2012-2013 Overall Rank: #29
Conference Rank: #4 ACC
Miami Team Page
Miami has reached the NCAA Tournament just once since joining the ACC. This year should be number two. The expectations are going through the roof for a team that recorded a winning record in conference play last year and returns four starters. Coach Jim Larranaga had a lot to deal with during his first season in Coral Gables, Florida, but he kept the team moving in the right direction. With Durand Scott leading the way, this could be the best Hurricanes squad in quite some time. Scott is a tough, attacking guard who led the team with 12.9 points per game last season. He is not a shooter, but he can do everything else. Scott averaged 5.4 rebounds and emerged as a great passer and ball handler during his junior campaign.
2011-12 Record: 20-13, 9-7
2011-12 Postseason: NIT
Coach: Jim Larranaga
Coach Record: 21-15 at Miami, 490-347 overall
Malcolm Grant is a big loss since he knocked down 2.2 three-pointers per game. Grant was never the most consistent shooter around and his overall shooting percentage was below 34 percent during his senior season. That was pretty bad, but it never kept Grant out of the starting lineup. Versatile wing DeQuan Jones has also graduated after averaging 5.9 points and 3.6 rebounds last season.
Miami has plenty of options to replace Grant on the wing, but redshirt freshman Bishop Daniels will be in the mix. Daniels missed last season with a foot injury, but the athletic 6-3 guard will be ready to find his role on this team. Tonye Jekiri, the lone incoming freshman, could add some depth in the paint. However, unless there are some injuries, Jekiri should have the luxury of learning behind the talent in front of him for now.
Who to Watch:
The Hurricanes have a dynamic duo in the paint with Kenny Kadji and Reggie Johnson. Kadji had a breakout junior year after transferring in from Florida, averaging 11.7 points, 5.3 rebounds and 1.6 blocks. At 6-11 and 242 pounds, Kadji is an intimidating presence in the paint, especially when teamed up with the 6-10, 292 pound Johnson. Johnson has dealt with some knee injuries, but has been one of the better big men in the ACC when healthy. He is the best rebounder on the team and, like Kadji, he is a versatile scorer who can step outside and knock down the mid-range jumper. If Kadji’s junior season was not a fluke and Johnson can stay healthy, even the big boys in the ACC will struggle against this frontcourt. The return of Julian Gamble actually gives the frontcourt some quality depth too, which they lacked last season. Two years ago the 6-10 forward averaged 4.0 points and 3.4 rebounds. If his knee injury is a thing of the past, Miami can give their 242 pounder and their 292 pounder a rest and bring in a 6-10, 250 pound senior. Not many teams can do that. Raphael Akpejiori is another big body who can provide some depth this year and Erik Swoope is a smaller forward who can man the four spot when needed. While the talent in the frontcourt is undeniable, Miami still needs to get them the ball and that is where point guard Shane Larkin comes into the picture. Larkin had a great freshman campaign. He is extremely quick and already one of the best perimeter defenders in the league. However, he needs do a better job of keeping the team under control. His athleticism is an asset, but Miami cannot forget about their big men and the offense must work them through the paint.
Rion Brown or Trey McKinney Jones figure to replace Grant in the starting lineup. Brown played very well when he started the final three games of the 2011-2012 campaign. The 6-6 junior is a fine shooter and proved that he is capable of picking up more of the scoring load. McKinney Jones has more starting experience and is another big guard who can shoot and attack the basket. It really will not matter who starts as both will likely see an increase in playing time and scoring output. Whoever comes in off of the bench will provide an immediate offensive spark. Garrius Adams used to be a starter, but suffered through a knee injury last year and only played in 19 games. He is really overshadowed now on this squad, but Adams is an experienced senior who can do a bit of everything. Coach Larranga just has to find playing time for everybody and that is never a bad problem to have.
Projected Postseason Tournament: NCAA
Projected Starting Five:
Shane Larkin, Sophomore, Guard, 7.4 points per game
Durand Scott, Senior, Guard, 12.9 points per game
Rion Brown, Junior, Guard, 7.2 points per game
Kenny Kadji, Senior, Center, 11.7 points per game
Reggie Johnson, Senior, Center, 10.0 points per game
Madness 2013 NBA Draft Rankings:
#56 Kenny Kadji
#64 Reggie Johnson
Madness 2012 Men’s Basketball Recruit Rankings:
#115 Melvin Johnson