2008 Miami Hurricanes Basketball Preview
In 2007-2008, the Miami Hurricanes (23-11 overall, 8-8 ACC), coached by Frank Haith, showed marked improvement. After posting four straight losing conference marks, they went 8-8, finishing fifth and earning a NCAA Tournament berth. It was their first invite to the Big Dance since 2002. The Canes made it to the second round where they lost to Texas 75-72. The question is—are these guys a one-hit wonder?
At center, big-framed Jimmy Graham (18.2 MPG, 6.0 PPG, 4.9 RPG, 0.4 APG, 52.6 FG%, 58.1 FT%), a senior, offers intensity and fine defensive skills. Although not the best offensive player, he’s a fine shot-blocker and rebounder. The scoring will come from elsewhere. Junior power forward Dwayne Collins (20.0 MPG, 8.6 PPG, 6.5 RPG, 0.4 APG, 55.0 FG%, 50.0 FT%) can run hot and cold. His energy and intensity also seem to fluctuate from game to game. Collins needs to find consistency on all levels. Although there’s a lack of depth at the power spot, the small forward position has a slew of talent, including the versatile junior James Dews (28.5 MPG, 10.3 PPG, 2.9 RPG, 1.8 APG, 42.8 FG%, 90.7 FT%). Newcomers upfront include skilled transfer Cyrus McGowan from Arkansas and talented freshman DeQuan Jones.
Senior shooting guard Jack McClinton (31.5 MPG, 17.7 PPG, 2.4 RPG, 2.6 APG, 42.8 FG%, 91.9 FT%) is a fine clutch player and the best shooter in the ACC. Last season, he led the conference in three-pointers per game (2.94) and free throw percentage (.919). The point guard spot will be manned by senior Lance Hurdle (22.3 MPG, 8.0 PPG, 2.1 RPG, 2.4 APG, 32.0 FG%, 86.5 FT%). Hurdle, who uses speed and quickness to create scoring opportunities, played his first Division I season last year, starting slowly but finishing nicely.
Miami returns a bunch of key players, and they have some good new
recruits. Haith has said that his team will finish in the top-half
of the ACC. That goes without saying. The fact is that the Canes
possess the potential to take the conference and go deep into the
NCAA Tournament. They are not a one-hit wonder.