NCB On The Trail: Miami (FL) Hurricanes

#AskcoachB: Where's Onuaku headed?

October, 3, 2013
Want to ask ESPN RecruitingNation national recruiting director Paul Biancardi a question about basketball recruiting? Tweet it to @PaulBiancardi using the hashtag #AskCoachB.

Chinanu Onuaku (Upper Marlboro, Md./Riverdale Baptist) is set to make his college decision on Friday afternoon, as he just returned home from his third and final visit to Georgetown. He also visited Louisville and Miami.

Louisville seems to be the frontrunner for the center at this point, as the Cardinals are coming off a national championship last season and currently hold the nation’s No. 19 recruiting class. Miami losses a lot this season and so far it has done a very good job of building the nation’s No. 20-ranked class. Both schools have a need for more size.

Never count out the local school, Georgetown, which sits in a good spot after getting the last visit.

It would be a surprise if he picks Maryland, which has assembled the No. 3 class and has a loaded roster with really no room. The Terps are mainly focusing on underclassmen right now. Cincinnati could be a dark horse in this race.

#AskCoachB: Canes hunt new guards

September, 19, 2013
Want to ask ESPN RecruitingNation national recruiting director Paul Biancardi a question about basketball recruiting? Tweet it to @PaulBiancardi using the hashtag #AskCoachB.


The Hurricanes have a pair of guards who will be big contributors and bring a different skill set to coach Jim Larranaga. Ja'Quan Newton is a tough, battle-tested point guard who can push a faster pace or execute in the half court. He will be handed the ball from day one to run the team and has a knack of scoring by the drive and with an improved jumper.

James Palmer owns a long, thin frame and a terrific skill set with a natural instinct to score and pass. His best basketball will be down the road. One ACC head coach told me he loved his skills and thought in time he would be a really good college player.

The focus now shifts to a need in the front court as the Canes have a few very good prospects on their radar.

Chinanu Onuaku (Upper Marlboro, Md./Riverdale Baptist) had a strong summer scoring inside, rebounding and playing defense in the paint with his big body. ESPN 100 PF Dante Buford (Jacksonville, Fla./ Arlington Country Day) would bring an explosive athlete who finishes inside and can hit a face-up jumpers. They are in strong with Ben Bentil (Middletown, Del./Saint Andrews), who is as strong and physical as they come and plays with a great motor. They are also pursuing Omar Sherman (Dallas/Prime Prep) and Makinde London (Thompson's Station, Tenn./Montverde Academy).

You always look at big men who have improved and continue to make progress this group falls into that category. The Miami staff will land one of the above to fill their needs in the frontcourt.

ESPN 100 PF White picks Georgetown 

September, 15, 2013
ESPN 100 power forward Paul White (Chicago/Whitney Young) ended his recruitment on Sunday, committing to Georgetown while on an official visit. He picked the Hoyas over finalist Miami (Fla.), where he visited last weekend, along with Arizona, Connecticut, Minnesota and hometown DePaul.

The four-star White is a great get for Georgetown coach John Thompson III. A talented and skilled forward ranked No. 57 overall, he fits the Hoyas' style on both ends of the floor.

Why did he pick Georgetown and what will he bring to the Hoyas? Let's break it down.

Center C.J. Turman commits to Vols

August, 18, 2013
Tennessee landed its fourth recruit from the 2014 class on Sunday when four-star center C.J. Turman (Madison, Ga./Morgan County) committed to the Vols, has confirmed.

Alabama, Georgia, Houston and Miami were among the schools to offer Turman.

Turman joins a class that features ESPN 100 point guard Larry Austin (Springfield, Ill./Lanphier) along with four-star prospects Phil Cofer (Atlanta/Whitewater) and Jordan Cornish (New Orleans/Brother Martin).

Analyzing recent ESPN 100 PG news 

August, 13, 2013

Reading through the typical recruiting jargon can be a difficult task, especially for the untrained eye, but suffice it to say that things aren’t always what they seem.

Some of the most misleading statements often include sayings like, "He has offers from," or "He chose school X over," or "He decommitted from," primarily because they consider only one side of the process.

