2022 Record: 29-8 (15-5)
Head Coach: Jim Larrañaga (Career Record 725-483) (Miami Record 255-149)
PG: Nijel Pack (13.6 Pts, 2.7 Reb, 2.3 Ast)
SG: Bensley Joseph (5.3 Pts, 2.1 Reb, 2.0 Ast)
SF: Wooga Poplar (8.4 Pts, 3.3 Reb, 1.5 Ast)
PF: Matthew Cleveland (Florida State 13.8 Pts, 7.4 Reb, 1.8 Ast)
C: Norchad Omier (13.1 Pts, 10.0 Reb, 1.3 Ast)
6: SG Kyshawn George
7: PF AJ Casey (0.9 Pts, 1.0 Reb, 0.2 Ast)
8: C Michael Nwoko
9: SF Christian Watson (1.5 Pts, 0.5 Reb, 0.1 Ast)
10: SG Jakai Robinson (0.6 Pts, 0.3 Reb, 0.1 Ast)
11: SG Paul Djobet
Miami did lose their 2 leading scorers from last seasons team that reached the final four. They do, however, return the duo of Nijel Pack and Norchad Omier. Pack is a very good shooter from beyond the arc and also adds value as a passer who takes care of the ball. Pack is a career 42% three point shooter and shot 40% from beyond the arc this past season. Pack should take another jump this upcoming season following the departure of both Jordan Miller and Isaiah Wong. It’s very likely that Pack’s statistics return to that of his Kansas State days where he was averaging 17PPG on 44% shooting from beyond the arc. Norchad Omier averaged a double double last season despite being undersized for a power conference center at 6-7. He plays much bigger than he is an is very physical down low while using his weight to his advantage. There’s not much big man depth behind Omier, so a lot will be on his shoulders.
Another returning starter for the Canes this upcoming season is Wooga Poplar. He saw a huge rise in production from his freshman to sophomore season going from 2PPG to nearly 9PPG. He’s also become way more efficient and is playing with more confidence as well. Poplar was key in the Canes run during March Madness having 16 points in the Elite 8 game. One player expected to make a big jump this upcoming season is guard Bensley Joseph. He will start at the SG spot this season and he should be a prime candidate to breakout. He’s proven that he can be a solid shooter as he shot 40% from three last season. Another guard returning for the Canes is former Top 80 recruit Jakai Robinson. He hasn’t played much in his career so far, but the minutes should be available this season.
The lone transfer Miami added this offseason was interconference transfer Matthew Cleveland from the Canes rival Florida State. Cleveland started all 30 games he played in for the Noles last season. He was a very efficient player during his time in Tallahassee and also proved that he can be a valuable contributor on the glass. He fits well into the system and also has knowledge of what the conference is like. Other returners from last seasons team are G/F Christian Watson and forward AJ Casey. Watson played sparingly last season, but is a former 4 star recruit out of DC that still has a ton of upside. AJ Casey is a player that has great length and size. He’s a former 4 star and Top 80 recruit out of Chicago.
Miami also added 3 freshman to the fold for this season. Kyshawn George out of Switzerland is an intriguing player. He’s a 6-8 athletic wing who has the offensive talented to score on all three levels. Michael Nwoko is a 4 star big man who should play right away as the backup big behind Omier. Nwoko should contribute immediately on both sides of the floor and he could be a key piece this season. The final freshman added was guard Paul Djobet out of Orlando who was a late add and could be a possible redshirt candidate and developmental piece for the future.
The Hurricanes have a starting 5 that will take them far if everyone can stay healthy. They have the talent to be Top 3 in the ACC this season and will return to the tournament likely earning a Top 4 seed this time. The depth is a bit concerning and Miami will need some of their bench players to step up and have breakout years. I have the faith that they will figure things out and be a legit team as Coach Larrañaga always seems to get the most out of his squads.