The University of Miami basketball program unveiled its new Adidas basketball uniforms in front of Hurricane Club donors at the Canes Basketball Tip-Off Social at the BankUnited Center Thursday night.
Miami Director of Athletics Blake James opened the occasion with glowing remarks on the current state of the school’s basketball teams, and the need for continued support to ensure success in the future.
“To continue to do what we want to do in basketball though, it’s important that all of you recognize that the bar is constantly being raised,” James said to a room full of donors. “Katie [Meier] and Jim [Larrañaga] are out competing against the very best in the ACC conference. Beyond that, they’re competing against the best around the country.”
James then brought out three players from both the men and women’s teams in the new uniforms. Each team has three sets of new uniforms from Adidas, one white, one orange and one green.
Men’s basketball Head Coach Jim Larrañaga took some joy seeing three of his players modeling the new threads, at one point calling out for senior center Tonye Jekiri to “spin around and show everybody the white uniform.”
Earlier this year, Miami left Nike and agreed to a 12-year deal with Adidas. Miami became the first program to sign an all-sports deal with Nike back in 1987.
After the unveiling, women’s basketball Head Coach Katie Meier picked up where James left off and talked about the “really exciting time” for the program.
“I am about six practices ahead of where I normally am this time of year, which excites me,” said Meier, entering her 11th season in charge of the women’s team. “We returned our starting backcourt. We will win four or five more games this year because of that tour [to Europe in August].”
Larrañaga followed Meier but before talking up his current crop of players, the coach in his fifth year at Miami celebrated the team’s record number of season ticket holders.
“We’ve already set the all-time season ticket holder record. We’ve sold more season tickets this year than in the history of the program,” Larrañaga said. “But we’re not done! We want to get the place sold out. We want to sell out the BankUnited Center and set an all-time record for attendance this year.”
Larrañaga echoed James’s call for continued support if the team is to remain competitive in the tough ACC, saying, “Nothing is done just individually or because you have good players. Everything is about the support we get from you guys.” He went on to say, “It cannot be done without financial support. It cannot be done just by coaching. It’s done in the recruiting arena. It’s done by having recruits come to your campus, when they walk into your arena, when they walk into your locker room, they leave there impressed and say, ‘Wow.’”
Larrañaga closed his remarks by praising his group of players for the upcoming 2015-2016 season.
“Our basketball team this year is more fun than you can possibly imagine,” Larrañaga said. “Angel Rodriguez is our leader and is doing a terrific job in that role. His partner in crime, Sheldon McClellan, is right along side of him. I think those guys are going to lead us to setting new records for our program.”
Both the men and women’s teams have exhibition games coming up on Nov. 4 in the BankUnited Center. The women’s team opens the regular season against Wright State at 11 a.m. on Nov. 13 in the BankUnited Center, followed by the men’s season opener versus UT Rio Grande Valley at 7 p.m.