clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

ACC Basketball Previews: Miami Hurricanes

New, 3 comments

Youth will be Miami's biggest struggle for the upcoming season. Will Jim Larranaga and his three returning letter winners be able to lead this team back to the promised land?

Streeter Lecka

Last year: 17-16 (7-11 ACC), KenPom #69, RPI #110

Projected Starters:
Manu Lecomte, G - 5'11" 159, Sophomore
Angel Rodriguez, G - 5'11" 189, Senior
Sheldon McClellan, G - 6'5" 206, Junior
Davon Reed, G - 6'6" 208, Sophomore
Tonye Jekiri, C - 7'0" 235, Junior

Other contributors:
Joe Thomas, F - 6'7" 235, Senior 
Ivan Cruz Uceda, F - 6'10" 240, Junior
DeAndre Burnett, G - 6'2" 191, Freshman
Ja'Quan Newton, G - 6'2" 180, Freshman
Omar Sherman, G - 6'8" 220, Freshman

Any preview of the Miami Hurricanes has to start by making reference to the fact that the Canes were the surprise ACC Tournament Champions from 2013. Unfortunately for them, 2014 was not as kind and most of us forgot that they carried relevancy in the conference. As we turn towards the 2014-2015 season, the Canes could be in big trouble as they return only three letter winners from last season.

That's not to say that they're full of freshmen. There are a lot of freshmen, but they also have a handful of transfers too, including Rodriguez (Kansas State) and McClellan (Texas), both of whom should be able to contribute from the get go, and Thomas (Niagara). The question is, how well will returners Lecomte, Reed and Jekiri be able to rally the team together into a cohesive unit?

Who's the freshman to watch? That would be DeAndre Burnett, who averaged 37.0 points per game as a high school senior two years ago. He was redshirted last year following a wrist injury, which means he's had a year to learn the system and should be able to provide plenty of points coming off the bench.

In terms of scheduling, Miami's repeat conference foes are Virginia Tech, Louisville, Boston College and Florida State, which in all is not a terrible luck of the draw. Out of conference, they get the honor of playing No. 7 Florida early in the season.

In an exhibition game against a place called Eckerd College, the seven-foot giant Jekiri sat out for what was called a "lower extremity injury," though accounts seem to indicate that this was more precautionary than anything for Canes fans to be concerned about. Its effect? One Canes site described it best: "The Canes were out-rebounded 33-32 and that's a horrible sign because Eckerd College's tallest guy is 6'6"." (And also, it's Eckerd College.) So the question for Canes fans is, how are they going to find someone to take some of the workload from Jekiri?

Miami will be fighting an uphill battle to improve enough to become a tournament team. I wouldn't count them out entirely, because Jim Larranaga could legit make some magic happen. But if I'm a betting man, I'd place my money elsewhere.