December 30, 2008

Marve granted release (confirmed)

It doesn't come as much of a surprise anymore, but quarterback Robert Marve has been granted his release and will leave the program. UM sports information staff has just sent a release confirming  the report by Canesport earlier this morning. Marve started 11 games for UM and was suspended for two others.

A little more than a week ago, Marve voiced his frustrations through his high school Robert_marvecoach Robert Weiner about his strained relationship with coach Randy Shannon and his displeasure with sharing the quarterback duties. Jacory Harris started in place of Marve at the Emerald Bowl. And it appears the writing was on the wall for Marve. Early Tuesday morning, UM coach Randy Shannon spoke with WQAM's Joe Rose and told him regardless if Marve returned, Harris would go into the spring as the starter.

"If Robert chooses to leave the University of Miami, we got Jacory, we got Taylor Cook, we got Cannon Smith, so we’ll be fine," Shannon said. "We’ve got enough talent on this team, we’ve got an experienced quarterback with Jacory, if Robert leaves, Jacory will be our guy, he’ll lead the way, because he has a lot of game experience...

"Jacory did everything to be our guy right now. Robert has to accept that hey, I have to be a person that is willing to do what we are doing at the University of Miami and I think he will if he wants that opportunity to do it, but if not and he wants to transfer, I will grant him his transfer."

Stay tuned to hear Marve's part of the story soon.

> Among other things Randy discussed during his interview, his idea about where he would like to go with the offense moving forward. Monday, Patrick Nix was fired and told The Miami Herald he and Shannon had philosophical differences -- he wanted to open it up more and Shannon wanted to play more of a traditional style.

"If you look at our team, we’ve got tailbacks, we’ve got fullbacks, we’ve got tight ends, we’ve got Jacory_harrisreceivers, now we have all those things in place. I just want a team where we can score some points," Shannon told Rose. "If you watch SC [Southern Cal], it’s a pro-style offense, they use multiple sets, do a lot of great things. Do they have a fullback? Yes. Do they have receivers? Yes. Do they have tight ends? Yes. Do they have three or four tailbacks? Yes."

"You want to be able to have a pro-style offense that can score points. I can’t sit up there and say that we’re gonna line up in 2-back and play smash-mouth; we can line up in one back, we can line up in 2-backs, and do a lot of great things. We should be able to throw the ball out of every personnel group that we’re doing. You want more of a pro-style offense that can score a lot of points.

Jimmy_graham> Not that many of you probably care to talk hoops at a time like this. But I just got back from Frank Haith's press conference. The news of the day is a bruised right wrist will likely keep Jimmy Graham out until ACC play. Graham slipped getting out of the shower two weeks ago and banged his wrist against the toilet. "We've got to give him some time, let that thing heal," Haith said. "He's tried to play with it and we've got to let it heal, because we need him down the stretch."

The injury should open up more playing time for redshirt freshman Julian Gamble, who has been playing well. He had 10 points and three rebounds in 12 minutes at St. John's. "With or without Jimmy's injury, he's earned more playing time," Haith said.

> I'll have an interview with Julian up for you later.

December 11, 2008

UM-FIU rivalry could end on court Friday

The University of Miami will host crosstown rival Florida International in a men's basketball game Friday night in a game that probably won't be very exciting. FIU, without four of its five regular starters, have never been much of a match for UM on the basketball court anyway -- with the Canes owning an all-time record of 11-1 against the Golden Panthers.

Jack_mcclinton_vs_fiuBut the reason most of us ought to care about this game Friday is because as of now, it's the last time the Canes and Golden Panthers will meet in any of the major sports (football, basketball or baseball). We all remember what happened in football three years ago and why these teams probably won't meet on the gridiron any time soon. And we all know how the baseball relationship has soured between UM coach Jim Morris and FIU coach Turtle Thomas, his former assistant of 11 years. But basketball -- at the very least -- was a place the Canes and Golden Panthers have never really had any beef.

UM coach Frank Haith said Thursday while the two schools are looking to keep the rivalry on the court going, nothing looks close to being done. "This is the last game of the series, but we're considering playing down the road – nothing definite yet," Haith said. "It's a game that for the city they get excited about. I know FIU's had some injuries, but I anticipate them playing extremely hard. They'll always play hard and defensively be very aggressive. I anticipate a very hard-fought game."

