#68 Miami: 2010-11 Basketball Preview
Overall Rank: #68
Conference Rank: #7 Atlantic Coast Conference
2009-10: 20-13, 4-12
2009-10 postseason: none
Coach: Frank Haith (108-86 at Miami, 108-86 overall)
Despite a 20 win season, Miami did not have a great 2009-2010 campaign. The non-conference schedule was a cupcake and the team finished the regular season by losing 11 of their last 14 games. That is not great momentum heading into this season. Losing the team’s top scorers will not make matters any better. However, the Hurricanes relied on many young players who are only getting better and there is enough talent on this roster to win 20 games and probably a few more in conference play.
Key Losses: F Dwayne Collins, G James Dews, F Cyrus McGowan
Despite the absence of Dwayne Collins and James Dews, Miami has plenty of talent waiting to fill the scoring void. Coach Frank Haith had nine players average over 13 minutes per game and seven of them are back. Obviously this is a team that would prefer to go nine or ten deep and that should not be a problem with the addition of Rion Brown, Erik Swoope and Raphael Akpejiori. Brown, a 6-5 wing, has the most talent and athleticism of the bunch. He is a high flyer who can run up and down the floor and finish above the rim. Swoope is a gritty forward who should at least be able to add some toughness to the team as a freshman and Akpejiori, a 6-9, 230 pound forward, can make an immediate impact on the defensive end.
Playing time will be hard to come by with Durand Scott and Malcolm Grant starting in the backcourt, but neither of them should have to play over 30 minutes a game again this season. Scott is the leader on the court and averaged 10.3 points and 3.4 assists last year. He is also a very good rebounder for a 6-3 guard. His turnover numbers were a little high last year, but he was just a freshman and should be ready to take the next step. Grant spent most of last season coming in off the bench and knocking down three-pointers, but he also has the ability to handle the ball and it is never a bad thing to have two quality ballhandlers on the floor.
The frontcourt should not have a problem replacing the scoring left behind by Collins, but the rebounding could be an issue. Adrian Thomas is not a rebounder, but he is a superb outside shooter and a great scorer who can stretch out the opposing defense. However, if he has to spend a lot of time at the four spot the Hurricanes will get outrebounded consistently. Reggie Johnson and Julian Gamble can handle some of the work on the glass. Johnson, a 6-10, 305 pound sophomore, is a great rebounder and did a surprisingly good job scoring when he was in the game. However, he needs to prove that he can play more than sporadic minutes before he will earn a full-time starting job. In the meantime that job will fall to Gamble. Another option is Donnavan Kirk. The 6-9 freshman redshirted last season after getting injured four games into the season, but did show promise and should be in the regular frontcourt rotation.
Who to Watch:
If Johnson, Gamble, Kirk and Akpejiori can handle a majority of the minutes at the four and five spots it would allow Thomas to play at the small forward position. Yet, he may come in off the bench again this year in favor of wing DeQuan Jones. Jones is not a great scorer or a particularly good rebounder, but he is a good glue guy and started 20 games last year. Another option on the wing is Garrius Adams. He was yet another roleplayer who had some quality outings. If he can improve his outside shooting, the 6-6 Adams could turn into a dynamic scorer.
Coach Haith should be able to go ten deep again this year…at least. As long as the rebounding is not an issue, Miami could be a dangerous team by March. However, the younger players need to grow up too or this team will not be any better than they were last year.
Projected Post-season Tournament: NIT
Projected Starting Five:
Durand Scott, Sophomore, Guard, 10.3 ppg
Malcolm Grant, Junior, Guard, 9.6 ppg
DeQuan Jones, Junior, Guard, 5.7 ppg
Adrian Thomas, Senior, Forward, 7.3 ppg
Julian Gamble, Junior, Center, 3.5 ppg
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