While we know Hurricanes fans are counting down the start of football season, college basketball staffs look at the fall differently - this is "official visit season" for denizens of the hardwood. After securing three early, high-profile commitments in the 2014 class, the Miami Hurricanes staff is focusing on rounding out the class with a mixture of versatile forwards and centers. With six scholarships to fill, we would expect the Canes to take two more players and perhaps save a scholarship for a graduate transfer to help balance out the classes. SOTU has been able to confirm the following list of players expected to visit over the coming weeks ahead of the fall early signing period, which begins November 13. Once again, a special thanks to SOTU's hoops "Consigliere" Josh Frank (@JoshDaCane) for helping us with his extensive background research on each recruit. Bring him your finest meats and cheeses! (Or at least follow him on Twitter.)
Confirmed for first weekend (September 5-8, Florida game):
Stephen Hurt (C) - Hurt is a junior college player who transferred to NW Florida State this summer after spending his freshman year at Lipscomb University in Tennessee, where he was the Atlantic Sun Freshman of the Year. Hurt, a 6'10", 285-pound center in the Reggie Johnson/Dexter Pittman mold, averaged 11.5 points and 7.8 rebounds in just over 24 minutes of action last year, limited somewhat by both foul trouble and conditioning concerns. The big man didn't just feast on minnows, posting double-doubles against Kentucky, Memphis and Florida Gulf Coast (twice) during his freshman year. Hurt has numerous offers, including powerhouses such as Indiana and Arizona, as well as home state Tennessee. His three planned visits are to Kansas State, Wichita State and Miami, with some tipping Wichita State as his leader after adding former Tennessee assistant and NW Florida State head coach Steve Forbes to their staff. Hurt would have two years of eligibility left once he signs.
Terry Larrier (SF) - Larrier is the highest ranked recruit left on the board for the Canes, rated as high as 21st in the nation by 247Sports, with a composite ranking of 42nd set to rise when other sites update rankings post-July. Having measured at only 6'7" and 172 pounds at the LeBron James Skills Academy this summer, Larrier is actually smaller than Canes commit Adonys Henriquez, but makes up for it with tremendous athleticism and a high motor. He can play some inside as well as outside and excels infloor. Miami has been on his list for months, and the Hurricanes will get a visit for the Florida game. One week later, he visits VCU, thought to be his leader after Shaka Smart stalked him all summer. He has other visits on tap to Florida, Florida State, and UConn, and Seton Hall remains on his list as well. One thing to watch for is Larrier's relationship with Canes commit Ja'Quan Newton, who Larrier has become close with through various camps and all-star games.
Ivan Cruz Uceda (PF) - A new name to the Canes recruiting ledger, Uceda is a junior college forward out of Spain by way of Harcum College in Pennsylvania. At 6'10", 230, Uceda is a European-style stretch 4 with rebounding prowess, averaging 16 points and 10.7 rebounds per game (a school record for rebounding average in a season). As a foreign prospect, Uceda is somewhat under the radar as compared to prospects who have played in front of American college coaches for years, but many top programs have taken note of his talents in the past year. In addition to Miami, Uceda lists offers from Marquette, Cincinnati, Iowa State, Ohio State, Penn State, and others. He confirmed to us at SOTU that he has is visiting UM September 7. Uceda would have two years of eligibility remaining at the Division I level. Look for our interview with Uceda later this month.
James Palmer (SG) - We've already written extensively about Palmer, who committed to the Hurricanes in early August. Palmer was extremely comfortable with the staff, but had not visited campus yet. He'll be on campus the weekend of September 7 along with Larrier, Hurt and Uceda and we're sure he'll have a great time. Welcome to the U, James!
Confirmed for second weekend (September 12-15, no game):
Ben Bentil (PF) - Bentil is a power forward from Ghana, via Delaware, who has been a consensus fixture in the top 100 of this class. At 6'8", 230 pounds, the powerful and athletic forward is known for a high-motor and a rapidly developing skill set that has taken him from a pure post player to a potential combo forward on the next level. Bentil has not publicly cut his list, but has continually mentioned Miami, Georgetown, and Providence as schools he plans to visit this summer, having already unofficially visited Temple, St. Joseph's, Boston College and Villanova. Some believe that Georgetown leads for his services, but he insists he is wide open. According to Adam Zagoria, Bentil will be visiting Miami starting on September 12.
Ben Lammers (C) - Lammers is a relatively new name to the Hurricanes recruiting board, but don't let that fool you. There is serious mutual interest between both parties. Lammers is a 6'10", 220-pound center out of San Antonio, and his recruitment has blown up this summer after flying under the radar. Lammers is athletic and a defensive force, according to his high school coach, who compares him to former Kansas center and NBA first round pick Jeff Withey. His coach told SOTU that Lammers is capable of blocking 5-6 shots per contest if he played a full game. Lammers has offers from schools Texas A&M, Baylor, Kansas State and Oklahoma State, but has so far only planned visits to Marquette and Miami. One name to keep an eye on is Stanford, whose academic reputation may be the big draw if the Cardinal offers, as his coach indicated academics is the number one priority in picking a school.