From what FIU beat writer Pete Pelegrin tells me, UM is looking for a four-game Mario_cristobal_and_pete_garciadeal in hoops, with three games at UM and one at FIU. That's doesn't sound like a stretch, considering UM has hosted 10 of the team's 12 meetings. But FIU athletic director Pete Garcia is looking for a basic home-and-home series with the Canes. As far as baseball in concerned, Garcia told The Miami Herald in April he hoped the series would continue. But according to the FIU 2009 schedule, it doesn't look like that's going to happen. The Hurricanes have yet to release their baseball schedule.

> As for the Canes basketball team, which slipped out of the AP poll and are No. 25 in the ESPN/Coach's poll, this will be the first of two games in three days. UM hosts Robert Morris Sunday at 1 p.m. before taking a week off and opening ACC play against Clemson on Dec. 21. It's going to be a nice little break during finals week for the team.

Dequan_jones> I spoke with freshman DeQuan Jones for more than half an hour after Haith's press conference and met his father, a steel worker and former junior college basketball star from Birmingham, Alabama. DJ is certainly loving his time at UM and talked a lot about learning how to be a leader from Jack McClinton. It's something Jones will definitely have to be next season when the Canes lose four seniors to graduation and welcome an entirely new starting backcourt.

One of those weapons will be Villanova transfer Malcolm Grant, who is sitting out the season per NCAA transfer rules. I asked DeQuan about Malcolm, who is his roommate, and how he's doing in practices with the team. "Malcolm's a bad boy," Jones said. "He's the most vocal guy on the team. You can tell when he's not out at practice because it's not as loud. Malcolm is loud all the time. He's going to be a great leader next season."

> Haith said he wants Jones to focus more on defense and rebounding. So far, in seven games, Jones is averaging 3.3 points, 1.9 rebounds and has 10 turnovers. He's averaging 12.7 minutes a game. "I think he's getting closer and closer to having one of those breakout games," Haith said. "With him it's a matter of him beining comfortable, understanding what we do and defensively – I'd like DeQuan to focus on rebounding and defense and let the offense take care of itself."

> Haith talked a little about Miami's other freshman who is seeing minutes, Julian_gambleforward Julian Gamble, and said he was really good in the Kentucky game even though he didn't score. "We look at the little things, clogging the middle up – he blocked three shots in that game," Haith said. "He's very active. I think Julian is coming along fine. The more the season progresses I think you'll see him get more and more minutes and be more productive, particularly on the offensive end because I think Julian has great skills."

December 03, 2008

ACC reviewing McClinton's slap

Frank Haith told reporters after Tuesday night's loss to Ohio State, he didn't think star Jack McClinton would face any future suspension after being ejected for slapping the Buckeyes' Anthony Crater midway through the first half. Looks like that isn't necessarily going to be the case.

Haith spoke with ESPN's Andy Katz Wednesday morning and told him ACC associate commissioner Karl Hicks, who was in attendance Tuesday, would review tape Wednesday to determine if there was malicious intent worthy of a one-game suspension. Miami plays at Kentucky Saturday and could ill-afford to be without McClinton, especially now that backup point guard Eddie Rios has been suspended indefinitely.

Miami committed a season-high 18 turnovers in the loss to Ohio State and had Lance Hurdle, who played a career-high 37 minutes, as its only legit ballhandler. Haith told Katz he was even more upset after reviewing the tape of the McClinton incident. I'm sure he'll be even more steamed if his best player misses out on Miami's next most important out-of-conference game on Saturday.

November 23, 2008

Where will The U go Bowling? Plus, Mr. Scott

ST. THOMAS, Virgin Islands -- The dreams of reaching the ACC title game officially ended for Randy Shannon's Hurricanes Saturday. North Carolina lost and Virginia Tech won like it had to. But Virginia couldn't beat Clemson, ultimately ending Miami's hopes of winning a three-team tiebreaker (UM can't win a two-team tiebreaker with Georgia Tech or a three-team tiebreaker with GT and VT) and reaching the Dec. 6 title game.

Now, it's time to explore the possibilities of where Miami could be headed this bowl season. Should the Canes win at N.C. State (that doesn't look so easy anymore) they are pretty much guaranteed of going to one of the other top four ACC bowl tie-in games not named the Orange Bowl (which takes the ACC champion and the Big East champ) or Chick-Fil-A Bowl (which takes the ACC's No. 2 team and the SEC's 5th best team). At this point, UM can finish no worse than at least tied for 7th in the bowl pecking order should it lose to N.C. State (which means no trip to the blue turf in Boise). So, here is a look at the possible destinations and opponents. Let me know what you think and where you'd like to see the Canes play when you finish...

