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Miami Loading Up In The Backourt

Tuesday, August 13, 2013 12:53pm

Recently after the Shelden McLellan elected to transfer from Texas to Miami, we wrote about how successful the Hurricanes were It’s also a topic we’ve discussed on a recent

I’ll admit, part of my explanation for why the Canes can get transfer rested upon the assumption that Coral Gables was hard place to get recruits the first time around, straight out of high school.

Maybe Jim Larranaga is going to prove me wrong. Last week he added a pair of 2014 prospects in and .

Palmer, who had offers from schools such as Cincinnati, VCU and Rutgers, is a nice pickup, but Newton is the big catch.
He’s <No. 49 in 247Sports.com’s composite rankings,> with a four-star rating. The list of suitors that Miami bested is also an impressive one: Arizona, Georgetown, Syracuse and Minnesota had all offered. UCLA was also in pursuit.

Here’s what Brick Oettinger had to say about Newton when he saw him in action at the Pangos Camp last summer:

“He arrived on the second day but performed quite well every time we watched him, including in the Top 60 Cream of the Crop Game, where he tied for leading scorer with 14 points. The combo guard is very fast downcourt with the ball, attacking the basket and finishing consistently. His jump shot, however, requires honing, and so does his shot selection. Still, he has two more years of high school to smooth out the rough edges.”

A year later, some of those rough edges clearly had been in smoothed in Brick’s estimation, as he had Newton ranked <No. 20 overall> in the Class of 2014 heading into the July evaluation period. Brick has Newton as his No. 7 point guard in the class and thinks he is a “clear-cut, big-time prospect.”

It helped Miami’s cause that is has been after Newton for a long time. In fact, Canes assistant Chris Caputo – Newton’s primary recruiter – had offered the point guard a scholarship two years ago, when Caputo and Larranaga were still at George Mason.

Two other keys: Newton is reportedly close with and Reed likes the way Larranaga used point guard Shane Larkin last season.

“I like that they use the pick-and-roll so much,” Newton told the Philadelphia (Pa.) Inquirer. “I can really create off that. They sent me a link to a story that said they were second in the country, to Illinois, in using the pick-and-roll."

Here are some highlights of Newton pouring in 31 points in the NBPA Top 100 Camp title game. That’s pretty impressive, to say the least.

Now for the one minor quibble. Larranaga’s showing he can bring in top notch prep talent … at the guard position. Newton and Palmer now join another backcourt player, shooting guard Adonys Henriquez in the 2014 class. Reed was a nice catch in 2013, but even though he’s 6-6, he’s listed on the Miami roster as a guard. Out of the 2013 class, only 6-8 junior college transfer James Kelly is a true frontcourt player. That’s six backcourt players out of seven. And that doesn’t even account for McClellan, a shooting guard, and Kansas State transfer, Angel Rodriguez, a point guard.

As of now, the 2014-15 Miami roster would have eight guards and two big men – Kelly and 7-0 center Tonye Jekiri. Larranaga’s proven he can win big at Miami, he’s proven he can get both top-notch transfers and top-notch prep guards. Now, can he land quality prep big men?