#24 Miami (FL) Men's Basketball 2015-2016 Preview

Miami Hurricanes

2015-2016 Overall Rank: #24
Conference Rank: #4 ACC

Miami Team Page#24 Miami (FL) Men's Basketball 2015-2016 PreviewBuy Miami Basketball Tickets

Miami just missed out on the NCAA Tournament last season, but they will be shooting for a berth this year. Despite missing the NCAAs, the young Hurricanes picked up plenty of postseason experience. They made a nice run to the NIT Championship game, knocking off the likes of Alabama, Richmond and Temple along the way. Once again Sheldon McClellan will be asked to do much of the scoring this year. The 6-5 senior averaged 14.5 points per game in 2014-2015 and proved to be a dynamic scoring threat. His outside shooting is not always consistent, but his scoring is pretty consistent.  

2014-15 Record: 25-13, 10-8
2014-15 Postseason: NIT
Coach: Jim Larranaga
Coach Record: 91-49 at Miami, 561-383 overall

Who’s Out:
The only senior on last year’s roster was Joe Thomas, who averaged just 1.3 points and 2.1 rebounds per game. But there were some transfers. The most significant is Manu Lecomte, a 5-11 guard who averaged 7.9 points and 1.8 assists during his sophomore season. He is headed to Baylor. Deandre Burnett played a pretty big role in the backcourt as well during his redshirt freshman campaign, averaging 7.0 points per game. He is off to Ole Miss to continue his collegiate career. Omar Sherman was part of the regular rotation as a freshman as well and showed plenty of promise at times.

Who’s In:
The losses in the frontcourt will be filled by Oklahoma State transfer Kamari Murphy. He is not a major scoring threat, but he is a versatile 6-8 forward who can get up and down the floor and get on the glass. With more than enough depth in the frontcourt, freshmen Ebuka Izundu and Anthony Lawrence will have time to develop. Izundu needs to add weight and strength, but the future of the frontcourt could be his. The only other eligible newcomer is guard Mike Robinson.

Who to Watch:
Along with Murphy and the freshmen, Miami has some depth and talent in the frontcourt. Tonye Jekiri is the big seven-footer in the paint who can score, rebound and play great defense. Jekiri is one of the better rebounders in the country and averaged 9.9 per game as a junior. He also blocked 1.4 shots and averaged 8.6 points. Jekiri should average a double-double this year. There are more questions about who will join him in the frontcourt. Ivan Cruz Uceda has a lot of potential. He is a senior, but he never found his groove last year after missing a big chunk of the season for academic reasons. He averaged 5.2 points and 3.5 rebounds in 21 games and should battle it out with Murphy for the starting job.

Final Projection:
This may be McClellan’s team, but Angel Rodriguez is another experienced senior guard. Rodriguez averaged 11.9 points and 3.9 assists last season and is a great leader on both ends of the floor. Rodriguez is so good at setting up his teammates and McClellan and the rest of the backcourt will certainly benefit from his play again. Davon Reed, Ja’Quan Newton and James Palmer will clamor for minutes. Reed is the likely candidate to start because of his experience, shooting ability and toughness on the glass. Newton will learn behind Rodriguez for one more year before taking over the starting point guard duties and Palmer will likely spend one more season as a shooter off of the bench. Coach Jim Larranaga has three very talented seniors in McClellan, Rodriguez and Jekiri. If shots start falling for the role-players and Murphy or Cruz Uceda are at least serviceable at the four spot, this is a team that can give the best teams in the ACC a run for their money.

Projected Postseason Tournament: NCAA

Projected Starting Five:
Angel Rodriguez, Senior, Guard, 11.9 points per game
Sheldon McClellan, Senior, Guard, 14.5 points per game
Davon Reed, Junior, Guard, 8.2 points per game
Kamari Murphy, Junior, Forward, DNP last season
Tonye Jekiri, Senior, Center, 8.6 points per game

By the Numbers:
Scoring Offense: 68.2 (148th in nation, 7th in conference)
Scoring Defense: 63.3 (86, 4)
Field-Goal Percentage: 42.8 (210, 12)
Field-Goal Defense: 42.1 (118, 8)
Three-Point Field Goals Per Game: 7.7 (53, 2)
Three-Point Field-Goal Percentage: 35.8 (105, 5)
Free-Throw Percentage: 74.6 (22, 1)
Rebound Margin: 0.8 (159, 12)
Assists Per Game: 12.8 (154, 8)
Turnovers Per Game: 10.1 (13, 4)

Madness 2015 Men’s Basketball Recruit Rankings:
#111 Ebuka Izundu


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