Every yearbook has superlatives to showcase abilities, ranging from categories of best dressed to most likely to succeed. So let’s view this Hurricanes roster from the offensive end of the court and rattle off superlatives for this loaded roster that shouldn’t have any problems scoring the basketball this season as they feature a diverse group of offensive talent.
Purest Jumper: Lonnie Walker
The freshman phenom features multiple facets to his game, but his stroke from the perimeter is almost textbook. Walker’s not afraid to create his own space to launch his pure jumper, which will play a vital role in his success in the ACC. Expect him launch many three’s this season and expect him to be quite efficient as well hovering around 40%.
Best Dimer: Bruce Brown
Arguably, Brown could be the superlative winner for almost every category as he’s THAT talented on the offensive end, but as he showed last season, he’s the most capable passer on the roster. Brown can shine in the pick-and-roll as a facilitator, but also displays good court vision in strong skip passes to the perimeter to set up his shooters. Ja’Quan Newton will argue for this superlative, but Brown’s lower turnover rate locks up this award.
Trick-Shot Expert: Ja’Quan Newton
Speaking of Newton, have you ever watched in awe of how he scores in the paint? Best believe he learned a thing or two on how to score above bigger defenders on the playgrounds in Philadelphia. Newton surges into the paint and welcomes contact for acrobatic finishes around the rim with great body control to leave the defense questioning how he made the shot. The x-factor in his bag of tricks is his soft floater that has been effective his whole college career.
Unlimited Range: Dejan Vasiljevic
The sophomore Aussie feels comfortable launching from anywhere on the court. Trust me, all Canes fans have seen it. As his three pointer falls, his range continues to grow as somewhat of an irrational confidence. Vasiljevic is a great catch-and-shooter, but also sinks the trey after good pump fakes and side steps, no matter how deep. He’s the type of shooter that makes you scream “NO!” when he shoots from the end of the logo, but also in awe when it hits nothing but net.
Best Post Moves: Dewan Huell
If you look at Miami’s team last year, a true post scorer didn’t emerge on the court. This can be problematic at times, but Huell has all the talent and potential to become a dominant post threat. By far the most offensively gifted big man on the team, Huell will look to take a step forward this year and use those post moves from Miami Norland in the ACC. He’s already a good roll man for Newton and Brown to pass to, but now look for him to catch the ball in the post and hit the defense with a spin move into his fade-away jumper.
Tighest Handle: Chris Lykes
At 5’7”, Lykes has to create extra separation in order to get up his shot, and his ball handling abilities enable him to do just so. He uses his deadly crossover to break his defender down to get into the paint or to create just enough space to step back for a jumper. Lykes’ speed and lack of size help his handle as defenders have a hard time reaching so low for the ball. In the high ball screen offense, teams will surely try to double the small guard in hopes of a turnover, but his ball handling can aid him.
Best Finisher: Bruce Brown
Brown loves attacking the paint and finishing with contact. He’s a walking and-one highlight reel and crashes the glass for put-backs that get the fans out of their seats. Brown attacks the hoop from both sides of the basket and finishes at ease with both hands, using his hang time to take the contact and still finish the bucket. The size of defenders rarely seems to bother Brown when he gets into the paint, often leading to points for Miami.
Best Dunker: Lonnie Walker
Bruce Brown has shown his thunderous dunks at the collegiate level, but I think Lonnie Walker will give him a run for his money for best dunker on the team. Walker has great rise and isn’t afraid to show a little flair in the open court. As long as Walker gains back all of his bounce from the preseason knee injury, I think we can expect to see lobs thrown his way with the bench going crazy after the result.
Most Improved: Dewan Huell
Every offseason report has been positive on Huell’s development and he’s the key to interior scoring for this Hurricanes team. Expect him to flourish as the lead guy in the paint now, and it won’t hurt that defenses will be fully concerned with the talented guards of Miami that may lead to extra help-side defense leaving Huell open.
Most Likely to Score 30: Bruce Brown
Brown has already achieved this in his collegiate career, on a very high stage vs North Carolina, so of course he’s the favorite to do it again this year. Brown should have multiple 20 point games as he’s the most talented and consistent scorer for the Canes, but can he top his career high of 30? This will be his last year in Coral Gables and he’s only improved from last year, so he should flirt with 30 point performances from time to time.