Monday, October 6, 2008

No. 18 Miami FL: 2008-2009 Team Preview

2007-2008 Team Preview: 23-11, 8-8 ACC (5th)

Key Losses: Anthony King (7.1 ppg, 7.0 rpg), Raymond Hicks (5.4 ppg, 3.3 rpg)

Key Returnees: Jack McClinton (17.7 ppg, 2.9 3's, 43% 3's), James Dews (10.3 ppg, 2.9 rpg), Dwayne Collins (8.6 ppg, 6.5 rpg)

Newcomers: Dequan Jones, Reginald Johnson, Cyrus McGowan

Jack McClinton may be the most explosive scorer in the country. Don't believe me? Just ask St. Mary's, the team he put up 32 second half points against in the opening round of the NCAA tournament. McClinton can score in a multitude of ways. He is an excellent three point shooter, hitting on 43% of his 220 attempts during the season. But he also is pretty quick, and is able to use his shooting ability to get defenders off balance and set up his penetration, where he can finish in the mid-range and at the rim (although his 6'1" height limits his effectiveness in the paint). The bottom-line is that McClinton can flat out score (he was better in conference, averaging 18.8 ppg in ACC games), and can score a lot in a hurry.

The Hurricanes also have some talented players returning around McClinton. Also starting in Miami's three-guard backcourt will probably be Lance Hurdle and James Dews. Dews is a junior and solid contributor who was voted the team's most improved player last year. Last year, he was used mostly as a spot up shooter, but if he continues to improve he could be a dangerous weapon for the U. Hurdle is an athletic point guard and an excellent defender (probably the best perimeter defender Miami has). He is aggressive attacking the rim, but can also knock down a three pointer. DeQuan Jones, a top 25 recruit, will also see time on the perimeter. Jones needs to improve his handle and his jump shot, but he is a 6'6" high flier that will probably do this a lot (that's John Wall he dunks on).

Miami's front court does have a few question marks, especially with the loss of Anthony King. Dwayne Collins and Brian Asbury split time in the starting line up last year, although the two are very different players. Collins is a 6'8", athletic center that is an aggressive rebounder and finisher. The rest of his game isn't that polished. Asbury's game is a little more perimeter oriented, as he can knock down the three, handle the ball a little bit, and is a pretty good passer. Jimmy Graham, a 6'8", 256 lb senior, also returns. Adrian Thomas, a redshirt junior who has battled injuries his entire Miami career, finally appears to be healthy, while Arkansas transfer Cyrus McGowan (eligible this year) and freshman Reggie Johnson should also compete for minutes.

Outlook: Everyone knows about Jack McClinton, and everyone knows what you are going to get from him. The question for Miami is how good will their supporting cast be. Can James Dews emerge as a solid No. 2 scoring option? Will DeQuan Jones end up being the real deal? Is Dwayne Collins a threat on the block? Depending on the answer to those questions, the Hurricanes could end up as high as third in the ACC.


joe said...

how come youre rating such a one-dimensional team so high? what do they have that the orange dont?

Rob Dauster said...

Here is my rationale: Devendorf and Rautins are coming off of serious knee injuries and I am not sure how they will perform this year; I'm not that high on Paul Harris; I think James Dews is poised for a breakout year; DeQuan Jones is better than anyone that Syracuse brings in; and I think Jack McClinton is better than Jonny Flynn.

But hey, its a preseason poll, and they mean just about nothing.