Not too many people have Hurricanes basketball on their minds as the end of April comes to a close. But, an important decision that will be decided on next week will affect the basketball team in a very significant way and may give fans hope for next season.
Center Anthony King, who played in eight games during his senior year, most likely will have an opportunity to play one more season after the NCCA Management Council agreed to permit injured players who participated in up to 30 percent of their team’s games to receive a medical redshirt.
If the NCCA Board of Directors concurs with the change on April 26, athletes who compete in 30 percent of their games, instead of 20 percent, will be granted another year of eligibility.
Having number 50 in uniform for another season changes the whole outlook for the 2007-2008 campaign.
The Durham, N.C. native was a three-year starter for the Hurricanes and one of the best interior defenders in the ACC. King’s shot blocking ability and presence in the paint were missing a year ago when the Hurricanes finished 12-20 for the season, and last place in the ACC.
King has never been a player that scored in double-figures consistently, but he did increase his scoring average in each of his first three seasons.
After King’s right wrist injury on Dec. 3 against Georgia Tech, Miami’s season went downhill. Freshman Dwayne Collins was the only true low-post player for the Hurricanes most of last season.
If King returns, Miami’s frontline is arguably as good as any in the ACC. It would definitely be the most talented and physical frontcourt in Head Coach Frank Haith’s tenure.
King would be joined by Dwayne Collins, who had a solid freshman season, and Jimmy Graham, who turned the corner with a strong ACC Tournament performance.
Fans are not expecting much from forwards Ray Hicks or Fabio Nass, but perhaps incoming freshmen Julian Gamble or Freddy Asprilla could also have an impact.
The presence of King would also keep forward Brian Asbury from playing out-of-position. Asbury could stay focused on becoming a consistent all-around player, especially shooting the basketball better from game to game.
King does not necessarily make Miami a contender, nor guarantee an NIT and NCCA Tournament appearance, especially if the duo of Robert Hite and Guillermo Diaz failed to make the “Big Dance.”
Miami still has an unproven point guard in a conference where guard play is very important. Miami also must drastically improve its three-point field goal defense, finding additional scoring options and playing smarter and composed in close games.
But, what Miami will have is a player that will be determined and poised for a big season after being given a second chance.
King will provide leadership and keep the team together, just what former ‘Canes Gary Hamilton and Keaton Copeland brought the past two seasons.
It must have been tough for King to see his career dwindle away because of season-ending wrist surgery.
Now, King could have the chance to receive a medical redshirt and set things right.
Anthony King can make an impact for one last season, help Miami remain competitive in the ACC and ultimately provide fans a glimmer of hope for next season.
Alex Kushel may be contacted at email@example.com.