Miami (OH) Redhawks
Overall Rank: #127
Conference Rank: #5 Mid-American
2006-07: 18-15, 10-6, 3rd East
2006-07 postseason: NCAA
Thanks to Doug Penno’s almost last second shot, Miami reached the NCAA Tournament. The RedHawks followed it up with an amazingly close game against Oregon in the first round. However, this is the same team that just weeks earlier lost to a bad Bowling Green team. Another run at the right time and Coach Charlie Coles can lead his team back to the dance, but they will not be consistent enough to win the MAC title.
Penno left on a good note and will go down in the annals of Miami history, joining Ben Roethlisberger and a whole slew of football coaches. The 6-5 senior was the first guy off the bench and only earned two starts during his senior season. The other losses are just as painful. Forward Nathan Peavy averaged 14.1 points and a team high 6.3 rebounds and center Monty St. Clair, although rarely an offensive threat, started 28 contests.
A trio of guards is expected to make an immediate impact. Isiah Carson, a transfer from St. Bonaventure, is a solid shooter, but the 213-pounder never showed his ability with the Bonnies. With the new atmosphere, the combo guard has the potential to kick start his collegiate career. Kenny Hayes is another guy who can play both guard spots and Rodney Haddix is a terrific scorer. For a team that depended on the frontcourt for almost all its scoring last year, Miami should be able to find some points on the perimeter with this group of newcomers. Small forward Nick Winbush is a great ballhandler for his size and could develop into a quality player, but it is power forward Dwight McCombs that may be ready to play right away. The 6-7 Chicago product can do a little bit of everything and should be a contributor off the bench immediately.
Who to Watch:
Miami has a trio of experienced players to build around. By the time the defense started keying in on him, Tim Pollitz was too hard to stop. The 6-6 senior averaged over 20 points per game during the team’s last 16 contests. He has some quickness for a power forward and will stretch the opposition with his mid-range jumper. The First-team all-conference honoree is an early favorite for conference Player of the Year and the rest of the conference is working on a better double-team strategy against him this summer. Michael Bramos proved to be an effective scorer on the wing and is by far the best returning three-point shooter in Oxford. Alex Moosmann returns to run the point after averaging 4.3 points and 2.8 assists last season as a freshman.
The returning starters cover the point and two forward positions, but Miami has some concerns at the shooting guard and center spots. The newcomers are expected to cover the two guard, but Carl Richburg, if healthy, will be in the mix as well. In the paint, the best choice is Tyler Dierkers. The 6-8 junior started five contests last year and, like the guy he is replacing, he will not be much of an offense threat. Adam Fletcher saw very few minutes as a redshirt freshman, but is another big body ready to come in off the bench. As long as some of the incoming players can handle a few minutes here and there, Miami will be fine. However, just like last year, they are not the best team in the MAC, but getting third place in the East again might just be a good enough place to be to win a few games in the conference tournament and reach the NCAA Tournament again.
Projected Post-season Tournament: none
Projected Starting Five:
Alex Moosmann, Sophomore, Guard, 4.3 points per game
Kenny Hayes, Freshman, Guard, DNP last season
Michael Bramos, Junior, Forward, 11.2 points per game
Tim Pollitz, Senior, Forward, 16.1 points per game
Tyler Dierkers, Junior, Forward, 2.1 points per game