Former Canes Hoops Stars Look to Take Big Next Step - NBA Draft Preview Miami Hurricane Style

USA TODAY Sports

Want to know about the pro prospects of former Miami Hurricanes basketball players, Shane Larkin, Kenny Kadji, Durand Scott, Reggie Johnson, Julian Gamble and Trey McKinney Jones? Read on and we'll hopefully make you a bit wiser!

With the NBA draft just over 24 hours away we thought we'd give SOTU readers a preview of the Canes hoopsters pro prospects. Coach Larrañaga led a team with Shane Larkin and 5 seniors this past year to the Sweet 16 and all of them showed they have the ability to play pro ball at some level as they take the next steps in their careers.

Shane Larkin (click for SB Nations scouting report on Shane)

Shane has widely been considered a first round prospect since he declared his intentions to leave the Canes early to enter the NBA draft. He was initially thought of as a late first rounder but after nuking the draft combine with a mind blowing 44" vertical and exhibiting that incredible quickness in several categories his stock rose quickly. He is now considered a late lottery pick by many publications and could creep higher on draft day. The tremendous need in the NBA for a quality point guard who can run the pick and roll, shoot the ball and has incredible speed and Shane fits that bill despite his smaller size. One coach who knows a thing or two about basketball, Duke's Coach "K" said that Shane is "magical" and we would agree.

Kenny Kadji (click for SB Nations scouting report on Kenny)
Kenny is another player who's draft stock improved greatly this year as he showed he can not only score in the low post but is deadly facing the hoop as well. A true "stretch 4" Kadji brings many facets to the table that teams should like. We had a chance to talk with Kenny and asked him which team(s) had the most interest, he said he had worked out for 13 teams including the Lakers, Knicks Jazz, Celtics, Pacers and Clippers but Kenny told SOTU "The pistons seem the most interested. I met with Joe Dumars and they love me." Most draft experts peg Kenny as a mid second round pick but ESPN analyst Chad Ford says his age could cause him to even go undrafted. I disagree, at least half dozen teams can use a stretch 4 with Kenny's athleticism and in my opinion one of them will take a chance in the second round rather than risk losing him to another team.

His agent David Bauman told the Miami Herald "The flip side of being older is Kenny won't make the mistakes 19-year-olds sometimes make, on the road with money, clubbing, women, drinking. He's not going to do that. He's a man. His maturity showed in all his interviews."

Durand Scott

Durand leaves Miami as ACC defensive player of the year and brings his incredible work ethic and drive to win to the table to match his 6' 5" size. Durand by most predictors is either going to get a shot at the league via a late second round pick or as an undrafted free agent. Zach Braziller of the New York Post wrote a terrific article on Durand's rise from Rice High School in New York City to potential NBA player. Braziller wrote:

"It would mean a lot to me [to get drafted], to my family, everybody's who's been supporting me," Scott said. "If it doesn't happen, I'm still a positive person. That obstacle will not stop me from accomplishing my dreams."

He has worked out for a handful of teams - such as the Nets, Mavericks, Lakers, Spurs and Suns. He attended the Portsmouth Invitational, where he was an all-tournament selection.

"He reminds of a Jimmy Butler, Wes Matthews-type, a versatile guy who does a lot of things," NBA director of scouting Ryan Blake said. "If he doesn't get drafted, his agent's going to be picking up the phone right after the 60th pick, [listening to] teams wanting him to come [play] for their summer league team."

"He's an NBA player - no question in my mind," Miami coach Jim Larranaga said.

Julian Gamble
Julian has been on the UM campus for the majority of a decade and has seen more than his share of ups and downs. Left for dead by the previous coaching staff, Coach L quickly realized that Julian had a high work ethic, was a weight room fanatic and gave everything he had on the practice floor. The staff took a "gamble" (sorry couldn't resist) on Jules and gave him a shot to be a meaningful contributor. Coming off a major knee rehab Julian played inconsistently in reserve of Reggie Johnson and Kenny Kadji but was thrust into the starting role when big Reg went down with a broken finger in December. Instead of struggling without their imposing big man the Canes went on a 9-0 run with Julian in the mix and the big man's game blossomed. Now he is not considered by most pundits to be an NBA draft prospect but he has worked out with several NBA teams including Orlando, Boston, New York and Indiana and will most certainly get a summer camp invite. Many counted Julian out pre-season and he proved them all wrong, don't count him out again as he works to impress pro teams. Steve McCaskill of Relativity Sports, the agency that represents both Julian and Shane Larkin said teams are likely to recognize just "how well conditioned Julian is coming out of IMG Academy" in the off-season and are bound to like how "hard he works."

Reggie Johnson
Reggie prior to the start of the Canes magical season Reggie was widely believed to be on a track toward the NBA, however a finger injury and a late season knee injury hobbled Johnson and likely hurt his chances of making the league right away. A strong showing overseas may help the big fella find a spot down the road back in the states with an NBA team.

Trey McKinney Jones
Trey was the team's "swiss army knife" this year, someone who could do many things when asked. He could run the point, rebound, shoot from short and long range and play aggressive defense. Some, including his step-dad Ed Schmitt, think Trey "is likely will have to take a more circuitous route get a slot in the NBA" and likened him to a player like Danny Green who's "success certainly can't hurt Trey, who was asked to do similar things at Miami."

In any event we expect all six to get invites to NBA summer camps and from there its up to them. We wish them all the very best wishes as they embark on the next chapter of their lives and thank them for helping the Canes reach new heights this past year. This fan will be for one will be forever grateful for the incredible memories.

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