Gator_bowl> The Gator Bowl in Jacksonville on Jan. 1 versus a Big East team (maybe West Virginia who would likely be the runner-up; Notre Dame is playing its way out of it) or a Big 12 team (there are rumors Nebraska could go there). It's going to be hard for Miami to climb up to Gator Bowl status considering Georgia Tech beat them soundly and would get the edge should Virginia Tech win the Coastal Division and head to the ACC title game versus Florida State, Boston College or Maryland. It would have definitely been nice to see a UM-Notre Dame game. UM-Nebraska wouldn't be bad because it has history and the teams are schedule to meet in five years. But like I said, UM would have to beat N.C. State and probably have Virginia Tech and FSU lose next week to even be considered in the running for this game as the third or fourth best team in the conference.

Champs_sports_bowl> The Champs Sports Bowl in Orlando on Dec. 27 versus the Big Ten's No. 4/5 team (it's going to be either Northwestern or Iowa). This is probably where UM ends up if it wins at N.C. State -- especially when you consider Boston College (who could finish second or third in the Atlantic Division) played there last year. Orlando would love to have UM, which is only a three-hour drive away. The problem is a Miami-Northwestern or Miami-Iowa matchup isn't exactly sexy. But it looks like a game UM could win at least.

Meineke_car_care_bowl> The Meineke Car Care Bowl in Charlotte on Dec. 27 versus the Big East's No. 3/4 team (Rutgers, Pittsburgh or Connecticut). If the Champs Sports Bowl passes on an 8-4 UM team, look for the Meineke Car Care Bowl to scoop the Canes up because of their old Big East connections. A Miami-Pittsburgh or a Miami-Rutgers matchup would be sexy because you get Randy Shannon versus Greg Schiano or Randy Shannon versus Dave Wannstedt. If it's UM-UConn (which never really were Big East football rivals), look for the Canes to get passed up.

Music_city_bowl> The Music City Bowl in Memphis on Dec. 31 versus the SEC's 6th or 7th best team (Vanderbilt, Kentucky, South Carolina or Auburn). How about a game with the old ball coach Steve Spurrier on a cold night in Memphis? Not a bad draw for Miami. But UM-Vanderbilt or UM-Kentucky would bore me to tears. This is likely the game Miami heads to if it loses to N.C. State. Vanderbilt or Kentucky would definitely have home field advantage in SEC country.

Emerald_bowl> Finally, the Emerald Bowl in San Francisco on Dec. 27 versus the Pac 10's fifth best team or another substitute (possibly Fresno State). This is the place Miami is headed if everything goes against them if they lose to N.C. State and everybody passes them up in the pecking order. California or Arizona could be possible opponents in this game. But right now, the Pac 10 is so bad, people wouldn't be surprised if a WAC team got in instead.

> Now, to basketball. I actually did this interview on Wednesday shortly after Durand Scott announced his decision to skip out on UConn and Pittsburgh to head to UM. But considering the football Canes were about to take on Georgia Tech, I figured it was best to save it for a couple days.

Q: What made you decide on UM? You could have stayed closer to home?
Durand_scott3A: The first time I went down to Miami on an unofficial trip it was OK. But I wasn't feeling it. When I made my official visit with my mom, it hit me that I had to decide where I really wanted to spend the next four years of your life. It came down to whose hands are you willing to leave your life in -- and I felt comfortable with UM. Plus, Pitt and UConn are two schools who have already been there, done that. At Miami, I wanted to be part of the start of something and put them on the map.

Q: Was Frank Haith a big part of why you chose Miami? I heard assistant Jorge Fernandez played a part, too.
A: They both really made me feel comfortable. They were like friends for me, not just someone who talked to me about basketball. It was about life too. Coach Haith is a great coach. He's been through a lot. He knows what's best for a kid.

Q: When did UM actually get into the recruiting picture for you?
A: Probably around the end of my sophomore year in the summer. The first school that actually offered me was Arizona. And the first school that looked at me was Duke. Miami is just a team on the rise, a family unit. I like what it's all about.

