- Aug 24, 2018
Head coach Jim Larranaga and his staff are busy looking to add more players to the roster for the 2019-20 season.
Larranaga explains needs for future of the Hurricanes
The Miami Hurricanes have endured their worst season in 12 years. With the regular season finale on Friday (7:00 p.m., ESPN2) at No. 15 Virginia Tech ahead of the ACC Tournament, which begins March 12, the season is nearing completion. Barring a late-season surge the Hurricanes (13-16, 5-12 ACC) will finish with its first losing season under head coach Jim Larranaga and the first since the 2006-07 team went 12-20. Larranaga and his staff have been working to build a brighter future, but still have work to do. Miami has signed two players in Monsignor-Bonner (Pa.) four-star guard Isaiah Wong and Brewster Academy (N.H.) three-star forward Anthony Walker with three scholarships still available. The staff has been looking to add Montverde Academy (Fla.) four-star guard Harlond Beverly and Wasatch Academy (Utah) four-star small forward Tristan Enaruna to the mix. “We are very, very actively pursuing a couple more high school kids and that would be a tremendous if we could get two more guys from the high school ranks and have four freshmen—a nice, solid base to build on, a good foundation,” Larranaga said. There is only one other 2019 uncommitted prospect who has a Miami offer and has not ruled out the Hurricanes and that is five-star guard Cole Anthony, who has UM in his final six, but has yet to schedule a visit to Coral Gables.
Miami will also be looking to add players in the transfer market after the season as Larranaga stated they would like to add two more transfers bringing the total to four preferred additions when they only have three scholarships available. The extra spot could open up if Willie Herenton relinquishes his after the former walk-on received one this year or if someone else leaves the program after the season. “In addition to (hoping to add two more high school players) to build for next year we would still like to get a transfer or two—somebody who would be eligible right away, someone who would kind of fill the Zach Johnson role,” Larranaga said. “We have had a couple of guys like that in Joe Thomas and Donnavan Kirk and we would like to get someone like that. In addition to that we would like to get a transfer that sits out and really learns our system so when they become eligible they’re really ready to contribute.”
As it stands, the 2019-20 Hurricanes would feature guard Chris Lykes in his junior season after a breakout sophomore campaign averaging over 16 points a game as the team’s leading scorer. Guard Dejan Vasiljevic would be the lone senior on the roster. Lykes would be one of five juniors along with forward Sam Waardenburg, center Rodney Miller, guard Kameron McGusty, and Herenton. McGusty, a transfer from Oklahoma, has been impressing throughout the season in practices while sitting out due to NCAA transfer rules. “He’s doing an absolute great job,” Larranaga said. “He’s going to be an tremendous player for us next season.” Miller has been a hot topic of conversation since the beginning of the season when Larranaga announced the 7-footer would be redshirting after playing sparingly in his first two years at Miami and then sticking with the plan even with the team being short-handed, particularly in the front-court. “He’s a skilled big guy,” Larranaga said. “He’s got a great right and left-handed hook. His biggest challenge is conditioning and he’s lost about 30 pounds. He’s coming from about 280 to just under 250. He’s getting stronger. Casey Cathrall, our strength coach, is doing a great job with him. So this is a very good redshirt year for Rodney. We would have loved to have had him playing once Dewan was not declared to be eligible, but it works very well for Rodney to have sat out this year, learn as much as he’s learning, and improve as much as he has improved and be a major contributor next year more than likely in our starting lineup.”
The first look at the 2019-20 Hurricanes will come earlier than usual this year as the team has scheduled four exhibition games in Italy August 9-18. Christopher Stock has covered the Miami Hurricanes since 2003 and can be reached by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org and on Twitter @InsideTheU