Older, mature and talented are the three words mostly used by opposing coaches to describe the 2012-13 Miami Hurricanes basketball team. This team sort of reminds me of last season’s Atlantic Coast Conference Champions, the Florida State Seminoles. Coached by Leonard Hamilton their roster consisted of two graduate students and four seniors, one of whom was a 27 year old Air Force veteran who served in Iraq.
Although I would have to admit Miami is a very talented team, talent alone is not enough to succeed. Experience and maturity coupled with talent matter much more. The Canes are currently 15-3 (6-0 ACC), ranked number 14 by the Associated Press, have six seniors on their roster with five of those being major contributors; Durand Scott, Trey McKinney Jones, Kenny Kadji (24 years old), Reggie Johnson (23 years old) and Julian Gamble (23 years old). Also I think people fail to remember that their head coach, Jim Larranaga is no chopped liver!
The season did not get off to a great start for the Canes, with an exhibition loss to St. Leo and a road loss to Florida Gulf Coast University; critics and fans remain clueless in what to expect from this team. The Canes are currently on a seven game winning streak with two of those coming against number 1 ranked Duke and Florida State.
Barring unforeseen negative events, there should be no reason why Miami will not contend for both the ACC regular-season and tournament league titles, but do not tell that to Coach Larranaga, a master at taking one game at a time. Recently, according to Michelle Kaufman of the Miami Herald, Larranaga has warned his players of challenges to come. “When you beat number 1 Duke, that is a big thing and it captures the attention of players and coaches,” he said. “You don’t fly under the radar screen anymore. The excitement we felt before we played Duke is how excited our upcoming opponents will be to face us.” Miami has two road games this week against Virginia Tech on Wednesday night and number 19th ranked, North Carolina State on Saturday afternoon and these two teams will be looking to pull off upsets.
So to all the coaches and critics of the Miami Hurricanes that so casually use the terms mature and older to describe this group as the main reasons for their success so far this season, rest assure this team led by Coach Larranaga has a focus to go along with the maturity that will allow them to play at such an extra high level on such a big stage like the ACC this season.
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