Six weeks removed from their historic Final Four run, Jim Larrañaga’s staff has been busy assembling next season’s squad and shaping the program’s non-conference schedule all while Nijel Pack and Norchad Omier continue to weigh the option of turning pro. Let’s dive in...
Next Season’s Roster Taking Shape
While other programs quickly began collecting transfer portal talent, Miami remained patient and focused on their top two needs: an athletic wing player to replace Jordan Miller and a (preferably stretch) big man to deepen the front court rotation. Miami hit a home run on the first need securing a commitment from former five star recruit Matthew Cleveland.
State of the U’s Mike Schiffman tracked Cleveland’s path to transferring from rival FSU. Cleveland looks to follow in the footsteps of players like Charlie Moore, Miller, Pack, and Omier as recent transfer portal successes in Coral Gables.
Miami also added a late addition to this year’s recruiting class, signing 6’6” guard Kyshawn George from France.
State of the U’s Craig Smith covered George’s signing. George joins Michael Nwoko, whose own rating has been soaring of late and is now a fringe top 100 prospect among this year’s crop of freshman recruits.
Although Nijel Pack and Norchad Omier are technically still weighing the option of turning pro, it seems likely that both are coming back, which leaves Miami’s roster presently at:
- Nijel Pack (G)
- Bensley Joseph (G)
- Wooga Poplar (G)
- Matthew Cleveland (G/F)
- Norchad Omier (F)
- A.J. Casey (F)
- Jakai Robinson (G)
- Christian Watson (G/F)
- Michael Nwoko (C)
- Kyshawn George (G)
Basically slot in Cleveland for Miller, give Wooga a more featured role in Wong’s absence, and look for Watson and Robinson to crack the rotation in place of the departed Harlond Beverly (transfer to Wichita St.) and Anthony Walker (transfer to Indiana). Robinson was a four star 2022 recruit and Watson was a three star 2021 recruit. Although neither saw consistent playing time last year, Larrañaga often praised their service on the team’s scout team.
It’s questionable whether George is going to make the rotation as a freshman, but there’s a solid chance that Nwoko does depending on who else Miami finds through the portal. The Hurricanes also have former walk-on Filippo Gkogkos (G) on the roster. 11 players is a bit thin, so I’m sure Miami adds one possibly two more transfers before next season.
Norchad Omier at NBA G League Elite Camp
78 players were invited to the NBA Combine, including Miami’s Jordan Miller and Isaiah Wong. The Combine is held in Chicago, beginning today and ending on Sunday.
Another 45 players were invited to the NBA G League Elite Camp, held this past weekend, which serves as an opportunity for those invitees to earn a ticket to the Combine. Norchad Omier earned a Camp invite while, a bit surprisingly, Nijel Pack did not.
Omier was assigned to Team 2, whose biggest stars were Kansas State’s no-look lob specialist Markquis Nowell and Texas’ Third-Team All Big XII forward Sir’Jibari Rice. Two games were played this weekend, one on Saturday and one on Sunday.
Saturday’s game was against Team 1. Omier’s box score was solid, collecting 10 points and 8 rebounds while having the best +/- differential among his teammates.
Game 1 box from the G League Elite Camp. Markquis Nowell, Sir’Jabari Rice, Johnell Davis, Johni Broome and PJ Hall among those who stood out. pic.twitter.com/4QSOO3R8tD— Kevin Sweeney (@CBB_Central) May 13, 2023
You wouldn’t know he had a solid scrimmage from the highlight reel. Omier mostly appeared on the wrong end of other players’ highlights...
- (0:13-30) - Omier (No. 26) is running a two-man exchange with Texas forward Sir’JBari Rice (No. 28). The play ends in a turnover with Rice’s pass being poked away from Omier under the basket.
- (1:31-1:46) - Omier’s lone positive highlight this game. The play ends with Clemson’s PJ Hall (No. 47) driving towards the basket as Omier extends straight up executing a text book lane defense while avoiding a foul.
- (2:11- 2:30) - this is more of a Markquis Nowell highlight, but Omier sets an effective on-ball screen to give Nowell the matchup he wanted leading to a nice three.
- (2:31-2:46) - the very next play is a bad one for Omier. Johni Brome (No. 45), the Ohio Valley Conference defensive player of the year and an Auburn transfer should he chose to return to college, absolutely smokes Omier with a spin move and thunderous slam.
- (4:03-4:16) - now late in the game, Omier switches onto FAU’s Johnell Davis (No. 1) at the top of the key who drives and fakes Omier out of his shoes for an easy layup.
- (4:17-4:25) - inbounds play from the baseline and Nowell tries to lob a pass into Omier, but he’s unable to create separation from Baylor’s Jalen Bridges (No. 44) who blocks what would have been the game winner.
Saturday’s game was a respectable showing for Omier, but certainly demonstrated his need to further develop his game before he turns pro.
Omier’s box score was a bit rougher on Sunday’s game against Team 3, finishing only 2 for 9 from the field with 7 rebounds.
- (0:24-0:35) - Omier’s highlight play of the weekend, stopping a steal-turned-fastbreak opportunity by stuffing Arkansas-Pine Bluff’s Shaun Doss (No. 3) at the rim.
...and that was it. No seriously, he’s in a few other plays as a secondary defender but that’s really it. All-in-all, Omier was a bit invisible in Sunday’s game except for that nice block.
Unsurprisingly, Omier was not one of the eight G League Camp players invited to the Combine in Chicago. You’ve got to be proud of Omier’s effort, and we all want to see him succeed and realize his NBA dream, but all signs now point to him returning to Miami for another season.
Miami Adds Colorado at Brooklyn
To briefly recap our scheduling update a month ago:
- Miami’s holiday tournament will be Nov. 17 and 19 at Baha Mar in the Bahamas against Kansas State, Providence, and a fourth team to-be-named.
- Miami can expect to draw a team such as Missouri, Tennessee, or Auburn from the inaugural ACC/SEC Challenge.
- Miami scheduled a matchup against now Big XII member UCF.
Since then, reports are that Miami will play Colorado on December 10th in a triple-header showcase at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn.
NEWS: The Barclays Center will host a triple header on December 10th, according to multiple sources.— Jon Rothstein (@JonRothstein) May 13, 2023
St. John's/Boston College
Colorado is a terrific addition to the schedule. The Buffs are coming off an 18-17 season with an NIT appearance, but this offseason they signed No. 1 overall freshman recruit Cody Williams, the brother of Oklahoma City Thunder’s Jalen Williams. Joining Williams at Colorado is four star center Assane Diop. With this elite infusion of talent, Colorado should at least be a Tournament team next year.
I continue hoping that Miami and FAU are working something up, but that might just be wishful thinking. The Orange Bowl Classic in Sunrise seemed like a perfect opportunity, but with the announcement that Miami will play in Brooklyn on December 10th, it seems highly unlikely that Hurricanes would be available for a December 9th contest in Broward county.
Finally, Jon Rothstein also reported that Miami will host North Florida as part of its non-conference schedule. Last year, the Ospreys finished 7th in the Atlantic Sun Conference and lost by an average of 38 points to Gonzaga, Kentucky, and Houston as a warm up for those squads.