A six pack of UM, Dolphins and Heat on a Monday:
▪ UM is making a strong push for two second-generation Canes: University School power forward Vernon Carey Jr. (rated the No. 3 player in the 2019 class) and Fort Lauderdale St. Thomas Aquinas defensive back Al Blades Jr. (rated by ESPN the 59th-best player in next year’s class).
Carey Jr. has offers from all the major powers and he would be Jim Larrañaga’s biggest recruiting coup — out of a number of impressive ones — if he can persuade Carey to go to the same school his parents did.
Carey hasn’t tipped his hand in an online diary for USA Today but did say that playing in an up-tempo offense appeals to him.
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Meanwhile, with Al Blades Jr., uncles Brian and Bennie Blades “are pushing him to the U to continue the legacy of his dad,” Bennie Blades told me at UM’s recent Hall of Fame bowling tournament.
Al Blades Jr.’s father, Al, died in a car accident in 2003.
“We tell him to take his visits,” Bennie Blades said. “Every times he comes back, he says he still likes Miami. More than 90 percent chance he will end up at UM. He can be a cornerback or safety.”
• Ja’Quan Newton had nearly as many turnovers (97) as assists (99) this season - obviously not good for a starting point guard.
Jim Larranaga on his team: "I think our young players have really come along of late. Our upperclassmen have been very, very good throughout the season. If we can have great balance between the offense and defense where our young guys are really defending at the level our upperclassmen are, that gives us a chance at the defensive end. If our young players can give some some offensive punch, that really helps us offensively. Because the upperclassmen - Davon Reed, Ja'Quan Newton and Kamari Murphy - have been playing well at both ends of the floor."
Bovada.com lists UM as 250 to 1 odds to win the national title. Among No. 8 seeds, here are the odds:
Miami Florida 250/1
• According to the NFL players association, the Dolphins have $19.2 million in cap space. And remember, they realistically need at least $10 million to sign a draft class, have money for a practice squad and keep some money entering the season in case there’s an injury.
With the Dolphins still needing to add cheap labor at defensive tackle, guard and outside linebacker, the Dolphins need to be careful with their remaining space and are in no position to give extravagant contracts (nor do they intend to).
• The Dolphins have been re-assessing the market and options the past couple days, feeling no rush to fill every remaining need immediately. By the way, Jermon Bushrod remains a consideration at guard. The Dolphins have been discussing this.
• Hassan Whiteside’s 26 point, 21 rebound game in Sunday’s loss to Indiana marked his fifth 20/20 of the season, setting a Heat franchise single season record. That leads the league. Rony Seikaly owns the franchise record with 12 games of 20 and 20.
What’s more, Whiteside has produced at least 25 points and 20 rebounds in four games this season. Per Elias, no other player has done that more than twice. Prior to Whiteside, the last player with at least four 25-point/20-rebound games in a season was Dwight Howard in 2011-12 (four).
• Don’t underestimate what Wayne Ellington has done for this team. He’s 28 for 57 on threes in the past seven games, barely under 50 percent.
"It's a great luxury for us on several different levels," Erik Spoelstra said. "One, he's ignitable, so he can go on a run, where it's two, three, four in a row. That can change the momentum of a game just like that.
"Secondly, he's always in somebody's game plan now, so that does create space unto itself. But, also, thirdly, it adds to our menu. So we're not just pick-and-roll dominant. We're not just putting the ball the in our attackers' hands and telling them to create a play. We can run other actions with Wayne and he generates good looks for your basketball team."
Who have been the Heat’s best shooters in the clutch and how have Dion Waiters’ clutch numbers compared to Dwyane Wade’s? And what Heat players have held opposing players to their lowest shooting percentages. Click here for my story on that today.