2009-2010 Miami Hurricanes Basketball Preview
Coach Frank Haith’s Miami Hurricanes (19- 13 overall, 7- 9 ACC) have been unpredictable. Two years ago, they were supposed to be last in the conference; instead they ended the season in fifth and went to the Big Dance. Last season, they were pegged to be fourth but finished ninth and traveled to the NIT. This year, they’re expected to be in the bottom tier and attend the NIT. Who knows?
Statistically, the Hurricanes were deficient in field goal scoring, hitting just 43% from the field placing them 10th in the ACC. The teams free throw percentage placed them next to last in that category and their scoring offense, which worked out to 72.7 PPG, was ranked seventh. From downtown, the club was rated fourth (37%), their rebound margin was third (+5.2) and scoring defense third (66.3 PPG). And although this season the team will be without point producer, court leader and two-time All-ACC selection Jack McClinton (19.3 PPG, 3.1 RPG, 2.8 APG), Miami has one of the finest freshmen classes in their history.
The forward spots will be manned by senior Dwayne Collins (10.6 PPG, 7.3 RPG, 1.3 APG) and senior Cyrus McGowan (4.6 PPG, 4.4 RPG, 0.5 APG). The Hurricanes are looking for more consistency from Collins and McGowan, both of whom disappeared at times last season. Sophomore Julian Gamble (2.4 PPG, 2.5 RPG, 0.3 APG) saw limited playing time in 2008- 2009; he could be used more this season. Redshirted frosh center Reggie Johnson and freshman forward Donnavan Kirk will both see minutes.
In the backcourt, expect Villanova transfer Malcolm Grant to be utilized immediately at the point. Grant, a sophomore, saw a decent amount of action for Nova last season and proved to be an able three-point shooter. He could go a long way in making up for McClinton’s point production. Senior swing James Dews (8.2 PPG, 2.7 RPG, 1.3 APG), who had a tough time last year, is an able defender and solid three-point man. Dews will probably get the nod at the other guard spot. When Dews swings to the front look for freshman Durand Scott, a top-five freshman, to play guard.
The loss of McClinton aside, the Hurricanes possess a decent group of players that will be competitive. For this club to make it back to the Big Dance, Collins will have to be more connected to every moment of every game and Grant must immediately become a go-to presence. Otherwise, look for these guys to be in the NIT.