allCanesBlog.com is please to introduce our loyal readers to The Great Kartik, an avid Canes enthusiast from Coral Springs who also works with a blog called FloridaCollegeSports.
I’ve brought Kartik on board to help with all things Canes baseball and basketball related. I received an email today asking if I’m a fan of all Canes sports or just football.
Football is obviously tops, as I’ve covered it for the past decade, but I’m also a fan of some of the smaller sports; especially baseball.
You’re talking about an old school, Ron Fraser Baseball Camp alumnus here.
The issue is trying to cover Miami baseball and Miami basketball when neither are nationally televised and there are so many game a season to keep up with.
I’m 3,000+ miles away from the action, so Kartik is going to help allCanesBlog.com stay up on all things outside of football. Check out his thoughts below:
The Great Kartik’s take on the current state of Miami Basketball
The Canes horrible loss to Binghamton last Wednesday night provided an exclamation point to what has been a downer of season thus far for the young Canes. While posters at some of the other Canes fan sites have been claiming gloom and doom, hope remains for this team.
With Saturday’s rough trip to perennial powerhouse Louisville and legendary Freedom Hall looming, the Canes resolve and resilience will be tested. Coach Frank Haith is still a relatively young coach who is still learning what it takes to excel at this level. Comparing Haith to Perry Clark as is being done on some of the message boards is irresponsible and demeaning. Sure the Hurricanes have some of the worst losses in the recent history of this program in the first month of this season, but the team is young and the future could be bright one.
:THIS SEASON’S POSITIVE POINTS THUS FAR:
For starters the win over Georgia Tech is much more critical than all the losses to mid majors and small conference teams. The Yellow Jackets have a very good team this year and in Basketball, unlike Football all that really matter is winning your conference games. Since 1981, only two teams with winning ACC records have failed to make the NCAA Tournament, so in some ways the Canes are 1-0.
The play of Jack McClinton has been a pleasant surprise. Last year, Coach Haith told the media that McClinton was the best player in practice, but seemed hard to believe with Guillermo Diaz and Rob Hite on the squad. McClinton can create his own shot and has almost unlimited range. He is among the most capable back court players in the ACC.
Brian Asbury was a huge disappointment as a freshman averaging under a point a game, but he is now experiencing a breakout season averaging double figures in scoring and having the confidence to take jump shots at important times in the game.
Freshman Dwayne Collins is raw, but has shown exceptional flashes of brilliance and athleticism unmatched by any Miami frontcourt player since Tim James. Fabio Nass, a JC transfer looks like he can give some quality minutes in the paint.
:THIS SEASON’S NEGATIVE POINTS THUS FAR:
Where to start? Losses to Buffalo, Cleveland State, Northwestern and Binghamton are arguably the four worst losses suffered by ANY ACC team this season. So what accounts for the poor play?
Let’s start with senior Anthony Harris, the Canes leading returning scorer from last season. Two years ago, Harris scored 23 and had 8 assists in a huge upset win in Gainesville versus Florida. Since then however he has been inconsistent and turnover prone. Harris has the ability to pass well off the dribble and drive the lane to create lay up opportunities.
However, he seems unwilling to do either this season and has been a total train wreck. On another site’s message boards he’s being described as the “unmentionable one” and that pretty much sums up my opinion of him as well. Denis Clemente, the other point guard, is wildly inconsistent and also turnover prone.
The injury to Anthony King, the other senior starter has hurt the team as well. King is a shot blocking presence at center but Coach Haith has rightly pointed out that King doesn’t demand the ball enough from the guards so even though he’s a good post player he doesn’t get enough touches when he is healthy.
Ray Hicks appeared ready to breakout at the end of last season, but has taken a step backwards this year. Hicks isn’t aggressive enough on the offensive end and has been falling asleep on defense. The same can be said for Jimmy Graham.
The lack of proper ball movement on offense seems to be a major problem with this team. All too often as the shot clock is running down, McClinton or Asbury will be forced to go one on one in the paint or settle for a long jump shot. Players don’t move well without the ball and everyone except Asbury and McClinton drift in and out of games.
The Defense has been atrocious. Last year the Canes led the ACC in scoring defense, but this season the opposition have way too many easy perimeter shot opportunities as well as easy transition fast breaks.
:The Great Kartik’s Bottom Line:
The 2006-2007 Canes are probably not going to the postseason but the team is young, and patience needs to be practiced by the faithful. Coach Haith is still learning on the job to be a head coach and all his recruits have yet to pan out.
Part of Haith’s problem with recruiting stems from the conference switch which took away much of UM’s ability to recruit blue chippers from the Northeast, which had been the source of some of the best Canes players during the Leonard Hamilton or Clark years. (Star players like John Salmons, Elton Tyler, Kevin Norris and Johnny Hemsley.)
Haith has had to rely more heavily on South Florida recruits, which isn’t enough to win consistently in the ACC. Haith also has a group of players that are not used to being go to guys.
In time, each player will grow more comfortable with their roles and the bumps of this season could prove fruitful in the upcoming years.