Six-foot-6 wing Anthony Mack, who redshirted last season at Wyoming, will join the Hurricanes this summer.
Mack, a high school teammate of redshirt freshman Deng Gak at Blair Academy in Blairstown, N.J., was a three-star recruit. He reportedly sat out last year because of concussion issues.
He told Evan Daniels of 247Sports that he believes he will get a waiver to play this fall.
Mack, listed at 218 pounds, joins a backcourt that includes sophomore-to-be Chris Lykes, redshirt sophomore Miles Wilson and junior D.J. Vasiljevic.
UM is hopeful they will land Florida Gulf Coast grad transfer Zach Johnson, a 6-2, 195-pound combo guard who played with Dewan Huell at Miami Norland High. He is also interested in Creighton and Louisville.
I have decided that the University of Miami is the best fit for me to continue my education and basketball career!
It will no doubt help answer any questions recruits have about potential NCAA trouble for the Hurricanes, who are trying to fill out their roster for 2018-19 and beyond.
This weekend, UM is hosting two transfer guards. High-scoring combo guard Zach Johnson, who is leaving Florida Gulf Coast, will make an unofficial visit Friday, a program source confirmed. Wyoming transfer Anthony Mack will see the campus this weekend. The Hurricanes are a finalist for Oklahoma transfer Kameron McGusty, who would sit out this season.
Johnson, who would be immediately eligible, is a Miami native who made the All-Atlantic Sun team last year (16.1 points per game, including 37 in the A-Sun title game, and 3.0 assists). Like his former Miami Norland High teammate Dewan Huell, he declared for the NBA Draft, but did not hire an agent.
Johnson led Norland to a state championship as a high school senior in 2013-14. He was named Class 6A Final Four MVP as a junior and senior. At FGCU, he made the A-Sun All-Freshman team in 2015-16, when he averaged 11.1 points and 3.3 assists per game. He posted 11.9 as a sophomore.
Last season, he set career highs in 3-point shooting (39.2), free-throw shooting (78.1), steals (2.0), rebounds (3.3) and minutes (32.4). He shot 46.9 percent from the field, taking 12.4 shots per game.
“He can shoot the 3-ball,” teammate Brandon Goodwin told the Naples Daily News last November. “He can drive it. One of the things that’s special about him is you don’t have to call a play for him. You get him a ball-screen and he’ll make a play for you. Whether it’s driving down and dunking or driving in the lane with a floater or driving and finding an open teammate. I think that’s something that’s hard to teach. He’s super athletic. When he gets around the rim, he can finish. And he can go in spurts of scoring four or five baskets in a row, especially at times when we need it. What makes him special is he can do it all.”
Johnson (6-foot-2, 195 pounds) would be a valuable addition to a backcourt that returns three scholarship players (Chris Lykes, DJ Vasiljevic and now-eligible transfer Miles Wilson). He could also reunite with Huell, should Huell decide to return to school. According to Jon Rothstein, Johnson will also visit Creighton, Louisville and Arizona.
Mack (6-6, 218), a three-star recruit in the 2017 class, was a high school teammate of UM freshman forward Deng Gak at Blair Academy in Blairstown, N.J. A Las Vegas native, he redshirted last year.
McGusty (6-5, 191), who visited Miami last weekend, narrowed his choices to UM, Virginia Tech and Houston. The Katy, Texas native averaged 8.0 points in 18.5 minutes last year as a sophomore. He would sit this season and have two years of eligibility remaining.
If Miami landed all three players and Huell returned, next year’s active backcourt would have ballhandling guards Lykes (sophomore) and Johnson (senior), shooter-scorer Wilson (sophomore) and shooter Vasiljevic (junior). The forward unit would include big wing Anthony Lawrence Jr. (senior), stretch fours Sam Waardenburg (sophomore) and Gak (redshirt freshman), and big men Huell (junior), Rodney Miller (junior) and Ebuka Izundu (senior).
Including McGusty (an eligible junior in 2019-20) and Mack (sophomore that season), Miami would have 12 scholarship players, and could add an eligible transfer or prep player to round out the roster.
Ever wanted to see how Jim Larranaga and his staff conduct themselves on the recruiting trail? Here’s your chance.
