The Miami Hurricanes kicked off their 2023-24 basketball season with a home win against the NJIT Highlanders, 101-60. Wooga Poplar led the Canes with a career-high 21 points on 5-9 three-point shooting. Norchad Omier had a double-double with 20 points and 10 rebounds on 8-11 shooting. Matthew Cleveland also had a double-double with 16 points and 10 rebounds. Adam Hess led the Highlanders with 14 points.
Jack McClinton was the analyst for this game on ACC Extra. He was wearing a Hawaiian shirt. It was great. As far as his announcing skills, they weren’t bad. Plus, it’s great to have a former Hurricane on the broadcast. He’s coming back for the UCF game this Friday. I like it.
Below are some random thoughts from tonight’s game.
Wooga Poplar appears to have made “The Leap”
Everyone around the Miami program said how good Wooga looked in practice leading up to this season. It appears they were right. Poplar was impressive tonight. He shot 8-16 from the field, including 5-9 from three-point range. He was the most athletic guy on the court. Most importantly, he looked confident, like he knew he was the best guy on the floor. I am very excited to keep watching Wooga this season. He is an All-ACC type player.
Matthew Cleveland looks like he’s going to fit in just fine
Cleveland got off to a bit of a slow start tonight, missing two three-point attempts and picking up a quick foul. After that, it was smooth sailing for the FSU transfer. His athleticism and playmaking fit in perfectly. The most exciting thing was how he crashed the boards. Cleveland is very long and thick enough to battle bigs for rebounds alongside Omier. That’s huge for this team. It would be nearly impossible to replace everything Jordan Miller did for the Canes last season. That said, I think Cleveland can have a similar impact with everything he can do on both ends of the floor.
Norchad Omier..shooter and ball handler?
Miami’s big man looked incredible tonight. Omier made both of his three-point attempts. His shot looked smoother than last season; he’s definitely more comfortable out there. McClinton mentioned Omier was shooting between 500 and 1,000 shots per day at practice. I love the work ethic. He also pushed the ball in transition. Omier’s handle was good last season, but it looks even better. Another improvement. Oh, and he finished with 4 assists on some nice passing to his teammates. Norchad Omier is becoming an awesome all-around basketball player to go with his crazy motor. I’m happy he’s on the team I root for.
Miami takes on UCF this Friday, 11/10 at 7:00 PM EST on ACC Extra. The Canes beat the Knights 66-64 in Orlando last season.