As we head into the spring signing period for NCAA men's college basketball, which begins on April 17, we're here to give you a quick update about which recruits are still on the board for the Miami Hurricanes. University of Miami Coach of the Year Jim Larranaga has five seniors graduating this year, assuming that graduating senior guard Garrius Adams redshirts and returns as expected, and will have needs at every position. The Canes have seven slots going into this year, one from last year when Melvin Johnson was not admitted to the university, one that opened up when Bishop Daniels transferred, plus the five seniors. Three of these are taken by two fall signees, 4-star guard Deandre Burnett and 4-star wing Davon Reed, and a recent JUCO commit from power forward James Kelly, leaving the Canes with four more scholarships to fill. Coach L has said repeatedly that the team is looking to take at least one to two more freshman and possibly one or two transfers, and that they may hold onto one for the loaded 2014 class. Here is a look at which Class of 2013 players are being pursued by the Canes and where they stand in their recruiting:
The top prospect on the board is Demetrius Henry, a power forward from South Florida who also happens to play the position of greatest need for the Canes. This 4-star recruit has kept his recruiting very close to the vest, granting very few interviews, but has narrowed his final three schools to Miami, South Florida and South Carolina. Henry indicated that he said plans to visit Coral Gables this weekend and USF the following, after previously visiting South Carolina. His mother favors South Carolina because its closer to her Augusta, Georgia home, however, Demetrius has grown up mostly in South Florida, playing his high school ball at Northeast in Fort Lauderdale, a year of prep school at Faith Baptist in Brandon (near Tampa), and playing for the Florida-based AAU Team Breakdown. After his March 23rd visit to South Caroline, Demetrius said, "I chose to cut my list to the three schools where I have a chance to play early as a freshman and right now everybody is even." Henry's AAU coach Kenny Gillion agrees, saying that "he needs to finish his visits so he can make his decision," and indicating that playing time is truly the main factor in Henry's decision.
As it stands now, the team with the most to offer for playing time would appear to be Miami, having lost three frontcourt players. Right now, it seems that both USF and South Carolina have more verbal commits than open slots, though USF is over due to the signing of Josh Heath, the coach's son who can likely walk-on to the team. South Carolina had only one open scholarship this year according to VerbalCommits.com, but shows five current verbal commitments and South Carolina Coach Frank Martin is still actively pursuing Henry and others. Henry said that Martin told him that he "wants to bring some fresh guys in" which can mean only one thing - Martin intends to cut nearly half of his scholarship players, forcing them to seek shelter elsewhere, which is considered to be unheard of even in today's cutthroat world of college hoops. Some analysts have made the observation that Martin is treating the recruiting process like professional free agency. Henry plans to announce his decision on April 24th.
Demetrius Henry C/O 2013 Northeast High School Team Breakdown (via BreakdownGuy)
Another forward that the Canes are in the running for is Junior Etou, who plays his ball at Bishop O'Connell High School in Arlington, Virginia. A native of the Republic of Congo, Etou is 6'8", 225 pounds, and is said to have narrowed his choices to Miami, Xavier and Washington. It is unclear how hard the Canes are pursuing Etou at this time. When asked where the Canes stood, Etou told SOTU that he's been in contact with Coach Larranaga recently but has not yet decided on where he plans to commit or even where to take his final visits. According to Etou, until getting a recent text from Coach L, the Canes had not reached out to him much while they were on their ACC and NCAA tournament runs, but he still has the Canes high on his list after previously indicating they were his leader. Rumors in recruiting circles indicate that an age/documentation scandal that made national news, as well as concerns about Etou's academics may have caused the Canes to wait on taking a commitment from the forward.
Junior Etou is ranked #9 on SEN'S TOP 10 Players of the DMV for the class of 2013. (via SEnetowrk)
Another prospect that we reported on last month is MiKyle McIntosh, a combo forward who has the Canes on his list of colleges he is closely considering. McIntosh is a 6'6", 230-pound athletic forward listed as a three star prospect who has flourished after a healthy senior year and appearances in recent all-star games. The native of Canada had UCLA high on his list, and had already visited the school twice prior to Ben Howland's firing, leading to McIntosh to tell us that the Bruins are "not as high [on his list] as before." McIntosh has offers from UCLA, UConn, Miami and several mid-major schools, and his late season success has gotten the attention of Florida, Alabama, and other high-major programs coaches as well. McIntosh plans to visit Miami soon, as his high school coach has been in touch with the Canes staff to recently set up a visit. He still plans to make his decision after he takes his visits.
Mikyle McIntosh is an explosive forward - UCLA, Miami & Oregon showing interest - Canada Basketball (via CityLeagueHoopsTV)
Harold Givens is not a household name in recruiting circles but this athletic 6' 7"small forward has come on strong lately. The 3-star premium athlete out of Quality Education prep school in North Carolina had a breakout year, and was invited to several all-star games including the recent ESBC Classic in Washington, DC, where he played against Miami signee Deandre Burnett. When asked which schools are recruiting him the hardest, Givens told SOTU "Auburn , Xavier , Alabama, Seattle , DePaul , Memphis and Virginia...but I love the U!" Givens said that the Canes are on the top of his list currently, and he is currently working on setting up a visit to Coral Gables, looking to make a decision shortly thereafter.
Harold Givens posterize Florida Assault Bigman (via Gymratinsider)
Three other names that the Canes have been pursuing are shooting guard Niem Stevenson, combo forward Cullen Russo and combo guard Daxter Miles. As we reported in December, both Stevenson and Russo have offers from the Canes, but both names haven't gotten much attention in recruiting circles lately. Stevenson is in his home state of Texas taking standardized tests, according to his prep school coach Kenny Gillion, and will not be visiting Miami with teammate Demetrius Henry this weekend. Minnesota native Russo just finished at prep school Southern Tech in Charlotte, North Carolina, and has added interest from hometown team Minnesota. Miles has been mentioned with Miami for over a year, but was not said to have received an offer until after the departure of the similarly skilled Bishop Daniels in December. The Canes were in his top 5 after the offer, but the Baltimore native recently told DMVElite.com that his top two schools right now are Villanova and West Virginia.