As part of a documentary series with five-star 2018 point guard Immanuel Quickley, videomaker Capitol Hoops brings us inside the Hurricanes’ recent in-home visit. The footage, shot by Quickley’s mother, shows Larranaga and his three assistant coaches — Chris Caputo, Jamal Brunt and Adam Fisher — touting the virtues of their program and how Quickley would fit.
Quickley (6-3, 180), who plays at Bel Air, Maryland’s John Carroll School, is the top-rated point guard and 12th overall in the 2018 class by ESPN. He is considering Kansas, Kentucky and Maryland in addition to UM.
“They tell me at Miami that if I feel it’s a really good fit I should go there,” he told Rivals this week. “I like the fact that they brought all of their coaches to the in-home visit so that was a good thing.”
A lot of stuff in here, and the whole thing is worth a watch if you’re even mildly interested in Miami basketball or hoops recruiting.
See below for the video. A few notes:
* Larranaga mentions the players ahead of Quickley in Miami’s backcourt: Bruce Brown, Lonnie Walker and Ja’Quan Newton. He reiterates the coaches’ shared belief Brown “will be two-and-done, like Shane Larkin was. … He almost went this year.” He notes Walker is expected to be a lottery pick in 2018, and Newton will graduate.
* Brunt, who said he has watched Quickley from a young age, said he’s a perfect fit for Miami’s ball-screen offense. “The most important thing to us is your decision-making. Your basketball IQ, how you make other guys better,” Larranaga said. “You’re really, really good, but you elevate the guys around you. That’s really important to us.”
* Brunt, commenting on the rise of Miami’s program: “I feel like we’re at a place where we recruit guys like you.”
* Part of the pitch was a “lifetime scholarship” to UM. Larranaga also noted that NBA stars who live in Miami, like Kyrie Irving, are welcome to use UM’s facilities and often do in the offseason. He told Quickley how LeBron James brought the Cleveland Cavaliers to campus for a week last summer.
* Larranaga on Brown’s physique: “He’s like iron.”
* Larranaga on Brown’s potential: “I don’t know if he’s going to end up being Russell Westbrook,” Larranga said, raising his hand to indicate a high level. “That’s like, beyond really good, very, very special. But he’s moving in that direction.”
* Quickley plays the drums and is pretty good at it.
The Hurricanes added a big piece for 2018-19 on Thursday, securing a commitment from transfer guard Miles Wilson, a source told The Post.
Wilson, a 6-foot-5, 190-pound combo guard from Baltimore, will join the Hurricanes this summer. He will sit out this season and be a redshirt sophomore in 2018-19.
He decided to leave Mount St. Mary’s after putting up 11.8 points and 3.9 rebounds as a freshman, including a 22-point NCAA Tournament outing against Villanova.
Hurricanes coach Jim Larranaga was looking for an underclassman guard to transfer in, sit out and play a leading role in the backcourt next season. The reason for that: both sophomore Bruce Brown and incoming freshman Lonnie Walker are projected NBA lottery picks for 2018, and senior Ja’Quan Newton graduates. The loss of those players could deprive Miami of much of its backcourt scoring.
Wilson reportedly considered Auburn, and had offers from Virginia, Virginia Tech, Gonzaga, Ohio State and West Virginia.
In 2018-19 — especially if Brown and Walker join Newton in departing Coral Gables — Wilson could be the go-to scoring option for UM. Dynamic point guard Chris Lykes, who joins the program this summer, and sweet-shooting Australian combo guard D.J. Vasiljevic would likely be in line for more playing time, and Larranaga no doubt plans to keep recruiting at a high level.
After recruiting classes ranked 14th and 10th by ESPN the last two years, UM is in the game for several of the top-rated prospects in the country. UM does not have a commitment for 2018.
Miami does have one more open scholarship for 2017. Larranaga said last month he wants to add a stretch four-type player, a forward with size, on-court awareness and shooting touch.
Update: Wilson posted the following on Twitter later Thursday.
Arguably the nation’s top-rated high school point guard announced Miami as one of his four favorite schools.
Immanuel Quickley said Maryland, Kansas and Kentucky the others.
He told Scout.com he plans to visit all four and make a decision before his senior year begins at Bel Air, Maryland’s John Carroll School.
Jim Larranaga is looking for high-level guards to anchor his program in 2018 and beyond, especially since senior point Ja’Quan Newton graduates and both sophomore Bruce Brown and incoming freshman Lonnie Walker could potentially depart for the NBA. The Hurricanes are hoping to attract a young transfer and, after signing ESPN’s No. 9 (2017) and No. 14 (2016) recruiting classes, continue to land outstanding freshmen.