Q: Miami has four seniors on this team including Jack McClinton who will be gone after this season. Was playing time a factor at all?
A: When they leave I know there's more opportunity for me to play. But it wasn't he biggest factor. I'm just a hard worker in general. If I just go there and work hard, I have confidence I'll be able to play and help the team. The opportunity is there for me to play. But it wasn't the top reason.

Q: What were the guys like when you made your visit? Did you feel at home with your future teammates?
A: When I first stepped on campus, I just loved the feel of being around everybody. When I first started looking for a school, the first thing I thought about was being comfortable around my teammates. We had to have the same mentality, the same goals, to win. I love people who work hard and want it more than anybody else. Once you have that me and you are going to click. Really, all I care about is winning. I'll do whatever it takes to win.

Q: The top player for UM its 2008 class was DeQuan Jones. Did you ever play against him on the AAU circuit? And what do you think of being his future teammate?
A: I never got to play against DeQuan. But he's a very explosive player. I'd love to play with him. He's so athletic, so fast, so good. I saw his dunk on YouTube. Watching him do something spectacular can lift you off your feet. He's the type of player I'd love to have on my team.

Q: What are you doing when you aren't playing hoops?
A: I'm by my books. If I'm not about the books, I'm not a going out guy. This year I've been kind of lonely up at school. I lost three of my best friends to college. So, I'm getting used to playing with some new teammates.

Q: I heard you got hurt? What happened and how bad is it?
A: I pulled a ligament in my ankle. I went to the doctor and I'll be out three weeks. But I'll be in the lineup soon. I'm dying to get back out there. We lost in the state championship last year. I want to win this year.

Q: How do you know Malcolm Grant? I heard he played a role in getting you to UM, too.
A: He's from New York like me. I played against him when I was a freshman and he was a senior. We kept in contact even after he got into Villanova. The first time I saw him, I said this kid is going to be good. Some times things don't go as you wanted. I think its kind of a blessing for him and for me that we'll get to play together. I thank god for it. He's a special point guard.

November 19, 2008

Recruiting analyst: 'Miami basketball is relevant'

When it comes to basketball recruiting, there isn't a guy more knowledgeable in the country than Scout.com's Dave Telep. He's been in the business more than a decade and is on the board that chooses McDonald's All-American's, the Naismith High School Award winner and the Gatorade Player of The Year. So, when I called him moments after Durand Scott picked Miami on Wednesday and he gushed about the job Frank Haith has done building Miami's basketball program I made sure to listen closely.

Here's what Telep, Scout.com's National Recruiting Director, had to say.

Q: What does landing Scott mean to Miami basketball?
Dave_telepA: "It's an enormous addition. It comes to this: they won a long recruiting battle with two of the best programs in the country. It's a big deal. They played their cards right. Miami doesn't have the tradition of being a traditional powerhouse program. They've got to scratch and claw for everything they get. But they're in a position now to sustain from success. Frank Haith will be the first person to tell you none of this comes easy. It's a constant grind when you are battling the line you are in the ACC and you are competing with Connectictut and Pittsburgh for a kid like Scott. That's a grind. I can't say enough what a victory this is for Frank Haith."

Q: Is this the big-name, landmark signee they were looking for to put them over the top, for this program to pound its chest and say we're getting the big-time guys now? Or, has that day already come and gone in your eyes?
A: "I think every year is just another chapter in the book. If you look at Miami's basketball program right now, you see a program on the rise that's not going to be a one-hit wonder. It's built for the long term. Bringing in Durand Scott, Garrius Adams, Donnovan Kirk and a Lisandro-Ruiz Moreno [who still has not signed], it's another foundation for another strong basketball team. Miami basketball is past those days of being on the outside looking in. Miami basketball is relevant now."

Q: What kind of player is Scott? What does he give Miami on the court?
Durand_scott_2
A: "He's a very good defensive player. He has a lot of pride in playing defense and in high school that's a rare treat. He's a streaky shooter, so he's got to improve on that. But he can be a secondary ball-handler. He can shift in, rebound, pass, be a Jack of All Trades wing player. At the end of the day, though, what makes him special is he is wired to win. Winning matters to Durand Scott. Sometimes, you got to teach a guy to want to win. You don't have to with him. He wants to win in AAU season. Garius Adams is the same way. You can't put a price on what that means to your team. You already have a winning culture in Coral Gables and now you are bringing in guys who feed the monster. He should not be labeled as a savior, just another very good player."

