ACC Basketball Preview: #12 Miami Hurricanes

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The Sports Bank’s college basketball season previews undergo a face lift this season. Rather than counting down the top 111 teams in 111 days, we will go conference-by-conference.  I’ve already counted down the Pac-12, Big 12, SEC, and AAC, and now turn my attention to the already new-look ACC.

With three of their top four scorers gone from a year ago, the Miami Hurricanes need to replace some key contributors. A pair of transfers should help in that process but there are still serious questions for Jim Larranaga entering this season.

MIAMI HURRICANES
Last Season: 10th, 7-11 in ACC, 16-17 overall
Predicted ACC Finish: 12th

Projected Depth Chart
C: Tonye Jekiri (Jr)/Omar Sherman (Fr)
PF: Ivan Uceda (Jr)/Joe Thomas (Sr)
G/F: Sheldon McClellan (Jr)/Davon Reed (So)/James Palmer (Fr)
G: Manu Lecomnte (So)/Deandre Burnett (Fr)
PG: Angel Rodriguez (Jr)/Ja’Quan Newton (Fr)

Gone: SG-Rion Brown, G/F-Garrius Adams, PF-Donnovan Kirk, F-Erik Swoope, C-Raphael Akpejiori, PF-James Kelly (transfer-Marshall)

2014-2015 Outlook:
The strength of this year’s team comes in the backcourt where transfers Angel Rodriguez and Sheldan McClellan add a needed shot in the arm. Rodriguez was a Second Team All-Big 12 player as a sophomore at Kansas State and is a capable scorer and distributor. He should have the ball in his hands quite a bit but last year’s starting point guard Manu Lecomnte provides Larranaga with two ball-handlers in the backcourt. Redshirt freshman Deandre Burnett and Ja’Quan Newton will look to add depth.

Texas transfer Sheldon McClellan steps in to help replace what the ‘Canes lose due to the graduation of Rion Brown and Garrius Adams. McClellan is a physical wing and capable all-around scorer which is important for a Miami team that finished last among power conference teams in scoring last season. Davon Reed put together a solid freshman campaign and should see quality playing time while freshman James Palmer also tries to work himself into the mix.

The question marks come for Miami inside where Tonye Jekiri is the only returning post player. Jekiri is a big body and solid rebounder but not at all a threat on the low block. JUCO transfer Ivan Uceda brings some needed versatility on the offensive end since he can stretch defenses with his outside shooting. Niagara graduate transfer Joe Thomas and Omar Sherman are wide loads down low who will need to play roles off the bench.

Larranaga added another transfer in former Oklahoma State forward, Kamari Murphy. He is lengthy and athletic but must sit out this season but will have two years of eligibility remaining in 2015-16.

Key Non-Conference Games:
11/17 at Florida
11/20 vs. Drexel (Charleston Classic)
11/21 vs. USC/Akron (Charleston Classic)
11/22 vs. South Carolina/Penn State/Charlotte/Cornell (Charleston Classic)
12/2 vs. Illinois (Big Ten/ACC Challenge)
12/22 vs. Providence (in Brooklyn)

 

OTHER ACC PREVIEWS:

#13 BOSTON COLLEGE EAGLES

#14 GEORGIA TECH YELLOW JACKETS

#15 VIRGINIA TECH HOKIES

 

AAC PREVIEWS:

#1 UCONN HUSKIES

#2 SMU MUSTANGS

#3 MEMPHIS TIGERS

#4 TEMPLE OWLS

#5 CINCINNATI BEARCATS

#6 TULSA GOLDEN HURRICANE

#7 UCF KNIGHTS

#8 SOUTH FLORIDA BULLS

#9 HOUSTON COUGARS

#10 TULANE GREEN WAVE

#11 EAST CAROLINA PIRATES

 

SEC PREVIEWS:

#1 KENTUCKY WILDCATS

#2 FLORIDA GATORS

#3 ARKANSAS RAZORBACKS

#4 OLE MISS REBELS

#5 GEORGIA BULLDOGS

#6 TENNESSEE VOLUNTEERS

#7 LSU TIGERS

#8 ALABAMA CRIMSON TIDE

#9 MISSISSIPPI STATE BULLDOGS

#10 TEXAS A&M AGGIES

#11 SOUTH CAROLINA GAMECOCKS

#12 AUBURN TIGERS

#13 MISSOURI TIGERS

#14 VANDERBILT COMMODORES

 

BIG 12 PREVIEWS:

#1 KANSAS JAYHAWKS

#2 TEXAS LONGHORNS

#3 IOWA STATE CYCLONES

#4 OKLAHOMA SOONERS

#5 KANSAS STATE WILDCATS

#6 BAYLOR BEARS

#7 WEST VIRGINIA MOUNTAINEERS

#8 OKLAHOMA STATE COWBOYS

#9 TCU HORNED FROGS

#10 TEXAS TECH RED RAIDERS

 

PAC-12 PREVIEWS:

#1 ARIZONA WILDCATS

#2 COLORADO BUFFALOES

#3 UTAH UTES

#4 UCLA BRUINS

#5 CALIFORNIA GOLDEN BEARS

#6 STANFORD CARDINAL

#7 WASHINGTON HUSKIES

#8 OREGON DUCKS

#9 ARIZONA STATE SUN DEVILS

#10 WASHINGTON STATE COUGARS

#11 USC TROJANS

#12 OREGON STATE BEAVERS

 

David Kay is a senior feature NBA DraftNBA, and college basketball writer for the Sports Bank.  He also heads up the NBA and college basketball material at Walter Football.com and is a former contributor at The Washington Times Communities.  David has appeared on numerous national radio programs spanning from Cleveland to New Orleans to Milwaukee to Honolulu.  He also had the most accurate 2011 NBA Mock Draft and the most accurate 2012 NBA Mock Draft on the internet (Yup, repeat champ… #humblebrag), and finished with the second most accurate 2013 NBA Mock Draft (nearly a three-peat.) You can follow him on Twitter at David_Kmiecik.

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