With two available scholarships already spoken for after the commitments of consensus Top 100 point guard Chris Lykes (Washington, DC) and highly-touted stretch forward Sam Waardenburg (New Zealand), @CanesHoops Head Coach Jim Larrañaga has the opportunity to be selective with official visitors this fall. Our sources confirm the following visits in the works, with the first two scheduled visitors setting foot on campus this weekend.
Miami welcomes Lance Thomas (Atlanta, GA) and Evan Battey (Villa Park, CA) to campus.
Lance Thomas is a 6’10” power forward with a versatile inside-out game similar to Waardenberg. The consensus 4-star forward is ranked as high as 75 overall (by 247Sports) after bursting onto the scene earlier this year, and will visit USC and Louisville in October after his September visits to Florida and Miami. Thomas has mentioned that USC and Miami have been recruiting him the longest, but prognosticators are generally predicting every school but Miami, and it will be interesting to see if the Hurricanes can make up ground.
Evan Battey is a highly-skilled forward who rates as a four-star composite player, despite his unique body type. Listed in some places at upwards of 290 pounds while standing around 6’7”, Battey will have to work on his conditioning to complement an all-around game that is notable for his shooting and passing. Battey has already visited Colorado and will head to Purdue after stopping in Coral Gables. Battey has 17 offers but seems to be focusing on the three schools he will visit - which coach will convince him that he can use his Swiss Army Knife skill set to greatest effect?
The Canes host two more highly-regarded front court players, Australian center Deng Gak (prepping in Blairstown, NJ) and power forward Aamir Simms (Dyke, VA).
Deng Gak is stands 6’10” and gives new meaning to the term “globetrotter”, coming to the US in recent years after moving to Australia (who he represents internationally) from South Sudan. The athletic center has tremendous potential and has landed in four-star territory, with the Hurricanes competing against blue bloods Duke, Kansas and Indiana, along with Florida, where his older brother plays. Gak is close with Hurricanes guard Dejan Vasiljevic, who has played alongside of him both scholastically and internationally. Vasiljevic is actively recruiting Gak, and will have the first shot at convincing him when he takes his visit to Miami - his last visit in October is scheduled to Kansas, who many favor to land him.
Aamir Simms has perhaps the most rugged frame of any player on this list, giving the 6’8” forward the ability to battle for rebounds and play from the inside-out. Down to Miami, Clemson, VCU, Pitt, Notre Dame and Iowa State, the Hurricanes have been involved with Simms for a long time, but still find themselves making up ground against VCU, Clemson and Pitt.
Rayshaun Hammonds (Atlanta, GA) visits the Canes for FSU weekend (and expect the staff to try to convince other players to join him). This versatile 6’8” combo forward is a consensus four-star player, ranked as highly as 38th by ESPN. A high school teammate of Lance Thomas, he has over 25 offers, and plans to visit Miami, Texas, UConn, Memphis and Alabama officially while adding unofficial visits to in-state schools Georgia, Georgia State and Georgia Tech unofficially. While some view the presence of the local schools on his list as an indication that Hammonds may not leave the state, Miami has as good of a chance at the talented recruit as anyone else if he chooses to leave Georgia.
The Hurricanes are confident that they will get a visit from five-star shooting guard Lonnie Walker (Reading, PA), who has the Hurricanes in his final five along with a veritable murderer’s row of competitors in local favorite and defending national champion Villanova, Kentucky, Syracuse and Arizona. Walker has indicated that his family wants him to move out of state, and despite the boldface names on the list, Miami has every reason to believe that they have a good shot on him if he leaves the state. Beating those schools would be another feather in the cap of Coach L, who has dramatically increased Miami’s recruiting profile alongside its own court performance.
In addition to the known and expected visitors, Miami has reported offers out to local center Victor Uyaelunmo and Orlando guard LJ Figueroa. While it is unknown if either player or additional names will make it to campus, the Hurricanes still have several visits left to use and will likely bank some for transfer candidates or late bloomers in the spring.
As always a big thank you to SOTU’s CanesHoops Consigliere, Josh Frank (aka @joshdacane) for his excellent detective work!