Hurricanes Hoops late push for a big to supplement their front court with a big time "big" took a major hit yesterday when TaShawn Thomas spurned Miami for Oklahoma.
— Matt Porter (@mattyports) May 19, 2014
Thomas joins Michigan transfer Jon Horford (Florida) & Tennessee State's MJ Rhett (Ole Miss) as the latest big men to flirt with UM and end up making the final decision to go elsewhere.
But this one hurts the most, as Thomas clearly has Miami in his final 2, and was the most polished of the group.
So where do the 'Canes go from here??
In house improvement seems to be the most legit option.
I really wanted Thomas at #TheU. Oh well. That sound you're hearing is TonyeJekiri's car revving up to go to the gym right now
— StateOfTheU.com (@TheStateOfTheU) May 19, 2014
In all likelihood, Coach L and staff will go into the season with just 3 players 6'8 or above: Jekiri, JUCO transfer Ivan Cruz-Uceda, and freshman Omar Sherman.
Last season they got a late boost when Donnavan Kirk announced he was coming back on June 13th.
And Shane Larkin did not arrive on campus until August 2011.
But for argument's sake lets say the roster is now complete.
Can Miami win BIG with so few "Bigs?"
An interesting comparison (if not fair) is last season's National Championship UConn team (Again I am not suggesting Miami is headed to the Final 4).
Led by an extremely talented backcourt featuring Shabazz Napier and Ryan Boatright, the Huskies played a lot of small ball.
Is it out of the realm of possibility that Larranaga can get say 2/3 of the production (30.1ppg and 8.3 apg) that Connecticut got from their backcourt out of former second team Big 12 PG Angel Rodriguez and Deandre Burnett (a guy who went for 30 plus in prep school)?
The Huskies also were led by wing Deandre Daniels and his 13.1 ppg and 6 rpg.
Think Coach L can coax that out of the combination of Sheldon McClellan and Davon Reed?
Niels Giffey, while only 6'7, played a lot of stretch 4. Uceda may be taller, but his game is similar.
And you would be hard pressed to find two players in the country more similar statistically then Jekiri and UConn's 7 footer Amida Brimah. TJ actually bested Brimah in both minutes and rebounds last season.
Miami may actually have an advantage off the bench with options like Manu Lecomte and Jaquan Newton making the reliance on Burnett/Rodriguez less pronounced than what Connecticut placed on their guards.
Once again, I am not saying that Miami is on its way to a National Championship.
But like UConn they do have a very good coach.
And I still feel that they can challenge the upper echelon of the ACC.
Even with out Thomas, or any other additional "BIG."