Steve Mitchell-US PRESSWIRE
The Miami Hurricanes Men's Basketball Coach Jim Larranaga has been rapidly building a reputation for being the "Al Golden" of basketball recruiting. Relentless and unwilling to overlook any prospect, especially in the state of Florida. Well those efforts have begun to pay off.
Yesterday the Canes basketball team landed a major verbal commitment from Adonys Henriquez, a highly regarded class of 2014 guard from Orlando (Fla.) Christian Prep. Henriquez was ranked as high as 36th according to ESPN and 58 on Scout and 66 in the Rivals database. He is the first commitment for the 2014 class for Coach Larranaga and gave his verbal to the staff right after watching the Canes destroy the Central Florida Knights Tuesday night. The 6 foot 5" four star shooting guard is known for his shooting ability from both long and medium range.
This commitment demonstrates how tireless the UM staff has been in recruiting Florida talent. We know that Coach L and Chris Caputo left immediately following the UMass victory on December 1st to catch a flight to Orlando just to watch two other highly ranked guards from the 14 class in Joel Berry (Lake Highland HS) and B.J. Taylor (Boone HS). The staff has made it a high priority to make sure recruits notice their presence on a constant basis and already that is beginning to payoff.
With potentially 5 more scholarships open after this year the Canes are likely to pursue 2-3 more freshman signees in the spring signing period as well as 1 or 2 JUCO players and 1 or 2 transfers. Here are some other recruits worth keeping an eye on in the 2013 class.
Niem Stevenson, this 6 foot 5 wing plays for Kenny Gillion at Faith Baptist Christian in Brandon, FL and is teammates with PF Demetrius Henry. Both now have offers from the Canes after Coach Larranaga took in a recent game where he saw Stevenson drop 31 points. That seemed to be all Coach L needed to extend the offer to the slashing guard. Niem can drive to the rim or step out and bomb from beyond the arc. Stevenson was ranked as high as #13 in Texas last year before heading to prep school under Coach Kenny Gillion at Faith Baptist. Gillion says Niem is a legit 6'5" and is an athletic kid who Gillion said needed to be at a place where he could focus more on his academics. As for Niem's teammate Henry, he picked up an offer from Texas last week but Coach Gillion said Miami remains high on his interest list and "hears from Coach Larranaga often."
Another name to keep an eye on is Cullen Russo, a 6'8" forward who according to Coach of the AAU team Minnesota Pump N Run Tom Krosschell is an "athletic forward who is comfortable facing the basket and can jump out of the gym." Russo went to prep school Southern Tech in Charlotte NC and is a class of 2013 recruit. Russo "has a Miami offer according to his Mom here in Minnesota" said Krosschell and "is very interested in Miami."
It is worth noting that current signee Deandre Burnett who is wrapping up his prep stint at Massanutten Military Academy plays with 3 star guard Ahmad Fields who lists the Canes in his top 5 along with St. Joe's, Drexel, Ole Miss and his current leader Utah (he went on his official visit there Monday). It's unclear if Fields holds an offer from UM at this point but he says he should be making his decision soon.
Another local player the Canes are keeping an eye on is Amidah Brimah who plays for Archbishop Carroll HS in Miami. The 6'10" center doesn't have an offer yet but according to his coach Juan Hernandez "UM is intrigued and interested in him... has improved tremendously over the last 6 months and he wants to go someplace where he'll have an opportunity to play right away. He has offers from very good schools and programs where he'll definitely have that opportunity." Coach Hernandez said that Coach L and staff have done a great job building relationships with the local HS coaches and " it's been a big improvement from the past. They are all more active in Florida and it shows. Florida has unbelievable talent and it would be foolish for any school in the state to not actively recruit here."
*Special thanks to @JoshDaCane for his insights into the Canes recruiting world, couldn't have done this without his help!