Sunday, December 31, 2006

ACC Preview #7: Miami

Team: Miami
Record: 7-6 (1-0 ACC)

Jack McClinton (72.0% minutes, 1.23 PPWS, 11.0 A/B%)
Brian Asbury (72.5% minutes, 1.16 PPWS, 9.8 ORB%, 14.6 DRB%, 3.0 Stl%)
Jimmy Graham (44.8% minutes, 1.10 PPWS, 20.4 DRB%, 2.1 Blk%)
Anthony Harris (59.6% minutes, 0.86 PPWS, 23.8 A/B%)
Dwayne Collins (50.9% minutes, 1.23 PPWS, 14.1 ORB%, 16.7 DRB%, 3.1 Blk%, 2.7 Stl%)

Key Reserves:
Denis Clemente (54.8% minutes, 1.07 PPWS, 24.1 A/B%, 2.0 Stl%)
Anthony King* (37.7% minutes, 1.10 PPWS, 14.4 ORB%, 27.5 DRB%, 5.0 Blk%)
Raymond Hicks (39.3% minutes, 1.07 PPWS)
James Dews (32.3% minutes, 0.75 PPWS, 3.6 Stl%)
Fabio Nass (16.3% minutes, 0.90 PPWS, 12.1 ORB%, 18.8 DRB%)

Biggest Win:
90-82 over Georgia Tech in the ACC opener (a win increasingly looking like an anomaly)

Worst Loss:
Oh, so many to choose from, and yet there’s still a standout: 74-79, at home, to the State University of New York in Binghamton. Ugh.

Conference Schedule:
Play Twice: Florida State, Virginia, Wake Forest, Boston College, Virginia Tech
Play at Home: Duke, Georgia Tech, North Carolina St
Play on the Road: Clemson, North Carolina, Maryland

To say this will be a rebuilding year in Miami errs slightly in two ways – it assumes there was a point of success from which they’ve fallen, and that this team will get better next year. Neither of those are really true. The best that could be said about Miami in the Diaz and Hite years is that they were consistently competitive. The best that can be said about this year’s team is that they’re young. Still, given the talent level throughout the rest of the ACC, the players on this team just aren’t the same ACC-caliber guys. Miami will be at or near the ACC basement for a few years to come. Good thing that football team is doing so well . . .

Still, there are some bright spots. Brightest is 6’1” sophomore Jack McClinton. McClinton, a transfer from Siena, was apparently not in the team’s media guide before the season, but has been the best player from day 1. The team has correspondingly leaned on McClinton – he takes 28.5% of the shots, scores 32.6% of the points, and plays 72% of the minutes (which includes 40 minutes missed in the last game due to injury). McClinton has been living off of extremely good 3 point shooting – he’s hit 49.4% of his 81 attempts. He’s cooled off a lot lately, just 19 of his last 51 from the field, and is about to miss a couple games due to injury. McClinton’s value to Miami is driven entirely by his scoring, as he doesn’t do much else while he’s on the court. It will be interesting to see what his numbers look like at the end of a full season of ACC play (he was 4 for 14 from the field against Georgia Tech).

Another soph, 6’7” Brian Asbury, does most of the rest of Miami’s scoring, accounting for 24.5% of the team’s points. Asbury shoots a lot of 3s, and has made just 7 of his last 25, but he’s also hit 59% of his 2s on the season to make up for it. He chips in some on the glass, particularly on offense, but aside from rebounding, his value to Miami is also scoring driven.

There are several players that handle rebounding. 6’9” senior Anthony King was off to a blistering start before being sidelined by injury, turning in rebound performances of 15, 10, 15, 12, and 10 within the first 8 games. His 27.5 DRB% leads the conference (he just barely has the minutes to qualify), and he also put up 14.4 ORB% and a 5.0 Blk%. They’ve really missed King, and are just 2-4 in his absence. 6’8” soph Jimmy Graham has gotten most of the starts, but his minutes are all over, everywhere from 29 to 3. He does well on the defensive glass, clearing 20.4% of opponent misses. 6’8” freshman Dwayne Collins has replaced King in the starting lineup, and is doing a good job replacing King’s rebounding, going for 14.1 ORB% and 16.7 DRB%. Collins has also been scoring well – 19.2% of the team’s points on a .618 EFG%, which is the highest on the team. Finally, 6’11” junior Fabio Nass, a juco transfer, chips in well on the boards in his limited minutes.

Helping out McClinton in the backcourt is the point guard combination of 6’2” senior Anthony Harris and 6’0” sophomore Denis Clemente. Harris is the remaining part of a three-guard class with Diaz and Hite. His shot has really struggled this season – 43.3% from 2 and an abysmal 18.9% from 3. Still, he distributes well (23.8 A/B%) and his 1.66 A/TO ratio is respectable. Clemente has been outplaying Harris though, and has taken starts from him recently. His shooting is better, although not great, at .511 EFG%. His assist numbers are just a touch higher at 24.1%, and his A/TO ratio is up over 2. Clemente also chips in with more steals and rebounds. As the season progresses toward lost cause status, it’ll be interesting to see how the minutes are apportioned between these two.

The final bench players to see significant minutes are 6’3” freshman James Dews and 6’7” junior Raymond Hicks. Dews has a good steal rate (3.6) and a solid 2.0 A/TO, but his shot has been awful. Dews’ PPWS is 0.75, and he hits just 35.3% of his 2s and 25% of his 3s. He has the unhealthy disparity of taking 16.8% of shots and scoring only 10.6% of points. Hicks has a solid 56.5 2ptFG%, but doesn’t do much else while he’s on the court, despite playing 16 minutes a game.

It’s clear that Miami’s young, and the players who will come up big for them will change from game to game. Frank Haith hasn’t helped matters by constantly juggling his starting lineup – no fewer than 10 players have started a game so far. This year will be a challenge – their only remaining non-conference game is at UMASS, which isn’t an easy game, and then there’s the little matter of ACC conference play. This is looking like a 10 or 11 win team, with 3 or 4 conference victories, and a chance for the other teams to get at least a little break during conference play. The basketball season will provide no solace to an already frustrated Miami fan base.

No comments: