For University of Miami men’s basketball fans who are eager to see their team play at Duke on Saturday night but are still interested in what next season might look like, here’s some good news: Demetrius Henry, a 6-9, 215-pound power forward, said this week that he has eliminated Texas and Rutgers from the list of schools he is considering, leaving just UM, South Carolina and South Florida.
“I will make my decision around April 15,” Henry said. “I’m not stressing [over it].”
Henry grew up in South Florida, graduating from Fort Lauderdale Northeast High.
He spent this past season at a prep school in Brandon, averaging 17 points, 12 rebounds and three blocks for Faith Baptist Christian.
He calls himself a “stretch four,” similar to Hurricanes senior Kenny Kadji, the type of player who can shoot three-pointers and also work in the post.
In fact, if he signs with UM, there is a good chance that Henry could replace Kadji in the starting lineup, with holdover Tonye Jekiri at center.
Henry played with Jekiri in the AAU circuit for Team Breakdown.
Henry said his top three priorities in picking a college, in order, are: playing time, relationship with the coach and going to a program that will help him develop into an NBA player.
Kenny Gillion, who coached Henry at Faith Baptist, said he will benefit from playing against the elite competition he has faced over the past year.
“He can take guys off the dribble, and he can shoot three-pointers,” Gillion said. “He’s skilled.”
The Canes already have signed one prep school recruit for 2013 — DeAndre Burnett, formerly of Carol City High. The 6-1 guard is averaging 28 points per game for Massanutten Military Academy in Woodstock, Va.
His coach, Chad Myers, said Burnett is shooting 39 percent from three-point range and 84 percent from the free-throw line while sharing the backcourt with a Kansas recruit.
“DeAndre is the hardest worker we have,” said Myers, whose team is 29-3 and one of eight schools playing next week for a national prep championship. “He is working on making his teammates better, but he has exceeded our expectations.”
Last year was the first time in school history that the Bobcats men’s and women’s basketball teams had made the NAIA playoffs.
Now they’ve done it again, with each cracking the 32-team fields for the women’s tourney in Sioux City, Iowa, and the men’s tourney in Point Lookout, Mo.
The women’s team (27-3) is ranked 15th nationally after blitzing through the Sun Conference with a 14-0 record. This will be the women’s third appearance in the tournament, and they will open play Wednesday against Saint Xavier (Ill.), which is 24-6.
The men’s team (22-8) is ranked 21st nationally. This will be the men’s fourth appearance in the tournament, and they will open Thursday against Mount Mercy (Iowa), which is 27-5.
Both tournaments will conclude March 12.
The Panthers’ new sand volleyball program will debut Friday in Los Angeles against Grand Canyon. While in California, FIU will also play Pepperdine and Long Beach State.
The Panthers will then travel to Hawaii for a pair of matches before opening their inaugural home schedule against Webber International on March 23. The match starts at 9 a.m.