Basketball, Sports

Practice begins with more experienced roster

File Photo

With basketball season around the corner, Reggie Johnson is healthy, in shape and confident.

If Miami’s senior center can stay that way, the Hurricanes will have a chance to do special things this season.

“We’re going to win big this year,” Johnson said. “I’m sorry if I sound cocky, but we’re going to win big. I think practices are harder than the games right now.”

Johnson has every right to be confident. The Hurricanes return nine scholarship players from the 2011-2012 roster that accounted for 80 percent of the Canes’ scoring. The only departures were guard Malcolm Grant, who is currently playing professionally in Cyprus, and swingman DeQuan Jones, who signed a training camp contract with the Orlando Magic.

Johnson is confident that this team, which tied for fourth in the conference last season, is ready to reach the next level.

“Our goal right now is to win the ACC,” he said. “We have to take small steps; nonconference, then conference, then postseason. Some of you probably think I’m crazy, but I’m telling you, we’re going to win big.”

Coach Jim Larranaga enters his second season with a seemingly more stable and healthy roster. The frontcourt, led by seniors Johnson and Kenny Kadji, will benefit from added depth, with 6-foot-10 dual forward/center Julian Gamble back from ACL surgery, along with junior Raphael Akpejiori and freshman Tonye Jekiri.

“I think Julian has impressed me as much or more than anybody on the team,” Larranaga said. “During the summer, he was in the weight room conditioning, getting stronger, and these last four  weeks he’s been very impressive running the floor, rebounding the basketball at both ends. He’s going to fit very much into our rotation.”

Sophomore Shane Larkin and senior Durand Scott lead the backcourt; the duo, when playing well, is as talented as any in the ACC. Larranaga believes Scott is capable of an exceptional season and will count on him for leadership on this experienced roster.

“Durant is a tough, hardnosed competitor, and whenever he’s out on the floor he’s going to give it 100 percent,” Larranaga said. “I think he’s going to have a sensational year. He’s really going to be our true leader. I’m excited about the improvement he’s made in his game.”

Miami finished 20-13 overall last season, falling to Minnesota in the second round of the NIT. The Hurricanes posted a school-record in ACC victories, including notable wins at home against FSU and on the road at Duke. Miami will play a formidable non-conference schedule, including a primetime contest against Michigan State at home in the ACC-Big 10 Challenge, and may play Arizona in the Diamond Head Classic in Hawaii during Christmas break.

It’s Johnson’s final year as a Cane, and he knows that time is running out for him to leave a mark on Miami basketball.

“The time is now,” he said. “This is my last year. There’s no more next year. I’m definitely looking forward to that challenge. Don’t overlook us. That’s all I’m going to say.”

October 10, 2012

Reporters

AJ Ricketts


2 COMMENTS ON THIS POST To “Practice begins with more experienced roster”

  1. Mike says:

    Excellent article, go Canes!

  2. Adam McKillop says:

    Hey AJ,
    not sure if you guys caught this yet. But on the paper edition, the byline under this picture says its Reggie Johnson. I am almost 100% sure that’s actually Raphael Akpejiori.

Around the Web
  • Miami Herald
  • UM News
  • HurricaneSports

The University of Miami celebrated on Thursday night with an NFL Draft first-round pick for the thir ...

When Al Golden recruited David Njoku to the University of Miami in 2014 the Cedar Grove, N.J. native ...

The night after FIU gave away a game to the University of Miami with a ninth-inning passed ball that ...

Redshirt freshman quarterback Jack Allison left the University of Miami football program on Tuesday. ...

Closer Frankie Bartow stared into the Panthers’ dugout immediately after fanning the final batter of ...

UM marks Holocaust Remembrance Day with a reading of names and recollections of a survivor. ...

A recent paper argues that not only have researchers just scratched the surface of analyzing the Ama ...

The period of the first 100 days in office is a telling gauge for a president's full term in th ...

UM students, staff and faculty join the worldwide march to end men’s violence against women. ...

Greek Week at the University of Miami is committed to raising money and awareness for United Cerebra ...

Check out some of the best photos from the Miami women's tennis team's 4-0 victory against ...

Images from @CanesMensTennis match against Duke. ...

The fourth-seeded Miami women's tennis team will make its ninth appearance in the ACC Champions ...

The fourth-seeded Miami women's tennis team defeated No. 12-seed Boston College, 4-0, Friday af ...

The University of Miami track and field team closed out the 2017 outdoor track and field regular sea ...

TMH Twitter Feed
About TMH

The Miami Hurricane is the student newspaper of the University of Miami in Coral Gables, Fla. The newspaper is edited and produced by undergraduate students at UM and is published weekly on Thursdays during the regular academic year.