There's never been a better time to be a fan of the University of Miami Men's Basketball Program.
Sure, the football team might be reeling. All we can hope as 'Canes fans on that front is a home run coaching hire half as good as what UM accomplished in the hiring of Coach Jim Larranaga.
But this article isn't about the gridiron.
It's about the hardwood.
Right now the 'Canes stand 2-0, and look like contenders.
I got hell a few weeks back for picking Miami to finish second in the ACC Regular season. I am beginning to think I picked them one slot too low.
NC State, Duke (albeit against Kentucky), and Virginia all have early season losses. Syracuse struggled last night with St Bonaventure.
The Hurricanes on the other hand rolled over a very good Louisiana squad (should be a Tourney team) Monday Night, minus suspended PF Kamari Murphy and despite getting next to nothing from C Tonye Jekiri, who was plagued with foul trouble.
Do I like how UM stacks up against the rest of the conference, and the country?
You bet I do.
Sheldon McClellan and perennially underrated G/F Davon Reed give Miami two of the best wings you'll find anywhere in College Hoops. They are something akin to what Virginia had last season in Malcolm Brogdon & Justin Anderson.
Most pundits know about McClellan but a lot of people don't yet know how good Davon Reed is.
They are going to find out.
Add to the mix freshman SG/SF/PF Anthony "Amp" Lawrence Jr who looks way ahead of schedule in his first season in Coral Gables, slashing PG Ja'Quan Newton and his improving jumper, sharpshooting slimmed down stretch 4 Ivan Cruz Uceda, and proven commodities like Angel Rodriguez and Jekiri, and you have quite the supporting cast.
The return of Murphy (he is set to come back after game 3 Vs Mississippi State tomorrow) will only bolster the defense, depth, and size of this very talented squad.
This is skilled, tough, and experienced team, featuring 4 seniors, 2 juniors, and 2 very good sophomores among its' regular rotation.
So is this a team that can contend for a Final 4?
I won't go so far as saying that. The NCAA Tournament is fickle and unpredictable.
But even in a stacked Atlantic Coast Conference, they are equipped to contend and earn a high seed.
Flat out, this is the best team the program has had since the 2012-13 ACC Regular Season and Tournament Champs, sparked by Shane Larkin, Kenny Kadji, Julian Gamble, and Durand Scott among others.
But unlike that team, this one is no longer built for just a one year run then relegated to rebuilding the roster.
That's because even with their senior leadership, they will still likely have back juniors Reed and Murphy next season, to go with younger developing stars like Newton, James Palmer, and athletic big Ebuka Izundu (6'9 with a 7'2 wingspan).
And as of this afternoon (what a magical day it's been) they now have a top 10 recruiting class for 2016.
Earlier in the day, top 30 players G Bruce Brown from Vermont, and local superstar F/C Dewan Huell committed and signed with the 'Canes.
Welcome to the U, Dewan Huell! 5-star PF picks UM
Coach Larrañaga lands the biggest recruit for Canes Hoops in more than a decade as Miami Norland 5-star PF Dewan Huell commits to Miami!
Make no mistake about it, this was the single greatest day in Miami Basketball history in terms of recruiting.
Today's prep stars join 4 star C Rodney Miller, who previously signed with the 'Canes in the early signing period.
And Larranaga and staff might not be done yet. They still have two schollies left.
As good as this year's team looks, imagine a front court next season with Miller, Huell, Murphy, and Lawrence pounding the glass, while Newton, Brown, Palmer, and Reed form a very tough back court.
Yes, these are glorious days Miami Hurricanes Hoops fans.
The kind we have rarely ever (never) seen.
It's time to get our butts to the Bank United Center and support this team and this program.
Things have never been better for UM Basketball and perhaps never scarier for the rest of the ACC, and maybe the rest of the country.