With the season officially tipping off on November 11th, here is an update heading into tonight’s 7pm exhibition game vs. Barry University at the newly named Watsco Center (formerly know as the BankUnited Center or BUC).
Prior to today’s exhibition, the Canes took part in what become part of college basketball pre-season regiment, a “secret” scrimmage vs. UCF. This is where teams get together to play each other in private, without publicity. NCAA rules allow teams to hold secret scrimmages against others schools, so long as they don't promote the game or allow the media or outsiders to watch. Coaches are however allowed to mention them after the fact.
We had a chance to speak to CanesHoops assistant coach, Adam Fisher, for his takeaways on how the team is doing. While there has been plenty of discussion on rookies Bruce Brown, Dejan Vasiljevic and Miami Norland HS product, Dewan Huell, we also asked him to give us an update on some of the less known players on the team, Ebuka Izundu and Rodney Miller.
SOTU: Coach, please give us a sense of where are we at this point.
We've got some great leaders, everyone did an incredible job getting themselves ready, all the training we did in the weight room, the work guys did on their own this year was great and that's going to start to show. This is a team that really prides itself on doing the required and the unrequired. Everyone is held accountable, the older guys getting on the younger guys telling them what it takes to be a Miami Hurricane basketball player and play in the ACC. Kamari (Murphy), Davon (Reed) and Ja’Quan (Newton) have been there to lead us.
SOTU: Beyond the leaders on the team, how are Rodney Miller and Ebuka Izundu progressing?
Ebuka (Izundu), he’s been great, progressing, we're excited to see him (play), he's added weight and strength. He knows after battling Tonye everyday, how strong he needs to be so he really put a big emphasis on the weight room and you really have to give (S&C coach) Steve Felde credit for getting the whole team strong. Ebuka's going to be an inside guy, we want him to rebound and defend, we want him to be in Tonye's (former) role though we'd like him to score a little more and we’re working on that with him, he's got a great left handed jump hook.
Rodney (Miller) has been great, he's a big body who's played at the highest level in high school at Oak Hill and he comes here and all he wants to do is get better which is what is really great about him. Everyday he'll ask someone "hey am I doing this correctly?" We just want him to get better and he's been great in practice, battling the other bigs. He's just gotta keep doing more in the weight room, keep making progress.
SOTU: Given the new personnel, are we implementing different offenses/defenses? How are we looking stylistically vs. past teams?
I think it will be very similar to what you’ve seen in the past. On defense, man-to-man is our go to but we may mix in some other things. Coach L has been doing this a long time and he sticks to his core. The way we recruit is that we try to find guys that fit his system but he’s the best at making changes and adapting to what the team needs. I think you're going to see some more athletes this year. I think you’re going to see a difference (in the frontcourt) with a guy like Dewan Huell who has the best "quick twitch" I’ve ever seen, the way he can jump twice to get a rebound. Overall I think you’re going to see a very similar style of play (on offense) where hopefully we'll get a lot of quick layups out of transition, some wide open threes. We’ll be back with more insights on as we get closer to the season opener.
As always a special thanks to our CanesHoops “Consigliere” Josh Frank aka @JoshDaCane for his help with this report.