CORAL GABLES — Other than Jim Larranaga‘s revealing that he is ‘Coach-3,’ Miami also talked about on-court matters Monday.
First order of business: Larranaga said five-star freshman Lonnie Walker, who tore his meniscus in July, should be “close to 100 percent” by the time UM faces Gardner-Webb to open the year Nov. 10. Walker has been limited in practices.
“He can do everything,” Larranaga said. “He’s just not in great shape yet.” Recent team-issued photos of Walker showed him looking bulked-up from his high school days.
* “I think we have three terrific perimeter players” in Ja’Quan Newton, Bruce Brown and D.J. Vasiljevic, Larranaga said. “They all bring something a little bit different to the table.” Brown: “we all can score the ball.” Note that he was speaking about a backcourt that included Walker.
* “We want to win it all,” Newton said. “We want to win the ACC, we want to win the national championship, and I think we have the talent to do that.”
* “The frontcourt guys have worked extremely hard,” he said of Dewan Huell, Ebuka Izundu and Rodney Miller. Huell improved his bench 75 pounds (275 now) and Miller “was even more than that,” Larranaga said. He added UM will miss Davon Reed and Kamari Murphy‘s defense.
* Brown said he was “lenient” on defense last year because of Reed’s ability to guard multiple spots. He knows he needs to be Miami’s stopper.
* Among freshmen, Larranaga expects to play Walker, 5-6 point guard Chris Lykes and 6-9 stretch four Sam Waardenburg “an awful lot.” He didn’t mention Deng Gak, a skinny 6-10.
* “We’ve still got to work on our defense,” Newton said. “But overall in practice, the energy has been there. … It’s going to be a special season.”
* Brown on the freshmen: “Chris’ll add a lot of hype. He’s nice, quick, short, but I think that’s an advantage for him. He can split ball screens. Lonnie’s very athletic. He can finish above the rim and shoot the ball. Deng is really long. He can block shots. Sam has really impressed me … can really shoot the ball and does little things to help us.”