While University of Miami football coach Al Golden has his team training for the 2013 season, theres been plenty of news coming from the basketball offices.
The Canes got two big oral commitments this week from JaQuan Newton, a 6-2 point guard from the Philadelphia area, who is considered the 41st best high school player in the country by Rivals.com, and James Palmer, a 6-4 guard from Washington, D.C.
Newton chose UM over UCLA, Minnesota, Oregon, Syracuse and Texas A&M. He was rated the No. 1 player out of Pennsylvania and No. 8 point guard. He attacks the basket, and is a pick-and-roll specialist, which should fit in with Jim Larrañagas style. Newton and Palmer join Orlando guard Adonys Henriquez in the 2014 class. Texas transfer Sheldon McClellan will also be eligible in 2014.
Meanwhile, four former UM mens and womens players signed pro contracts with European teams. Julian Gamble signed with French club St. Vallier, and Durand Scott signed with Spanish club Obradoiro.
On the womens side, Morgan Stroman signed with Honka Akatemia Espoo of Finland and Shawnice Pepper Wilson joined Orion-Gdko Ibaizabal Galdakao of the Spanish league.
Im very excited about playing pro ball, Wilson said. Its a dream come true, and its what I have been working so hard for since middle school.
Said Stroman: I think the opportunity to play professionally is every girls dream. I grew up playing this game every day, and as you get older you learn to appreciate the opportunities that come out of it.
UM womens coach Katie Meier praised Stroman for recovering from Achilles surgery.
Thats a heck of a response to be first team All-ACC and sign a pro contract after an injury that can end your career, Meier said. To bounce back from that and become another one of our University of Miami pros is an awesome accomplishment.
Of Wilson, Meier said: Pepper was one of the most improved players in the nation during her time here and that is due to her tremendous work ethic. Her determination is inspirational and the community in Spain will love her.