EDITORS NOTE: As always a special kudos to SOTU hoops consigliere Josh Frank (@JoshDaCane) for his tireless efforts in helping with this piece.
With just under two months until early signing period, the Miami Hurricanes Men's Basketball coaching staff is set to see its first official visitors - the New Orleans-based "dynamic duo" of point guard DeJon "Deeky" Jarreau and forward Brison Gresham, who are both high school and AAU teammates. The pair, whose birthdays are one day apart, have said all along that they intend to play together at the next level - and that has borne out, cutting their school lists simultaneously and scheduling all of their visits to their final schools together.
Cleavon "Coach Clea" Williams, the pair's AAU coach with Elfrid Payton Elite, says that the players truly complement each other. "Because they have played together the last 3 years, they basically know where each other is going to be [on the court]", Williams tells us. "For example, when Deeky is driving to the goal and Brison comes [into the lane], then Deeky is going to automatically know to throw it to the rim because Brison loves alley-oop dunks."
Gresham describes the pair as having an intricate knowledge of each other's game. "I always know where to be at off the screen and roll" he says. "It's like he always makes the perfect pass and makes me look good. He knows what I'm going to do and I know what he's going to do all the time."
Gresham, who received notice for his athleticism and length during the summer recruiting period, isn't all highlight dunks. "I'm a back to the basket-type of guy but I really like to play defense, that's my bread and butter", he says. But even though defense and athleticism will always get him minutes, he isn't satisfied. "I really need to work on stepping out and work on my shots", he tells us.
Jarreau, who stands at 6'5", embodies the versatility that Coach L likes out of his guards. "I'm like a scoring point guard but I can pass first [too]. I can see the floor because I can see over most point guards", says Jarreau. "I can shoot but it's not automatic [yet]. I can play defense. I can dish it and run the team." Asked about Miami's pick and roll-based offense, Jarreau tells us that it's his "favorite part of being a point guard."
Both players want to contribute to the team early, and know that their defense and versatility is a key to that playing time. Jarreau is also looking for the opportunity to grow under a coach who can mentor him. "[I'm looking] to have a chance to get on the court but I don't necessarily have to start but have a chance to learn while I'm there and have them allow me to make some mistakes and bounce back and have a good game."
Off the court, the two are nearly inseparable as well, a main reason why they want to play together in college and describe themselves as similarly fun-loving and laid-back. "He's like my brother off the court", Gresham says. "When people see me without him everyone is like, ‘Where's Deeky' and when they see him without me they say, ‘Where's Brison at?'"
Both are looking for similar things from their visit to Miami. "I'm looking to see how the environment is and the atmosphere", Gresham says. "I've never been to Miami." Jarreau adds that he wants to see "how the facilities look, the classrooms and stuff like that, and to meet the team."
The players are already very familiar with Coach L, who recently met with them in New Orleans. Both have taken note of the genuineness that has already endeared him to so many in Coral Gables. "Coach L is a really great guy," Gresham says. "Every time we're on the phone together, he never talks about basketball. He's always asking about personal things like how's my family doing, and that's what I really like about him." Jarreau says that Larrañaga "is very honest" and that he's "always talking about my future and my future on the team and I like that."
Jarreau, who says he plans to major in sports management, told us that the most important factor is his decision will be "the relationship with the coaches, how will they communicate with me." Gresham is even bigger on communication - he tells us that he is looking towards majoring in psychology and wants to be a marriage counselor!
Coach Clea told us that both players have Miami high on their list, and Gresham and Jarreau have said that Miami is in their top three. With official visits planned to USC, Oklahoma, and UMass, as well as unofficials to in-state schools LSU and Tulane, the duo will be busy sorting out all of their options - but the Hurricane staff hopes that the departure of four seniors and the immediate needs at both the point guard and forward positions, along with the benefits of playing in the ACC for a recent national Coach of the Year will sway the duo. Both players plan to decide this fall and sign in November, and Miami fans should hope that are wearing the orange and green next season. Check out these highlight videos and you'll know why:
Meet Deeky and Brison