Dewan Huell said he felt “stress relief” Wednesday afternoon.
The University of Miami men’s basketball team probably just felt pure joy.
Huell gave the Hurricanes plenty to be excited about when Miami Norland’s versatile 6-10 power forward signed his letter of intent to play for UM at a ceremony at the high school.
“I had thought about putting this off until the spring, but to be honest, I wanted to get this done,” Huell said. “I called coach last night and told him, I’m ready to commit. I barely slept just from the excitement.”
Huell capped a huge day for UM basketball recruiting, which also saw the Hurricanes land Massachusetts 6-4 shooting guard Bruce Brown, the No. 30 overall prospect by ESPN.
Huell, ranked the No. 21 overall prospect nationally by ESPN, chose the Hurricanes after careful consideration between them, Florida State and South Carolina.
“His athleticism and his toughness and his ability to rebound will allow him to jump in and play right away,” Norland coach Lawton Williams III said. “I don’t know if he’s ready now to score on that level yet, but there are other things that will let him compete at that level next year.
“Each year on this team, his role change and he adjusted to it. A 6-10 kid that can jump like him is a skill set you don’t often see. He’s been pretty special.”
Huell averaged 19.2 points and 9.1 rebounds per game last season for Norland, and has played since his freshman season and been a part of three state championships for the Vikings, who have won a Miami-Dade County record four in a row. Norland is attempting to tie for the state-record for consecutive state titles if it can secure a fifth this season.
Huell, named The Miami Herald’s Class 8A-6A Player of the Year and a two-time All-Dade first team selection, is the first five-star recruit for the Hurricanes since DeQuan Jones in 2008.
“With all that stress off my back, I can focus on making my team better,” Huell said. “I’ve worked my butt off for this and the opportunity to play basketball so I’m happy to play here in [Miami]. From talking to the coaches, I feel in my heart that I belong.”
An agile big man who will join a talented UM recruiting class that includes 6-11 four-star center Rodney Miller from Oak Hill Academy, Huell impressed college scouts by starring at several prestigious events including the Under Armour Elite 24 this past August in Brooklyn.
The event included some of the nation’s best including Canadian Thon Maker, ESPN’s top prospects such as Josh Jackson (Michigan) and T.J. Leaf (California) and highly-rated juniors DeAndre Ayton (San Diego) and Troy Brown, Jr. (Las Vegas).
“UM was on him since his freshman year and they kept pressing and pressing and they got him,” Williams said. “It’s great. I can see him in practice and games and I’ll be there for him.”
Huell said he is looking forward to playing in arguably the top conference in college basketball.
“The ACC is the best conference there’s going to be a lot more talent on every team we play,” Huell said. “I’m definitely looking forward to that.”
Thursday: UM men vs. Mississippi State
What: Puerto Rico Tip-Off Tournament.
When/where: 5 p.m.; Coliseo Roberto Clemente, San Juan, Puerto Rico.
TV/radio: ESPN2; WHIM 1080, WVUM 90.5 FM.
Records: UM 2-0; Mississippi State 1-1.
Scouting report: The Canes are led by Sheldon McClellan (17 points per game) and Tonye Jekiri (eight rebounds per game). … The tournament is a homecoming for Puerto Rico native Angel Rodriguez. … Gavin Ware leads the Bulldogs, averaging 19.5 points and 8.5 rebounds. … UM forward Kamari Murphy is serving the third game of his three-game suspension for violating team rules and will return for Friday’s game against either Texas Tech or Utah.