Miami, Isaiah Wong

The Miami Hurricanes basketball team hit the transfer portal this offseason, bringing in an interesting group of guys that should compete in the ACC.

Four sixth-year seniors give Miami Hurricanes basketball one of the oldest teams in the entire country. Head coach Jim Larranaga added to the veteran group with numerous transfers, giving the Canes a darkhorse path to finish near the top of the ACC.

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Projected Rotation

PG: Charlie Moore (5-11, 175, Rs.-Gr.-Sr.)

2021 stats: 14.4 points, 4.2 assists, 3.6 rebounds, 1.1 steals, 34.6 3P% (DePaul)

Projected stats: 11.0 points, 3.5 assists, 3.0 rebounds, 1.2 steals, 36.5 3P%

SG: Isaiah Wong (6-3, 180, So.)

2021 stats: 17.1 points, 4.8 rebounds, 2.4 assists, 1.1 steals, 34.7 3P%

Projected stats: 16.0 points, 4.0 rebounds, 2.5 assists, 1.3 steals, 38.0 3P%

SF: Jordan Miller (6-7, 195, Jr.)

2021 stats: 15.8 points, 6.1 rebounds, 2.0 assists, 1.0 steals, 33.3 3P% (George Mason)

Projected stats: 7.5 points, 4.5 rebounds, 1.0 assists, 0.6 steals, 34.5 3P%

PF: Anthony Walker (6-9, 210, So.)

2021 stats: 9.6 points, 4.7 rebounds, 1.0 assists, 0.8 blocks, 0.7 steals, 23.4 3P%

Projected stats: 8.5 points, 5.5 rebounds, 1.0 assists, 0.7 blocks, 0.5 steals, 26.0 3P%

C: Sam Waardenburg (6-10, 225, Rs.-Gr.-Sr.)

2021 stats: 5.9 points, 6.0 rebounds, 1.1 blocks, 1.0 assists, 0.8 steals, 25.0 3P%

Projected stats: 7.0 points, 5.0 rebounds, 1.2 blocks, 1.0 assists, 0.7 steals, 27.5 3P%

6: Kameron McGusty (6-5, 190, Rs.-Gr.-Sr.)

2021 stats: 13.3 points, 3.8 rebounds, 2.8 assists, 1.3 steals, 32.0 3P%

Projected stats: 14.0 points, 3.5 rebounds, 3.0 assists, 1.4 steals, 35.0 3P%

7: Harlond Beverly (6-5, 185, So.)

2021 stats: 6.7 points, 4.5 rebounds, 3.3 assists, 1.5 steals

Projected stats: 8.0 points, 4.0 rebounds, 2.5 assists, 1.1 steals

8: Deng Gak (6-11, 220, Rs.-Jr.)

2021 stats: 2.2 points, 3.1 rebounds, 0.6 blocks

Projected stats: 2.5 points, 4.0 rebounds, 0.9 blocks

9: Jakai Robinson (6-4, 200, Fr.)

247Sports #84 overall ranked recruit

Projected stats: 5.0 points, 1.5 assists, 1.0 rebounds

10: Rodney Miller Jr. (7-0, 250, Rs.-Gr.-Sr.)

2020 stats: 7.2 points, 5.5 rebounds, 0.7 blocks

2021 stats: 5 GP

Projected stats: 4.0 points, 2.0 rebounds, 0.6 blocks

11: Bensley Joseph (6-1, 190, Fr.)

247Sports 4-star rated recruit

Projected stats: 1.5 points, 0.5 assists

Team MVP: Isaiah Wong

The number of scorers the Miami Hurricanes will have this season is almost unfair. Wong, Moore, McGusty and Miller can all have 25 point outbursts on any given night. However, Wong has the highest average of returning players, so he seems fit to lead the U in points in 2021-22.

Wong will share the backcourt with Moore, and expect McGusty to be a vital playmaker as well. Overall, Wong just has the best upside to be the bucket getter down the stretch, but even then, the options are there and plentiful.

What makes Wong extra special for me is his creativeness. He’s the opposite of a textbook player, has incredible bounce and shifty moves, and just finds ways to make difficult shots look easy. On a team with so many great players, Wong’s numbers – as with most everyone else – are sure to go down a bit. But that won’t take away from how great of a player he is.

Make-or-Break Player: Rodney Miller Jr.

I’m searching deep in the bench here for a player who might end up starting as long as his knee is fully healthy. Miller didn’t play many minutes before hurting his knee in the fifth game last season, with Nysier Brooks and Deng Gak both above him in the depth chart.

However, if you flashback to the 2019-20 season, Miller was practically an everyday starter for the Miami Hurricanes. How he’ll be inserted into the lineup will be up to coach Larranaga, but he’s obviously capable of holding down the five spot.

There’s plenty of competition for the starting center role with the Canes. Waardenburg gives a good option of a strong rebounder and decent scorer. Gak didn’t do a lot last season to justify becoming the starting big, but he is a 7-footer, which is always something to consider defensively. When healthy, Miller is the best of both worlds, but knee injuries to big men are never anything to take lightly.

Bench Rating: 10/10

I’m serious, this is the best bench in the ACC and I dare you to find me a better one. It starts with the obvious in either Kameron McGusty or Charlie Moore. One of the two will have to come off the bench unless Larranaga goes extra small. That means a legitimate starter on most Power Six teams will be the sixth man for the Miami Hurricanes. They’ll sure get starter minutes, but that type of depth is scary.

Next up is either Beverly or Miller and although to a smaller degree, both are capable of starting, which leaves one to the bench. Either could be a good sixth man for the Canes as well, which shows off the entire unit that his the Miami roster.

In accordance with how this bench is shaping up, both Gak and Miller can vie for the starting center spot. Robinson and Joseph are both 4-star recruits, so although their time might be less than it would with a shorter bench, they just strengthen the terrifying bench Miami has to offer.

Analytic to Know: Adjusted Offense

You can throw Miami’s rank of 172nd in adjusted offense last season out the window. The Canes might make a historic jump to what I can see as easily top-50 and borderline top-25. The defense won’t be any slouch either, but what the Miami Hurricanes bring back combined with two stellar transfers is sickening for any defense. This team can reach 100 points on multiple occasions this season.

Team Outlook

The ACC is tough and Miami was a dismal 10-17 overall last season. So no matter how many players they return, that’s still the biggest obstacle to overcome and why most people are sleeping on the Canes. But the minute they turn that around and gel with Charlie Moore and Jordan Miller, it’s going to be a tough task to outscore and defend Miami basketball.

The depth at guard and at big gives the U plenty of rebounding and assist men, which should also allow for more continuity. Jordan Miller and Harlond Beverly will have to play efficiently on the wing because the small forward position is the only one the Hurricanes don’t have star power at. However, it really shouldn’t matter given this team’s overall makeup.

I wish the Canes played a few more challenging teams in the non-conference, but you can’t complain too much. A win over Dayton would set up a matchup with Kansas, who could be the number one overall ranked team in the country at that point. Penn State and UCF are legitimate tests, but the rest of the scheduled teams are low mid-major opponents.

The ACC will be where Miami can set itself apart. A top-six finish practically guarantees them an NCAA Tournament bid, and I can personally see them finishing in the top four. However, the entire CBB Review staff isn’t nearly as high on Miami Hurricanes basketball as I am, thus the following projections. For what it’s worth, I had Miami as an 11 seed in my August bracketology, but I’m liking them around the 8-9 line now.

Projected Finish: 8th in the ACC

Projected Postseason Finish: Round of 64 Exit

Ceiling: Sweet Sixteen Exit


Featured image from Sun-Sentinel