Quickley, 6-foot-3 and 180 pounds, told Scout his family “really connected with Miami when they came and visited. All four coaches, in a good and positive way. Coach Larranaga is a great guy and I respect him on and off the floor. He’s great guy.”
ESPN rates Quickley, who plays for the Baltimore Elite travel program, No. 1 among point guards and No. 12 among all 2018 prospects. Scout has him No. 2 at his position and No. 10 overall. 247Sports considers him No. 5 and No. 17.
ESPN’s scouting report, which was updated last November, showered praise on him for his physical attributes and smarts on the court, both of which help him dominate high school competition. ESPN wrote that his offensive game could use some polish and he’s “a good, not great, athlete,” but said he has “terrific size and length for the position, a good instinct and ability to make plays for himself and others.”
The Hurricanes have two open scholarships and the college basketball transfer market is busy. Jim Larranaga hasn’t found the right players, but he doesn’t plan to settle.
“There’s a difference between getting a transfer and getting the guy you want,” he said Wednesday morning, speaking with The Post at the ACC spring meetings in Amelia Island. “For the 11 [scholarship] guys we have right now who are scheduled to play next year, assuming health and everything, the way to help the team is to find someone who adds value someplace.”
Someplace would be the backcourt, where Miami is looking for a guard, perhaps a college freshman or sophomore, who will have to sit out because of NCAA transfer rules. Said guard, UM hopes, would have the skill to be a major piece in 2018-19, because UM anticipates two high-caliber underclassmen could turn pro after this year.
“We’d like to have a guard who is a guard-in-waiting,” Larranaga said. “If we lose Bruce [Brown] and Lonnie Walker — we’re going to lose [senior] Ja’Quan Newton — that could be conceivably three very, very high-level players. We need a guy who has the size and experience and scoring ability to fill the shoes of at least one of those guys. Whether you’re a point or a two or a three, you’ve got to have somebody who can come in and you say, ‘Look, Bruce is gone to the NBA. You’re taking that spot.'”
Three mid-major transfers with high-major talent have been reportedly linked to Miami in the last two weeks. Mount Saint Mary’s guard Miles Wilson reportedly trimmed Kentucky from his list last week and now says he’s considering Auburn and Miami (which he will visit June 1). Wilson (6-foot-5, 190 pounds) is notable for scoring 22 points against Villanova in an NCAA Tournament game last year. He averaged 11.8 points and 3.9 rebounds as a freshman. He would have three years to play after sitting out. As a high-schooler in Baltimore, he was recruited by UM assistant Jamal Brunt (who was then at Richmond).
Other possibilities include UNC Wilmington transfer wing C.J. Bryce (6-5, 185), who seems likely to follow ex-Seahawks coach Kevin Keatts to North Carolina State. Bryce, a sophomore, was a first-team All-CAA selection last year, when he averaged 17.4 points, 5.4 rebounds and 3.0 assists. Sacred Heart transfer Quincy McKnight (6-3, 180; 18.9 points, 4.9 rebounds, 1.6 steals) is reportedly interested in Miami, Penn State and several others. He was a first-team All-NEC pick last year as a sophomore. Neither Bryce (who has visited N.C. State and South Carolina) nor McKnight, as of this writing, have set up visits to Miami.
The Hurricanes are also looking for a graduate transfer forward, to add depth to a frontcourt that loses Kamari Murphy. Like most teams, UM would love to have a skilled big man. Larranaga knows those are rare.
“The fifth-year guy, we’d like to be someone who can help stretch the defense,” he said. “Someone who can shoot threes and handle the ball. If you look at the game today, there are very few guys that can score with their back to the basket. So we’re not likely to find that. There are that few of them.”
Could the stretch four be 6-foot-9 Sam Waardenburg, who arrived midyear and redshirted?
“Let me do this,” Larranaga said, crossing both sets of fingers. “Hopefully it is him. But he’s 18 years old. He’s a youngster, and he weighed 190 pounds when he arrived. Are we going to count on a freshman to do that, who’s never played against this caliber of athlete in his life? The players he’ll face in the ACC are a lot different than the ones he played against in his hometown of Auckland, New Zealand.”