UPDATE - Due to Hurricane Irma, some visit dates were changed or cancelled. See below for the updated info.
Editors Note: A special thanks to SOTU’s College Basketball Consigliere, Josh Frank (aka @JoshDaCane) for helping me compile this list and more importantly, edit the content!
After leading George Mason to its fabled Final Four run, no one in the college basketball world doubted that Jim Larrañaga could coach basketball. There were some who wondered whether he could recruit at the ACC level. Following onto his success winning the ACC in 2013 and taking Miami to the Sweet Sixteen twice, Coach L has taken the Hurricanes to unprecedented success in recruiting as well. Following on the heels of the two best recruiting classes in school history, Miami expects to have as many as four scholarships available with potential early-entry NBA talent now a regular part of the roster. Coach L, assistant head coach Chris Caputo, and assistants Jamal Brunt and Adam Fisher have hit the trail hard to make sure that there is no drop off, and several top 100 prospects are on their way to visit Coral Gables this fall. Here is a rundown of who might be visiting campus and when below:
Immanuel Quickley – Quickley, a consensus five-star player who is arguably the top point guard in the class of 2018, recently cut his list to three. Quickley has had a very busy summer, traveling to Egypt with USA Basketball, and then Italy and Houston as part of the Adidas Nations series. UPDATE: Miami was set to get an official visit on September 9 but due to Irma the visit was cancelled. He visited Kansas at the end of August and is set to visit blueblood Kentucky September 15. Many consider Kentucky the team to beat, with its reputation as a pre-NBA finishing school and Quickley’s relationship with John Calipari, who coached the U19 USA Basketball team, difficult to overcome. However, given Miami’s success in recruiting similar talent to Coral Gables, and the full court press they’ve been putting on Quickley for several years, we wouldn’t count the Hurricanes out just yet. Coach Larranaga’s sales pitch is simple – “We’ll get you to the NBA, too, but you’ll do it as part of a family”, rather than as part of a factory of mercenaries (not something Coach L would ever say, but we went there). If Quickley doesn’t reschedule his visit, that doesn’t bode well for Miami’s chances.
Jalen Carey – We’ve written extensively about Carey before, and Miami made a big impression on the four-star guard (ranked #50 in the 247sports.com composite) and his family recently on his official visit. His father, John, who is a friend of former Miami assistant and current Bowling Green head coach Michael Huger, said that “Overall, the visit was great. The school was great. We got to meet some beautiful and amazing people.” Though Miami is perhaps the longest distance from home of all schools on his list, his Dad says a bigger factor is access to the pro players and being around (NBA) people year-round. “Association brings on simulation,” said John Carey, “If you’re around greatness, it can help you become great!” With Miami potentially having to replace three guards next year, there is an appealing amount of playing time, something that might help sway Carey to the U.
Saddiq Bey – This swingman may still be growing into his body, but he has clearly grown in reputation this spring. Bey is one of Washington, DC’s most sought-after prospects, a two-way wing who hails from the same high school as former Villanova star, Josh Hart. A consensus four-star recruit who hovers around everyone’s top 100, he recently cut his list to a top six of Miami, Northwestern, Pittsburgh, Xavier, Princeton and NC State, with official visits scheduled to the first four. Bey already visited Miami unofficially this spring and has seen NC State, Xavier and Pittsburgh as well. Of those, Miami has perhaps been involved the longest, was scheduled to visit on September 29 but now has moved it up a week to 9/22.
Lugentz Dort – This talented guard hails from Canada but has prepped in Florida, including time at Calusa Prep in Miami. A five-star combo guard, who already packs a rock solid 200-pound frame on his 6’4” body, has Miami in his final six along with Oregon, Indiana, Baylor, Michigan State and Arizona State. Dort visited Coral Gables unofficially in July. “I went to the campus and I really liked it. It’s a really nice city with good weather and good coaches,” Dort told Zagsblog. “And I’ll keep them on my mind.” When cutting his list, he told Rivals’ Corey Evans that he likes Miami’s style of play and can see himself as one of the Hurricanes’ stars. “Bruce Brown is kind of like me and is doing great over there,” he said. “I just feel like I have a chance if I go there.” Dort is returning to Canada to play at Athletes Institute, which has produced notables such as Thon Maker, and plans to sign in November.
Eric Ayala – After toying with reclassifying back to the 2017 class, the talented combo guard Ayala chose to do a prep year and remain in the 2018 class. A rangy combo guard at 6’5”, this top 100 player is transferring to powerhouse IMG Academy in Bradenton. Ayala recently cut his list to nine officially, but scheduled officials to Miami, Maryland, Syracuse, Ohio State and Oregon. The Hurricanes have been involved with Ayala for a while, but many think that Syracuse and Maryland lead for his services after he visited both schools unofficially multiple times. Miami gets his first visit on September 22, and the Hurricanes are hoping that he falls in love and doesn’t take the rest of them.
