What makes a winner? What makes someone clutch? What allows a player to put a team on his or her back? It all boils down to intangibles, heart and desire. The will to win is something than cannot be measured- it’s innate. It’s something that just flows through an athlete’s veins and allows them to rise to the occasion and produce when called upon. There are a lot of notable student-athletes here at the University of Miami. Here’s a breakdown of the grittiest UM student-athletes regardless of the sport. These five players are winners and leaders and elevate their teammates’ game.
5) Sophomore outside hitter Lane Carico
Carico is a natural talent. The volleyball program is fortunate to have an athlete of her caliber. In 2008, she was named ACC Freshman of the Year, and that was a precursor of things to come. Despite numerous injuries to the 2009 squad, Carico led UM to its first NCAA postseason berth since 2002.
She was tabbed First Team All-ACC and All-American honorable mention. She led the ACC averaging 4.36 kills per set. The player closest to her averaged 3.78 kills per set. When a match would reach a crucial fifth set, her teammates knew to get the ball in her hands. She prolonged tough rallies and was there when Miami needed a point.
4) Redshirt junior kicker Matt Bosher
In 2008, Bosher was named the football team’s MVP. That should say enough about his character. Bosher not only does place-kicking, punting and field goals, but he is also a tackler on special teams. He is aggressive and wants to win as much as anyone.
Bosher was named second team All-ACC this past year. He recorded six tackles which is remarkable for a kicker. Kickers are stereotypically known as soft players. He was 14-for-16 in field goal attempts including converting all four field goals from 40 or more yards away. Bosher is a fierce warrior.
3) Sophomore guard Shenise Johnson
She led Miami to the WNIT Finals this year and her freshman year she was the only player in the country to lead her team in scoring, rebounding, assists and steals. The McDonald’s All-American is a sensational scorer. She ranked third in the ACC in scoring and scored at least double digits in every game.
She posts triple-double like numbers every game. She was a First Team All-ACC selection and is an All-American candidate. She is special because she revitalized and gave hope to a struggling women’s basketball program. Her basketball IQ is off the charts and Miami fans should cherish her athletic ability.
2) Freshman guard Durand Scott
If changing positions doesn’t tell you enough about this All-ACC rookie selection, I don’t know what does. A natural shooting guard, Scott became the team’s point guard this year.
What really separated the New York City native from the rest of the competition was his ability to perform in big games. Playing the best brought out the best in Scott.
In the ACC/Big Ten Challenge against Minnesota, Scott recorded a team-high 20 points including crucial buckets in the final two minutes. Against Duke in the regular season, Scott registered 19 points on 9-for-13 shooting. Against North Carolina in the legendary Dean Dome, Scott scored a career-high 29 points against the powder blue.
In the ACC Tournament he showed his ability to drive to the hoop and take over games as Miami upset Wake Forest and Virginia Tech and only lost to Duke, the eventual national champions, by three points. Scott was named first team All ACC Tournament.
1) Junior catcher Yasmani Grandal
Grandal is the epitome of a leader. He currently leads the ACC in batting average and will be a sure first round pick in June’s MLB Amateur draft. Grandal not only leads on the diamond, but leads in the locker room as well.
He is the ultimate competitor who despises losing. He has not expanded his strike zone because other teams are hesitant to pitch to him since his bat is so lethal.
He has learned to hit opposite field and consistently gets clutch hit after clutch hit. Grandal is a candidate for College Baseball Player of the Year if he keeps up his torrid pace. He is also an outstanding defender and is the backbone to the pitching staff that has the best ERA in the ACC. He knows how to handle veterans and rookies and is not afraid to call someone out and get in someone’s face after a mistake. Grandal has all the ingredients of a winner.
Justin Antweil may be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.