Q: After this season, Miami is set to lose All-ACC guard Jack McClinton, Lance Hurdle, Jimmy Graham and Brian Asbury. How do you see this team next year with all the new additions with a guy like DeQuan Jones and a guy like Malcolm Grant in the mix?
A: "I envision a tempo and a pace that is basically an aggressive team that can guard you 94 feet, up and down the length of the floor and run, run, run on offense. They are going to be very athletic and very good."

Q: This class could still have one more huge chip added to the mix -- the No. 1 player in the country in North Carolina point guard John Wall. What do you think are the realistic hopes Miami fans should have in also getting Wall?
John_wall
A: "Miami is in its infancy stages with John Wall right now. All you can do is sell your program and see what direction it goes in. John Wall is the equivalent of getting Manny Ramirez in free agency. You make your best pitch to him and hope he bites. That would be the highest profile recruit to ever commit to Miami. But we're a long way -- probably five months -- away from that one."

Durand Scott chooses Canes

The University of Miami men's basketball program reportedly landed one of the top players in the country moments ago when Durand Scott, a 6-4 shooting guard from Manhattan Rice, N.Y. announced on SNY.TV he was picking Miami over Connecticut and Pittsburgh.

Durand_scottIt's a huge get for the Hurricanes, who announced the signing of two other players at the start of the early signing period last week. Scott is rated the 43rd-best overall player in the country by ESPN.com and a four-star recruit by Rivals.com. Scott has a close friend at Miami in Villanova transfer Malcolm Grant, also from New York. He also reportedly built a strong relationship with UM assistant Jorge Fernandez.

"I made my decision because of comfortability, just the type of person I am and where I believe I best fit," Scott said SNY.TV "When I took my visit to Miami, I knew it was the place I wanted to be. But I didn't want to tell everybody. I wanted to weigh my options.

"Everything there is great, basketball wise and academic wise. I love them. They've sparked my interest. They also made me feel welcome. They have [Malcolm Grant] who is there also. It's not like I'm going to be meeting a bunch of people that I don't already know. I'm familiar with some people there."

November 14, 2008

CoachSpeak: Shannon, Haith talk Friday

BANKUNITED CENTER -- Just got through a double-header of press conferences for football coach Randy Shannon and men's basketball coach Frank Haith here at The U and wanted to pass along what was talked about. We'll start with the guy who is coming off a big win Thursday night in front of a national TV audience...

Randy_shannon2> Shannon was obviously happy with his team's fifth consecutive win, especially with how the defense and special teams played. But Shannon said the goal this week in preparing for Georgia Tech is to learn how to "seal the deal." Shannon said he was frustrated Miami couldn't punch the ball into the end zone while in the red zone and settled for field goals. He also wasn't happen with Graig Cooper's fumble and Kayne Farquharson's drop. He said there are lessons to be learned. "We got to capitalize when we get those chances," Shannon said. "We got to seal the deal and not wait until the fourth quarter to make those plays. We're not getting hat extra push in the red zone. And we need to."

> What Shannon liked most in reviewing film was how Miami cut down on the number of penalties it drew two weeks ago against Virginia. The Hurricanes were flagged one time for 10 yards Thursday night -- a 10-yard illegal block penalty, which cost the Canes good field position.

But overall, Shannon liked the fact Miami was able to win the field position battle and praised kicker Matt Bosher for getting great hangtime on his punts and kickoffs, allowing the special teams unit -- led by Sam Shields -- to get down field and not allow for big returns. "It was probably his best performance in terms of all three phases," Shannon said of his kicker. "Our plan was for him to kick it up, let it hang and let our two fliers -- Sam and Ryan [Hill] to get there." Shannon pointed out freshman Ramon Buchanon had an opportunity to block a punt and didn't.

> Shannon said Shields big hit on the kickoff after Miami scored to make it 10-7 got the team excited and the crowd excited and gave Miami momentum.

> Shannon said one of the biggest keys to the game was winning the time of possession battle -- especially in the second half. Miami had the ball for 18 minutes in the second half -- including 10 in the third quarter. "Everybody talks points, points, points," Shannon said. "But sometimes, holding on the football is just as important. Bud Foster is one of the best coordinators in the nation. We knew if we could hold onto the football and keep their offense off the field, it was just as effective."