Jules Bernard – Firmly planted in the top 50, this guard/wing hasn’t escaped the attention of most of the recruiting analysts – but perhaps his interest in the Miami Hurricanes has. Miami was at best mentioned on a long list of schools, but as Bernard cut his list to 10 and later to five, the Hurricanes stayed on as other “more likely” destinations dropped off. Hailing from Los Angeles, Miami is competing for Bernard with three Pac-12 teams (hometown UCLA and USC, and Oregon), and blueblood Kansas. A crafty left handed scorer, Bernard has the length and skill to create matchup nightmares on both ends of the court. Hometown UCLA is considered the team to beat, but Bernard mentioned to Rivals this summer that he views the ACC as the conference with the biggest stage – and he only has one ACC team on his list. UPDATE: He has set three visits: UCLA, Oregon and Miami. The Canes host Jules on 9/29.
Will Richardson – A 6’4” guard whose stock rose dramatically as he converted to point guard earlier this year, Miami only recently entered the mix for the guard who is now ranked in 247, Rivals and ESPN’s top 50. Hailing from Georgia, Richardson is transferring to prestigious Oak Hill Academy, where Miami recently pulled sophomore Rodney Miller. Miami may have a chance to make up ground through Richardson’s connection with former Hurricane Rion Brown, but home state Georgia and Georgia Tech are calling as well, along with schools like Florida, Oregon and Gonzaga. Though Richardson has not cut his list yet as he considers all of his new offers, look for him to make moves and sign with someone this fall.
Nassir Little – Little is, in many ways, the ideal recruit for any program – a high-academic (4.0+ GPA) performer who just happens to be a consensus five-star player. Little, a Jacksonville native who plays high school ball in Orlando, skyrocketed to as high as number five in the Rivals rankings after a fantastic summer. Miami is on his shortlist – but the other schools are powerhouses Duke, North Carolina, and Arizona, alongside a resurgent Georgia Tech. Having visited Miami unofficially in June he was slated to visit officially 9/15. UPDATE: he rescheduled his official to September 29. Little is clearly high on the Hurricanes. He recently told Rivals that, “I feel like I have a great opportunity to play early [at Miami]. I connect really well with Coach [Jim] Larranaga.” Little continued, “I really like the campus. The school is smaller like my school and that would help me focus.” Little stands 6’7” and attacks better than almost any perimeter player in the class, and would fit Miami’s ball screen offense. He has said that he may wait until the spring signing period to decide, but recent interviews have indicated he could shut down his recruitment early as well. Miami couldn’t beat their ACC rivals for this type of recruit just a few years ago. After signing Lonnie Walker this year, can the Hurricanes pull off another upset in the recruiting game with this projected one-and-done prospect?
Jermaine Harris - Once again looking towards the talent-rich DC area, this Hurricanes are firmly involved with this top 100 power forward, originally from Georgia. Miami will get his finally visit on October 20 after Harris visits West Virginia, Rhode Island, Xavier, and Kansas, though three other schools including local Maryland are still technically in the mix. A rapidly developing big who didn’t start playing basketball competitively until high school, Harris has impressed with his athleticism and versatility and may end up being an underrated gem in this class. His high school coach at Rock Creek Christian, Chris Cole, is a fan of Jim Larrañaga, which may help the Hurricanes. “I like Coach Larranaga’s history of developing guys and what I know of his relationships with his players,” Cole told the Washington Post. “It feels like their staff genuinely cares about their guys.”
Emmitt Williams - This Florida native is a favorite of recruiting analysts who love his sparkplug energy, rebounding and shot-blocking acumen. But one doesn’t make five-star status through heart and hustle alone, and Williams pairs his “glue guy” efforts with strong finishing around the rim and an emerging skillset, which is why Miami has made him a top priority alongside other schools in his final seven like Duke, Kansas, Florida and USC. Williams notably kept his recruiting quiet until revealing his final list, and so far, his visits are quiet as well. Though many think that Oregon, Florida and Kansas lead, Williams visited Miami unofficially last fall for the Florida State football game last year. Many expect him to wait and sign in the spring, but Rivals’ lead National Analyst Eric Bossi thinks that it bodes well that he has already been to Miami – he predicted him to the Hurricanes in July.
Dimon Carrigan – This four-star power forward is a raw, athletic shot-blocker, and a late comer to Miami and other high-major schools after a summer where he blocked an outrageous 16 percent of shots attempted while on the court in the Nike EYBL for Team BABC. While the Hurricanes made his final 8 alongside schools like Syracuse, UConn, and Texas, and though Miami was able to snatch Bruce Brown out of the same AAU program in New England, it’s not clear how strongly the Hurricanes are pushing for him at this time. He has not scheduled a visit to Miami.
Nate Laszewski – This potential stretch 4 had a big summer, rising to as high as 51 on ESPN’s rankings but generally residing closer to the bottom of the top 100. Laszewski has several high major offers, and has set visits to Notre Dame, Wake Forest, and North Carolina in September. Miami has been involved for a while, with Laszewski’s Twitter account indicating that he took an unofficial visit last season, but there’s no indication that Miami is a major factor in his recruitment currently. Other schools who have include Vanderbilt, Pittsburgh, and USC.
With Ebuka Izundu and Rodney Miller returning, and four-star freshman Deng Gak having a year in the college weight room, the Hurricanes are not prioritizing the center position this year.
September 22nd and 29th are big recruiting weekends for CanesHoops!