Sophomore Dewan Huell has developed into one of Miami’s stars during the 2017-2018 men’s basketball season. Averaging 11.6 points and 6.6 rebounds, he has doubled his scoring and rebounding from his freshman year.
But what makes Huell’s story especially noteworthy is the fact that he is the only member of the Hurricanes to grow up in Miami. He embodies his hometown in each and every game he plays.
“I’m the king of my city,” Huell said. “Every time I play a game, I always pray to have a good game for my city, my family and my team.”
Before games, when his name is announced in the starting lineup, Huell makes his way through the huddle, receiving enthusiastic high-fives from his teammates. Once he reaches the end, senior Ja’Quan Newton places an imaginary crown on Huell’s head – the “King of Miami.”
Huell didn’t start playing basketball until he was in seventh grade. He was determined to play football … until he broke his collarbone. From that day forward, the lanky teenager focused on basketball.
He thrived on the court at Miami Norland High School, averaging 16.5 points and 8.7 rebounds as a senior. He was named a 2016 McDonald’s All-American, a consensus five-star recruit and one of the best power forwards in the country.
Huell, who stands at 6 feet 11, caught UM coach Jim Larrañaga’s attention. Larrañaga heavily recruited Huell, and it worked. Huell committed to Miami over Florida State and South Carolina on Nov. 18, 2015.
“His ceiling is very, very high,” Larrañaga said of Huell’s basketball abilities. “He hasn’t played basketball that long.”
Larrañaga often talks to Huell about reaching the 10,000-hour mark of playing the sport. Huell is nowhere close – yet.
“When he gets there, you are going to see a huge difference,” Larrañaga said about the 10,000 hours. “It won’t be in college. It will be when he is 25 years old, and everyone is going to say, ‘Wow, he has improved.'”
Though Huell has not reached his full potential yet, he has made significant improvements since arriving at UM, especially in his role as a leader.
“I just lead vocally,” Huell said. “I try to tell the guys to do the right thing and how to respond.”
He also leads by example, specifically through rigorous workouts and practices.
“One of the first things Dewan told me when I got on campus was just be consistent with your work ethic,” freshman guard Chris Lykes said. “Whenever we get in from a class, Dewan is already there with a sweat. He works out before every practice. You can tell the work that he has put in has really paid off, and that’s why he’s playing so well.”
On the court, Huell shows trust in his teammates, even some of the younger ones, no matter what type of game they’re having.
“He’ll always tells me that he trusts me on the court,” freshman Lonnie Walker IV said. “Him and I have been talking a lot, and he has just been saying, ‘Just stay aggressive and be in attack mode.'”
Since coming to Miami, Huell has put on more than 15 pounds of muscle, which has allowed him to better handle the physicality of college basketball. He has recorded five double-doubles this season.
“He is one of our co-captains,” Larrañaga said. “The reason we named him one of the co-captains is because of his willingness to do what we ask him to do. He has really embraced our philosophy, and I want to give him a chance to bloom in that regard, and he is doing it.”
Huell pushes himself during games and practices, determined not only to make himself better but to represent Miami on another level.
“Hard work pays off, and that is what I believe in,” Huell said. “I want to be an NBA All-Star one day, so I want to work on everything and keep on improving.“
With his sights set for the NBA in the future, for now, the “King of Miami” is focused on leading the Canes into March Madness.