Confirmed for fourth weekend (September 26-29, away at South Florida):
Mike Gilmore (PF) - The nephew of Basketball Hall of Famer Artis Gilmore, Mike Gilmore is an athletic stretch 4 out of Jacksonville, and a mainstay on the Each 1 Teach 1 AAU program that won the Nike Peach Jam. As an unselfish fourth or fifth option behind top 50 recruits such as Joel Berry and Grayson Allen, many high-major coaches overlooked the three-star rated Gilmore's complete offensive game, including range out to the three-point line. This changed drastically after a July event where he carried a very shorthanded team, and offers began to flow in. The Hurricanes have been there since the beginning, having offered him late last year, and Gilmore has Miami on his short list. He will visit Miami after visits to Kansas State and VCU and is expected to decide this fall. See our recent interview for more info.
Confirmed for fifth weekend (October 4-6, home vs, Georgia Tech)
Bonzie Colson (CF) - Colson is a productive, undersized combo forward out of Massachusetts whose unique game calls for him to look hard to find the right program and coaching staff to utilize him correctly. Measuring in earlier this summer at just 6'4.5", but with an obscene wingspan of 6'11.5", the crafty Colson lead the entire Nike EYBL circuit in player efficiency rating. As he works to expand his game, he plans to take a visit to the Canes this fall, and is also seriously looking at Notre Dame, Pittsburgh, Florida State, and a host of other high majors who think they can use Colson as an asset. Bonzie told SOTU last night he is scheduled to visit the weekend of October 4th.
Other visits in September or October (dates not yet confirmed)
Ja'Quan Newton (PG) - Newton, the Philadelphia point guard, has been covered extensively as the likely crown jewel of Jim Larrañaga's recruiting class. Coming off of a hot summer, Newton is expected to be a consensus top 50 player, with 247Sports rating him as high as 26th in the country. Like Palmer, Newton committed to Miami without visiting, and he will take an official visit in September. Look for him to be in the ear of several top prospects moving forward as the Pied Piper of this class.
Omar Sherman (PF) - Sherman, also from Texas, is a true power forward at 6'8", 230. The rapidly improving forward was the talk of a Texas AAU event in July, showing a refined inside-out game and rebounding prowess, and earning a Miami offer on the spot. Despite having four-star status from both Scout and ESPN, Sherman lists currently lists only three offers, with the others being Wichita State and Weber State. He plans to visit all three schools and may consider other visits if interested schools like UCLA, Georgia Tech, and Marquette pull the trigger on their offers.
Chianu Onuaku (C) - Onuaku is one of the fastest rising centers in the class, with many expecting him to be a consensus top 75 player when rankings are finalized. At 6'10" and maybe 250 pounds, Onuaku is a defensive presence and strong rebounder whose offensive game is coming along steadily. Like commit James Palmer, he is young for a senior (still 16) and his potential is off the charts. Onuaku is thought to be a strong Maryland lean, but the Terps almost took a commitment from fellow center Trayvon Reed, who is visiting this week and may beat Onuaku to the punch. Onuaku told Scout.com that he has visits set up to Louisville, Cincinnati and Miami in the next month, and other schools may try to get involved if the Maryland option dries up.
Dante Buford (CF) - Buford is a freakishly athletic combo forward out of Jacksonville's Arlington Country Day, the same school that 2017 commit DJ Russell attends. At 6'7", 209 pounds, Buford can jump out of the gym and is one of the best finishers in the class, but has begun to show a complete face up game as well. Rated as high as 56th in the class by ESPN, Buford has cut his list to five, which includes the Canes, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, and both USCs, South Carolina and Southern California. He is expected to visit the Canes this fall.
The Hurricanes get 12 official visits, and based on public reports and our sources, these are the 12 that are planned. Recruiting is fluid as players cut their lists and verbally commit in the upcoming weeks, and this list might change somewhat, as visits become unofficial, are postponed, or are canceled all together, but we believe it to be accurate as of now. Some other possibilities include Maryland PF Obi Enechionyia (AAU teammate of commit James Palmer) who told SOTU he is trying to set up a date in September to visit.
Other notables: New Jersey C center Quadri Moore and Tennessee PF Makinde London. Moore cut his list to five teams: Miami, Temple, Wake Forest, Cincinnati and Seton Hall (which just landed big man Delgado). London just cut his list to four teams: Miami, Xavier, VCU and Mississippi State. We believe VCU is the team to beat here as the Rams are making a full court press for him and Terry Larrier. Canes also offered Atlanta F Isaiah Wilkins yesterday, his game got noticed this summer when he blew up in various all-star games.
Other hoops news, Belgian PG and lightning in a bottle, Manu Lecomte has arrived on campus; The Canes non-conference schedule is now complete and the full schedule is likely to be released in a few weeks. SOTU will have a breakdown of the schedule once it's out.