The fact of the matter is that schools choose prospects as much as prospects choose schools, and the former is no less fluid than the latter.

What does that mean? It means that sometimes when a tweet or recruiting article says Player X committed to School Y over offers from Schools A, B, C and D, what it can really mean is that Schools A, B, C and D offered Player X at some point in the past, but are no longer recruiting him, so he decided to commit to School Y.

Now, why would a school suddenly stop recruiting a prospect? Because they suddenly realized he wasn't good enough? Possibly, but more likely it's because they have since received a commitment from, or feel like they are on the verge of a commitment from, someone else at the same position whom they hold in a little higher esteem.

So, with that in mind, we're going to rewind through a particularly busy few weeks in the national point guard market and make an attempt to translate the real story. Whether it was a prospect who made a commitment or cut his list, we'll tell you which schools are in, which are out, the real story behind whose decision it was, and the bottom line for each prospect. Then we'll circle back and tell you which two ESPN 100 point guards are still uncommitted and open to new suitors.

[+] EnlargeTyus Jones
AP Photo/Damen Jackson No. 1 PG Tyus Jones recently reaffirmed his desire to play college hoops with No. 1 overall recruit Jahlil Okafor.
News: Tyus Jones (Apple Valley, Minn./Apple Valley) reaffirms his intent to go to school with Jahlil Okafor (Chicago, Ill./Whitney Young)
In: Baylor, Duke, Kansas, Kentucky, Michigan State, Ohio State
Out: Minnesota
Real story: Minnesota is still on Jones' list of seven, but the Gophers aren't on Okafor's list. That, in addition to the fact Richard Pitino and his staff could be seen prioritizing other targets this summer, is indication enough that Jones isn't likely to be staying home next season. The latest twist in the story is Okafor's AAU coach, Mike Irvin, going on record saying there is a great chance Duke lands Jones, while Okafor's camp has denied the Blue Devils are the leader for the package deal.
Bottom line: Jones and Okafor do want to go to school together, but they don't yet agree on where. Jones appears pretty set on Duke, but Okafor not quite as much at this point. ESPN 100 SF Justise Winslow (Houston/Saint John's) is also part of the conversation, making this potentially one of the biggest package deals in recent history.

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The Miami Hurricanes backcourt is now solidified for years to come.

Head coach Jim Larranaga landed a commitment from ESPN 100 point guard Ja'Quan Newton (Philadelphia/Neumann-Goretti) on Wednesday, just two days after shooting guard James Palmer (Washington, D.C./St. John’s) popped for the Hurricanes to start the week.

Newton and Palmer join ESPN 100 swingman Adonys Henriquez, who committed last December, in a recruiting class that is now ranked No. 6 in the nation for 2014.

And when you add the three 2014 commitments to the six recruits Miami signed in the Class of 2013, Larranaga and his staff have essentially rebuilt three-quarters of the roster in the last year.

The Canes aren’t done recruiting in the 2014 class, either. While the backcourt is set for the foreseeable future, they’d still like to add a boost to their frontcourt before all is said and done.

[+] EnlargeJa'Quan Newton
Geoff Burke/USA TODAY SportsESPN 100 PG Ja'Quan Newton is a key piece of Miami's backcourt rebuilding job.
But make no mistake about it, Miami has done a remarkable job rebuilding its backcourt and is now as well positioned as any school in the ACC for the next four years -- not just with a wealth of talent and versatility but also with a series of individual pieces that fit together in a potentially precise way.

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Palmer adds shooting to Hurricanes 

August, 5, 2013
Fresh off a strong summer performance, Class of 2014 shooting guard James Palmer (Washington, D.C./St. John's) committed to the Miami Hurricanes on Monday night over offers from Wake Forest, VCU, Memphis and Cincinnati.

Palmer joins ESPN 100 shooting guard Adonys Henriquez (Orlando, Fla./Orlando Christian Prep) in Miami’s 2014 class to give coach Jim Larranaga a shooter in Palmer and a scoring playmaker in Henriquez.

What will Palmer bring to Miami?