> Shannon was happy with the play of his defensive line, which produced six sacks and was led by freshman Marcus Robinson's three-sack performance. But as good as the line played, Shannon said he saw a few other blown opportunities for sacks and big plays.

"Allen Bailey missed a sack and Marcus had a few mistakes where he was out of position," Shannon said. "But I like what we're doing. It was a great game to see [Robinson] come around. But he wouldn't have had that type of a night if not for the guys inside. Coach [Clint] Hurtt pointed out how guys were not reacting to run pass like they should. We just did a better job recognizing that. Another guy who deserves some praise is Josh Holmes. He's been very active on the inside."

> Shannon said the only way Bailey will move to defensive tackle permanently is if he were to put on more weight. Right now, Bailey is only playing at the tackle spot in bandit formations.

> Shannon also had high praise for left tackle Reggie Youngblood, who stepped in and started for Jason Fox at left tackle. Shannon said Youngblood did a good job picking up the blitz. Miami rotated four guys at tackle -- Chris Rutledge, Matt Pipho and Tyrone Byrd rotated in at right tackle and a few snaps on the left side. Shannon said he doesn't know if Fox will be back for Georgia Tech this week.

> The other injured guy to follow this week is receiver Travis Benjamin, whom Shannon said was "nicked." It appears Rutledge, who was injured Thursday but returned to action, is "fine."

> Shannon talked a little about Georgia Tech and the challenge Miami faces next week. The key he said to stopping the Yellow Jackets option running game is stopping their fullback. "It's going to be difficult," Shannon admitted. "We got to play assignment football."

FRANK HAITH'S PRESS CONFERENCE...

Frank_haith> As expected, Haith told us Friday starting point guard Lance Hurdle will not play in Saturday's home opener against Florida Southern. He still hasn't practiced at full-speed since suffering an ankle injury the first week of practice. Haith said there is no guarantee Hurdle will play in next week's Paradise Jam in the Virgin Islands. "He's a couple days away," Haith said. "But for a guy like him, whose wheels are so important to how he plays, you got to take time to make sure its right. I don't think we'll see Lance at 100 percent for awhile."

> Sophomore Eddie Rios will get the start in place of Hurdle alongside Jack McClinton, James Dews, Dwayne Collins and Jimmy Graham. Haith said Rios has had a really great week of practice and is hoping he takes advantage of his opportunity.

> Saturday night's opponent Florida Southern is in Division II. But Haith warns the Moccasins won't be a pushover, not with 7-foot center Rashaad Singleton, a transfer from Georgia in the lineup. Miami beat Florida Southern last year 104-61 last year.

> Haith said he's excited about his two new post players including Cyrus McGowan, who led UM in scoring in their two exhibitions. Haith said he was pleased with the play of redshirt freshman center Julian Gamble as well as Miami's defensive effort in the preseason. The Canes are trying to create more turnovers this season and trap teams. What Shannon didn't like in the preseason were the turnovers Miami had.

> Haith said he's hoping to use freshman DeQuan Jones in a Jimmy Graham type fashion -- energy off the bench. He said Jones (6-6, 217) has the physical tools to block shots, rebound, score and create steals, but needs to work on his positioning. "He's a freshman and it takes time. I hope our fans understand that because he's going to be special."

June 17, 2008

Summer Check-In

With the baseball team enjoying a day off -- and me enjoying a few of my own too -- I figured I'd check in to say hello and share a few notes with you.

1. I officially feel old. I turned 30 on Saturday and had a great time. We partied at Opa -- that Greek restaurant -- on South Beach. I danced on tables with some really hot chicks. Later, we had a real nice time at a restaurant/club in the Grove called Christabell's Quarters. The place has the look and feel of the French Quarter in New Orleans. Drinks can be pricey ($7 beers?). But I still recommend it if you want to try something different in South Florida.

2. Expectations are continuing to climb for Frank Haith's basketball team. ESPN analyst Andy Katz Frankhaith recently moved the Canes up from 12th in his preseason rankings to 8th with this disclaimer... "The Hurricanes should be a top-10 team in the country and a top-three squad in the ACC. There really is no excuse if they're not. Jack McClinton might be one of the top guards in the nation next season. Dwayne Collins is a legit scorer in the post. The role players were all solid last season. And Miami has the experience of going to the NCAA tournament and winning a game." I'd love to think the Canes are ready to be a Top 10 team in the country. But they got to show me they have a consistent No. 2 weapon behind J-Mac first.

