With Miami losing three (possibly four) of its five starters this off-season, things are going to look at lot different for the ‘Canes in 2022-2023. Kam McGusty, Charlie Moore and Sam Waardenburg each played their final game as members of Miami in the Elite Eight loss to Kansas. Behind them, Jordan Miller is the only returning starter that we know for sure, as he mentioned he was returning in a Tweet. Star guard Isaiah Wong could possibly return, but he’s shown that he’s capable of playing pro ball and found himself on numerous viral videos. I wouldn’t expect him back. If you’re counting along, that’s four out of the five starters for Miami gone. Somebody needs to fill those shoes.
With McGusty, Moore, Waardenburg and Wong leaving behind an inexperienced squad, Coach Jim Larrañaga seems to be planning to address that issue with the transfer portal, something that has been pivotal in Miami’s game for the last few seasons.
The Transfer Portal
It’s no secret that a large portion of Miami’s production in the last few years has come from the transfer portal. While some transfers have failed, most acquisitions have been successful. In fact, three of the five starters on Miami’s Elite Eight squad were brought in from the portal. McGusty, Moore, and Miller all transferred their way into Miami. Now, Coach L is trying to bring in more proven talent.
Coach L and Miami have made contact with two of the most prominent transfers in the portal, reaching out to former Kansas State guard Nijel Pack and former Arkansas State forward Norchad Omier. According to an article by Jeff Borzello of ESPN, Pack is ranked as the No. 1 transfer available at this point in time. He also ranks Omier as available transfer No. 4. These two would make Miami an elite team, one that has the possibility to return to the promised land of the NCAA Tournament
Nijel Pack, Guard
Nijel Pack is an elite scoring guard that averaged 17.4 points per game as a member of K-State. Pack, an All-Big 12 selection, finished the season as one of the most efficient players in the nation, shooting 45.5% from the field, 43.6% from behind the arc and 84.5% from the stripe. He is seen as one of the best scorers and shooters in the nation. His 17.4 points were third in the Big 12 conference and his 3.3 3PM per game was No. 15 in the country. Pack is an incredible shooter that excels in spot-up situations, though he is capable of creating his own shot. With the absence of McGusty, shot creating is surely something that Miami will miss going forward. Pack can fill that void, and even possibly take it to the next level.
Pack visited Miami on April 9, though he has taken multiple visits elsewhere and plans to take more around the country. In terms of eligibility, Pack has three years remaining.
⚜️ Available Transfer ⚜️— Transfer Tapes (@TransferTapes) April 1, 2022
**3 Years of Eligibility Remaining**
17 PPG | 4 RPG | 2 APG | 46 FG% | 44 3P%
86th % in Overall Defense per Synergy@NijelPack24 #transferportal #KansasState pic.twitter.com/sFEY0FXslV
Norchad Omier, Forward
Norchad Omier is a dominant 6’7 forward out of Arkansas State University. The elite wing swept the Sun Belt conference awards, as he was named as the ‘21-’22 Sun Belt Player of the Year and Defensive Player of the Year. Last season, he averaged 17.9 points, 12.2 rebounds, 1.9 blocks and 1.6 steals per game on an efficient 63.2% from the field. Omier would be a game changer for Miami, bringing a rebounding and defensive skillset that hasn’t been seen in a while. Omier’s 12.2 rebounds were the fourth most in the country. For reference, the Canes haven’t had a player average at least 7 rebounds since Ebuka Izundu in 2018-2019. While his inability to shoot the three-ball could make things difficult for Miami’s scheme, you can’t deny a player of his talent.
Omier visited Miami on April 8, and his visit probably overlapped with Pack’s. Similarly to Pack, Omier also has three years of eligibility remaining and will be visiting other schools before he makes a final decision.
⚜️ Available Transfer ⚜️— Transfer Tapes (@TransferTapes) March 31, 2022
**3 Years of Eligibility Remaining**
18 PPG | 12 RPG | 2 BPG | 63 FG% | 73 FT%@NorchadO #transferportal #ArkansasState pic.twitter.com/bZr77FTsym
Pack, Omier and Miller Makes Canes Contenders
Adding Pack and Omier to Miller gives the ‘Canes a very formidable Big 3. Acquiring two players that average 17 points per game is something very rare, so if Miami pulls it off, expect the transfer squad to light it up. Miller showed plenty of flashes all last season and in an expanded role, he will have the chance to shine as well. The 6’7 duo of Miller and Omier will make it difficult for any opposing team to score the basketball. Pack’s shooting ability will force every team to respect the three-ball.
As mentioned before, the roster for next season is extremely unexperienced. No returning player, besides Miller, played more than 520 minutes and no more than 14 minutes per game. While it remains to be seen how Miami will look in ‘22-’23, adding two elite players in the transfer portal will help silence any of that doubt. Hopefully Coach L and co. can secure the deal.