With the “great expectations” that surround this year’s men’s basketball team, as the team is ranked No. 16 and No. 17, respectively, in the ESPN/USA Today and Associated Press polls, taking a deeper look at the roster will shed light on the true identity of this team:
Jack McClinton, Sr.
The first ever All-ACC First Team selection for the Hurricanes is back. After leading the conference in free-throw percentage and three-pointers, big things are expected from McClutchin. The question is whether he can be a primary ball-handler without sacrificing his scoring. Regardless, his long range shooting is the team’s most dangerous weapon on offense.
James Dews, Jr.
Dews made major strides last season, finishing second on the team in scoring. Like McClinton, Dews wants to improve his ball handling. In 2007-2008, Dews was an outstanding free throw shooter. The Canes hope he can get to the line more often this season.
Lance Hurdle, Sr.
Though not a pure point guard, Hurdle filled the role last season and will begin the season as the starter (he’s currently struggling with an ankle injury, but should be ready to go by opening night). He is one of the fastest players on the team but needs to improve his shooting.
Eddie Rios, So.
Rios is a true point guard but, like Hurdle, had a dismal shooting year. He’s a natural shooter, though, and should raise his percentages this season. Whether he can run the offense and improve on defense will dictate how many minutes he plays. His development will go a long way in determining the type of season the Canes have.
Malcolm Grant, So.
A transfer from Villanova, Grant will be eligible in 2009-2010. He is known as a shooter and a competent ball handler.
Brian Asbury, Sr.
Although his numbers may not reflect it, Asbury took a step forward last season. His defense improved, as did his offensive efficiency. At 6’7″, Asbury has always been a good shooter and rebounder. If he can put the ball on the floor more often this season, he could be one of the more versatile players in the ACC.
Adrian Thomas, Jr.
After two injury-plagued seasons, Adrian Thomas is ready to play a big role for the Canes. Expect Thomas to create mismatches off the bench as well as spread the floor by forcing opposing bigs to guard him on the perimeter. His defense is his strength.
DeQuan Jones, Fr.
One of the most highly regarded recruits in Miami history, Jones is already the most athletic player on the team. Expect some freshman mistakes. He needs to work on his shooting. But during practice and exhibition games, he has shown the type of finishing ability that made his dunks YouTube sensations.
Jimmy Graham, Sr.
One of only two returning post players, Graham is one of the leaders of this team. Whether he starts or comes off the bench, he provides a spark with his energy, especially on the defensive end.
Dwayne Collins, Jr.
No player will impact the success of the upcoming season more than Collins. He has committed himself to putting forth maximum effort every night. If he does that, expect to see the type of numbers he put up last season against Duke. Collins’ long arms and explosiveness make him a force on the offensive glass.
Cyrus McGowan, Jr.
A transfer from Arkansas, McGowan will be relied on to replace Anthony King and Ray Hicks. He is more athletic than both of them, but it remains to be seen whether he can put together a complete season. He is also Miami’s best shooting big man.
Julian Gamble, Fr.
Gamble was redshirted last year. He will also be counted on to replace King and Hicks. At 6’9″, he is the tallest player on the team. He won’t be counted on to score many points, but his rebounding and low-post defense will be key.
Reggie Johnson, Fr.
One of the largest players in Miami’s history, Johnson may need a redshirt to develop into a legitimate Division I player. He is currently listed at over 315 lbs.
Mark Warren, Jr. and Ryan Quigtar, Fr.
The student section will count on these two walk-ons to replace Jonathan Stratton.