3. Speaking of McClinton, he reportedly balled out according to InsideTheU at Chris Paul's Backcourt Skills Camp two weekends ago. McClinton earned MVP honors among a group that featured Davidson's Stephen Curry, Florida's Nick Calathes, Boston College's Tyreese Rice and a group of about a dozen others. That's a great sign to see No. 33 not only enjoying his summer workouts, but outshining some of the other stars in college basketball. I'm hoping to catch up with Jack myself before the end of the summer. But tomorrow, I have an interview set with freshman Julian Gamble, who spent the first half of his offseason traveling with Athletes in Action in West Africa. I'll share the interview with Gamble, who is expected to play a pivotal role in the paint behind Jimmy Graham and Dwayne Collins next season, when I finish it later this week.

4. As for the football team, look for some movement on the recruiting front over the next couple of weeks. Coach Randy Shannon hosted a three-day camp over the weekend and had a number of high Randyshannon profile 2009 out of town recruits in town for unofficial visits to the campus (That's how they do it in college football these days). One recruit, Jacksonville Raines defensive end Lawrence Henderson, reportedly committed to UM Monday and then backtracked according to Canesport.com. Most of the guys who visited aren't anybody you've really heard of yet. But rest assured you will. I get the sense Miami coaches are really making a push out this year to nab out-of-town recruits. Truth is the 2009 class locally is not as strong as '08 was and Miami coaches are looking elsewhere to fill their primary needs at corner and along the offensive and defensive lines. I think ultimately the only local kids Miami is truly after are Killian running back Lamar Miller, Columbus defensive tackle Antwan Lowery, American defensive end Olivier Vernon and Plantation cornerback Brandon McGee. That's fine -- as long as the out-of-towners get locked in.

5. As for the remaining '08 signees who are still having issue getting into Miami with grades and test scores, look for an update my friend Barry Jackson tomorrow. BJ has news on that as well as some other eye-opening notes that have only been rumored topics on message boards up to now.

As for me, I'm supposed to be on vacation until the middle of July. And I plan to rest, relax and reinvigorate myself until then. But I'll still be around providing updates when I can. Until the next time, peace out!

April 30, 2008

Quick hits: Hoops recruit, pitching, Ice

Just got back from Wednesday's baseball practice and have a few quick tidbits of info I'd like to share with you from all three sports:

- Frank Haith's basketball program has picked up another player who will be part Donnovan_kirkof the 2009 class, 6-8, 205-pound power forward Donnovan Kirk. Scout.com's Dave Telep reported it this afternoon. Kirk, a Scout.com Top 100 junior from Detroit County Day, picked UM over Michigan State, USC and South Florida. Rivals.com rates Kirk 56th in its Top 100. Telep reported UM got in early on Kirk and swayed him from the hometown Spartans. Assuming Kirk sticks to his word, he becomes the second member of the 2009 class, joining Villanova transfer Malcolm Grant. Miami has four seniors heading into next season and likely two more scholarships available to use in '09. I've got a call into Kirk's high school coach and hopefully will have more for you later tonight.

- Baseball coach Jim Morris said Wednesday he's going to leave freshman Chris Hernandez in the Friday night starter role instead of going back to now fully healthy sophomore Eric Erickson. Hernandez was named Pro-Line Athletic National Pitcher of the Week by the National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association (NCBWA) on Tuesday. The former Monsignor Pace standout matched a career-high with 11 strikeouts in a career-long eight innings to lead No. 1 Miami to a series-opening 1-0 shutout of No. 16 Virginia last Friday. He improved to 7-0 on the season with a 2.77 ERA. I caught up with Hernandez this afternoon and will have a Q&A later this week for you.

- Booker T. Washington football coach Tim "Ice" Harris told our Andre Fernandez Ice_harristoday he will indeed be leaving the Tornadoes to work at UM. Harris is waiting until after his team competes in the Class 3A state track and field championships this week to formally announce it. He'll be following his son Brandon, a star cornerback and '08 recruit. Rumor is the job Harris will be taking is Community Liaison. Harris led Booker T. to the state football championship this past December and won last year's state track title. UM coach Randy Shannon has been friends with Ice for years and I'm told UM is very much interested in letting him coach down the line.