealed how local developers took millions of dollars in taxpayer money to build affordable housing for the poor and failed to deliver, leaving thousands without their promised homes. The series led to massive changes in the county housing agency and the arrest of three developers. It was definitely cool to be in the office Monday to see her win the award in person.
Anyway, I'm out. When I get the chance to zero-in and focus on the football team again I'll post my thoughts on the position battles, etc. But for now, you're going to get what I'm covering, writing and thinking about. Feel free to chime in on what's up at The U and the tragedy at Virginia Tech.