Jim Larranaga said injured five-star freshman Lonnie Walker had surgery last Friday and the coach expects him back for Miami’s opener in November.
The meniscus tear in Walker’s right knee came on the final possession of UM’s workout last Tuesday.
“He’s doing amazingly well this quickly after surgery,” Larranaga said Monday, meeting with local reporters at the Watsco Center. Before his injury, Larranaga, said, Walker was performing “sensational.”
Though injuries vary and each player’s recovery timetable is different, Larranaga cited Davon Reed‘s junior-year meniscus tear as a comparable. He was hurt Sept. 16 and was expected back “the end of January,” Larranaga said. With hard work and no setbacks, Reed played Dec. 6 of that 2014-15 season.
“We’ll have to wait and see how Lonnie progresses,” Larranaga said.
Walker continues to be at practice. “He’s handled it like a real professional. His willingness to do everything he’s been asked to do has been tremendous.”
Larranaga said he’s impressed with the team as a whole. “They’re in the gym constantly,” he said.
Forward Dewan Huell, Larranaga said, has “had days he’s been the leading scorer in practice,” and is showing up at “5:30 every morning to work on his shooting.”
Ebuka Izundu was “the dominant big man” in Monday’s practice, Larranaga said. He and Rodney Miller, Larranaga said, have been progressing well. He hopes those two, with Huell, will become a “three-headed monster.”
Larranaga expects Anthony Lawrence and Sam Waardenburg, who had a strong showing for New Zealand at the recent FIBA U-19 tournament, to provide shooting from the outside this season. They’re forwards who won’t be Kamari Murphy – which is to say they’ll be scoring threats, but won’t bring Murphy’s particular brand of athletic defending.
Based on their play in the NBA’s summer league, Murphy (Brooklyn Nets) and Reed (Phoenix Suns) will be in NBA camps this fall, Larranaga said.
As for recruiting, Larranaga said Miami should have openings with the 2018 class, since he considers Walker and sophomores Bruce Brown and Huell “NBA prospects.” Additionally, senior Ja’Quan Newton will graduate. UM currently has no commits, according to recruiting websites, but is in the mix for several of the top-rated players in the country.
Larranaga feels Brown can be an NBA All-Star if he becomes a knockdown 3-point shooter. He compares Brown, a 6-5 guard, to a budding version of superstar Russell Westbrook.