Barry Jackson

Concern grows on Winslow; Encouraging UM recruiting news

Miami Heat forward Justise Winslow, attempts to pass the ball to center Hassan Whiteside, against Magic's Nikola Vucevic, in the first quarter of the Miami Heat vs Orlando Magic, NBA game at AmericanAirlines Arena in Miami on Tues., Dec. 20, 2016.
Miami Heat forward Justise Winslow, attempts to pass the ball to center Hassan Whiteside, against Magic's Nikola Vucevic, in the first quarter of the Miami Heat vs Orlando Magic, NBA game at AmericanAirlines Arena in Miami on Tues., Dec. 20, 2016. pportal@miamiherald.com

A six-pack of Heat and UM nuggets:

• Eighty five NBA players are averaging at least 30 minutes per game.

Among those, nobody is shooting worse than Heat forward Justise Winslow, who’s now at 35.2 percent from the field (75 for 204) after going 2 for 10 and 0 for 9 the past two games.

He’s at 20 percent on threes (7 for 35).

“It’s tough,” he said after Thursday’s Charlotte loss. “I try to rebound, defend. You have to find other ways to make an impact. Just one of those nights.”

As colleague Manny Navarro noted here, it’s the ninth time in Heat history that a player has attempted at least nine shots and not made any. (Manny also has some Goran Dragic news in there.)

I’ve spoken to two scouts who are very concerned about Winslow’s shooting.

“It’s a big liability,” one scout said. “He’s a rotation guy but that’s it.”

He finished with one point, five rebounds and five assists in 29 minutes on Thurs., Dec. 29, 2016.

In other words, Winslow simply must improve his shooting to be a longterm starter on a good team, the scout said.

Let’s be clear: It’s way too soon to make any definitive conclusions. Winslow is only 20, has a terrific work ethic and does several other things well. He’s incredibly mature and grounded and responsible for a 20-year-old. And remember lots of players have improved their shooting.

But you would like to see at least some improvement by the end of the year.

• Josh McRoberts’ foot injury eliminates any realistic chance that he would opt out of $6 million next season in the final year of his Heat contract, leaving Miami with about $40 million in projected cap space after Dion Waiters ($3.1 million) and Willie Reed ($1 million) likely opt out.

• The Canes’ bowl win helped them with two four-star prospects, according to Canesport.com.

Four-star Miramar safety Brian Edwards, rated the 21st best safety and 219th best player overall by Rivals, said UM’s win helps their chances. He will visit UM Jan. 20 and UF Jan. 27; he’s also considering California, Louisville and Oregon.

Meanwhile, four-star Maryland based running back Anthony McFarland told Canesport.com that UM’s bowl win also helps their chances. He’s down to UM and Maryland, and UM is very optimistic about its chance.

“I’m sure everyone knows how much I love Miami,” McFarland told Canesport.

• Here’s how College Football Focus rated UM players for the bowl win:

Top offensive grades:

RG Tyler Gauthier, 76.2

TE David Njoku, 75.4

WR Ahmmon Richards, 71.3

C Alex Gall, 70.9

WR Malcolm Lewis, 68.9

Says CFF: “TE David Njoku submitted another performance that should have NFL teams taking notice and true freshman WR Ahmmon Richards provided further evidence that he’s ready to lead the receiving group in 2017 and beyond. Richards displayed elite speed and agility weaving through traffic on a dig route to get the Hurricanes on the board midway through the second quarter. Njoku stiff-armed his way around the initial defender on a screen pass, raced 25 yards down the right sideline, and dove over another defender to reach the end zone to put Miami ahead by 21 in the third quarter.”

Top defensive grades:

FS Rayshawn Jenkins, 86.2

ED Joe Jackson, 83.2

SS Jaquan Johnson, 82.7

RCB Adrian Colbert, 79.9

WLB Zach McCloud, 79.5

Says CFF: “The Miami defense had an answer for everything the West Virginia coaching staff threw at them. The Hurricanes limited Mountaineers running backs to 2.4 yards per attempt and much of that success came from the work of edge rusher Joe Jackson (83.0 run-defense grade). FS Rayshawn Jenkins posted the highest overall grade by a safety from all 2016 bowl games played to date thanks to earning an 87.7 pass-coverage grade.”

• UM hoops finished its non-conference schedule at 10-2, with losses to Iowa State and Florida in a tournament in Orlando, and opens ACC play at home at 4:30 p.m. Saturday against 11-2 North Carolina State (Fox Sports Sun).

The freshman that has most impressed Jim Larranaga? Guard Bruce Brown.

“He can jump, handle the ball, play multiple positions, hard-nosed defender, excellent rebounder. Can bench 300,” Larranaga said.

Larranaga said freshman center Rodney Miller likely will get more playing time.

Larranaga’s overall assessment of his team?

"There were so many question marks leading into the season with so many new guys and how they would fit together, who would do what,” he said Friday. “In addition to the new guys even the veterans were going to take on new roles - Ja’Quan Newton going to full time point guard and Davon Reed going from a third or fourth option to a first or second option. Each time you change roles it takes some time to adjust to that. For a high school player it’s not only changing roles but it’s changing level of competition. And things are going to be more challenging. You have to learn college defense, learn how to attack different defenses yourself, learning a whole new system and even a culture of what the expectations are.

“So we’ve made a lot of strides, but we still have a long ways to go. We have young players who came in, I would say they are not physically prepared in terms of strength to compete against the biggest and strongest teams in our conference. But they’ve made progress in that area.”

• According to school sources, 790 The Ticket is trying to wrest UM radio rights from WQAM, whose contract expires in June (after baseball season ends, essentially). This decision could go either way.

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