Barry Jackson

UM welcomes, waits on word from high-end recruits; Whiteside questionable; Heat notes

Miami Heat center Hassan Whiteside, goes to the basket against Mavericks' forwards Harrison Bames (left) and Dirk Nowitzki, in the first quarter of the Miami Heat vs Dallas Mavericks, NBA game at AmericanAirlines Arena in Miami on Thurs., Jan. 19, 2017.
Miami Heat center Hassan Whiteside, goes to the basket against Mavericks' forwards Harrison Bames (left) and Dirk Nowitzki, in the first quarter of the Miami Heat vs Dallas Mavericks, NBA game at AmericanAirlines Arena in Miami on Thurs., Jan. 19, 2017. pportal@miamiherald.com

A six-pack of UM football and Heat notes on a Thursday:

• Four-star Louisiana-based receiver DeVonta Smith headlines the group of expected UM visitors this weekend, the final recruiting weekend before National Signing Day.

Many analysts believe Smith will end up with Alabama or LSU. But Miami can make its case this weekend.

Rivals rates Smith the No. 6 receiver and No. 42 prospect in the 2017 class.

Even if Miami doesn’t land Smith, it remains in good shape to add between one and three among St. Thomas Aquinas four-star receiver Mike Harley (canceled his UCLA trip amid speculation that UM is his heavy front-runner), three-star Winter Park receiver Jordan Pouncey and Illinois-based four-star receiver Jeff Thomas (who enjoyed his visit last weekend).

Harley’s father told Canesport that he’s unaware of any other schools in the mix for his son besides UM.

• Also scheduled to visit this weekend among uncommitted players: Alabama three-star offensive tackle Toryque Bateman.

He told Canesport that "Louisville is 1, Miami is 1A" on his list. "They're literally even," Bateman said.

• Four-star running back Anthony McFarland is expected to pick UM or Maryland on Friday, a decision pushed back from Wednesday after Maryland coaches implored him to reconsider.

His father told Canesport’s Matt Shodell that McFarland told Maryland coaches on Tuesday that he was picking UM, but Terrapins coaches convinced him to give it more thought.

McFarland, rated by Rivals as the No. 3 all-purpose back and No. 142 overall prospect, plans to tweet his decision, per Canesport.

• The Heat lists Hassan Whiteside (ankle) as questionable for Friday’s game at Chicago. Miami, 14th in the East, trails No. 8 Chicago by 6.5 games for the final playoff spot, with several other teams obviously in between.

• The Heat still qualifies for a roster exception to carry a 16th player, though an NBA spokesman said today it must re-apply for one when Okaro White’s 10-day contract ends in the day. Eventually, though, Miami likely will need to release a player to keep White, who has cemented his job security with good work in the past week.

Speculation here, but Derrick Williams would seem to be the most likely to go eventually to create room for White, (barring trades), because Williams almost assuredly isn’t in the team’s plans.

White told me his transition has been easier because there are so many similarities in teaching and other areas between the Heat’s D-League affiliate in South Dakota (where he was playing) and the Heat.

• How unusual was it for the Heat to rally from an 18-point deficit to win at Brooklyn on Wednesday?

From Elias Sports Bureau: “Miami had lost each of its last 166 road games when trailing by 15 or more points in the fourth quarter with its last such victory coming on March 2, 2001 at Detroit. NBA teams were 1-205 in games when trailing by at least 15 points in the fourth quarter on the road this season entering Wednesday’s action with the only victory coming by Memphis at Golden State on January 6.”

For my post with lots of nuggets on the Florida Panthers and UM basketball, please click here... It updates where each team stands if you haven’t been paying close attention.

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