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Miami adds D.C. shooting guard

August, 5, 2013
Miami landed a verbal commitment from Class of 2014 shooting guard James Palmer (Washington, D.C./St. John's) on Monday, has confirmed.

Palmer held offers from Radford, Rutgers, St. Joseph's and Towson, among others. He joins ESPN 100 SG Adonys Henriquez (Orlando, Fla./Orlando Christian Prep) in the Hurricanes' 2014 class.

ESPN 100 PG Newton names finalists 

July, 31, 2013
On Tuesday, one of the schools that had been a legitimate landing spot for ESPN 100 point guard Ja'Quan Newton (Philadelphia/Neumann-Goretti) was eliminated -- and not by Newton’s doing, either.

When fellow ESPN 100 prospect Phil Booth (Baltimore, Md./Mount St. Joseph) committed to play for Villanova, Jay Wright’s point guard search was over.

[+] EnlargeJa'Quan Newton
Geoff Burke/USA TODAY SportsESPN 100 PG Ja'Quan Newton trimmed his list to UCLA, Oregon, Minnesota, Syracuse, Miami and Texas A&M.
A day later, Newton has narrowed his final list of colleges to six.

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Hurricanes land 2017 small forward 

July, 15, 2013
Class of 2017 small forward D.J. Russell (Jacksonville, Fla./Arlington Country Day) has not played a second of high school basketball, but he already knows where he will play his college ball. Last week, the 6-foot-6, 200-pound wing committed to Jim Larranaga and the Miami Hurricanes.

Russell has developed a feel for the Hurricanes by attending their Elite Camp and also their home win against North Carolina last season.

"He just fell in love with the school," ACD coach Rex Morgan said.

So what type of player is Russell?

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Rutgers adds juco wing Chris Griffin 

March, 25, 2013
According to a report on, Rutgers landed a commitment on Monday from junior college small forward Chris Griffin (Tallahassee, Fla./Wabash Valley College).

Griffin played one season at Murray State in 2010-11, averaging 2.0 points and 2.0 rebounds in 8.7 minutes. He chose the Scarlet Knights over Florida Gulf Coast, St. Bonaventure, Miami and San Francisco.

"I'm a big guard -- I can shoot it, pass it, I can do everything," he told the site. "A lot of my strengths are things Coach (Mike) Rice is looking for."

Griffin joins PG Shane Rector (Bronx, N.Y./South Kent School) and SF Craig Brown (North Miami Beach, Fla./Broward Community College) in Rutgers' incoming class.

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C Amida Brimah commits to UConn 

January, 14, 2013
6-foot-11 center Amida Brimah (Miami/Archbishop Carroll) gave Connecticut head coach Kevin Ollie a verbal commitment on Monday, according to the New Haven (Conn.) Register.

Brimah spent the weekend on an official visit to Storrs, Conn. and will attend the Huskies game against Louisville on Monday night. Schools such as Florida International, Miami (Fla.), Auburn, LaSalle and Southern Miss were interested in the 3-star center.

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Terps land four-star PG Romelo Trimble 

December, 13, 2012
Class of 2014 point guard Romelo Trimble (Arlington, Va./Bishop O'Connell) ended his recruitment on Thursday morning with a verbal commitment to Maryland, The Washington Post reported.

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Colbert to join Illinois' class 

November, 12, 2012
Three-star power forward Austin Colbert (Gladstone, N.J./Gill St. Bernard) committed to Illinois on Monday. He announced his decision on

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SG JaJuan Johnson targets decision date 

October, 17, 2012
Over the weekend, ESPN 100 shooting guard JaJuan Johnson (Memphis, Tenn./Southwind) took his third and final official visit to Marquette for the Golden Eagles’ Midnight Madness festivities.

“It went good,” he said. “The atmosphere was crazy because it’s a basketball town. They had pictures and signs with my name on it.”

Johnson has narrowed his list to Alabama, Marquette and Miami and says a decision will come soon, probably in the next 10 to 12 days. The 6-foot-5 guard talked about his other two finalists, the Crimson Tide and the Hurricanes.

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