2018 was a tough year for Canes Hoops. After a first-round exit in the NCAA Tournament to cinderella program Loyola-Chicago, Miami lost its 2 best players, Bruce Brown and Lonnie Walker, to the NBA Draft. Coach Larranaga and the coaching staff struck out on the recruiting trail due to the FBI Investigation that loomed over the program, despite Miami eventually being cleared of wrongdoing. The next season began with star big man Dewan Hernandez being caught up in the same investigation and later ruled ineligible. Cap that off with fellow frontcourt player Deng Gak going down for the season with a knee injury, and the 2018-19 season was over before it started.
Luckily, Miami has made efforts to buck the current trend, starting with their 2019 recruiting class. Even though the Canes took another L after failing to secure the commitment of #1 recruit and Miami-legacy Vernon Carey Jr, they made sure they didn’t repeat the mistakes of the year prior and locked down the signatures of 4-star combo guard Isaiah Wong and 3-star power forward Anthony Walker. In the months since, both recruits have finished out their prep careers with quality performances on the court, so let’s check back in with the talented newcomers headed to Coral Gables this year:
The Trenton, NJ native played his high school basketball for Monsignor Bonner Catholic High School in Drexel Hill, PA. The 6’2” guard led his squad to a solid 22-6 record, including a postseason run to the PIAA 4A Championship game. Although his team would fall in the final to Imhotep Charter, Wong still led all scorers with 29 points while pulling down 7 rebounds. He finished with season averages of 22 points, 7.4 rebounds, 2.6 assists and 1.6 steals, but his best game of the season came in a January matchup with Philadelphia powerhouse Neuman Goretti, during which Wong dropped 44 points:
The Nottingham, MD native spent his final season at prep dynasty Brewster Academy. The Wolfeboro, NH school has produced high-level talent such as the Utah Jazz’s Donovan Mitchell, and this season included NC State commit Jalen Lecque, Ohio St commit Alonzo Gaffney, and Texas commit Kai Jones. This stacked squad captured the school’s 6th National Prep Championship in 10 years, and while Lecque was the tournament’s MVP, Walker provided plenty of offense and rebounding close to the basket. Walker’s best performances of the season came on 1/25 against Ontario’s GTA Prep, during which he scored 29 points to go with 8 rebounds, and 1/13 against fellow storied program The Westtown School, during which he posted a double-double of 22 points and 10 rebounds. The 6’9” athletic 4 will be a welcome addition for the Canes frontcourt, which suffered from a lack of depth in 2018-19. You can check out his junior year highlights below: