They say good things come in threes and nobody knows this better than the University of Miami basketball team.
While starting guards Guillermo Diaz, Rob Hite, and Anthony Harris steal all of the headlines with their flashy, exciting play and high scoring, the hardworking trio of forwards—Anthony King, Gary Hamilton, and Will Frisby—are equally responsible for Miami's success.
"I think our big guys have been as big a part of our perimeter success as our guards," coach Frank Haith said. "They have been able to accept their role and max out in their role. We did not want to put so much on our big guys early where they weren't successful and we have gradually increased their roles as the year has gone on. They are starting to be more productive now offensively, but that has been a process. Their role is rebounding and they have done a great job of blocking out and getting to the boards and getting us second shots."
Miami has three of the top 10 rebounders in the Atlantic Coast Conference, leading the way for a 41.9 rebounds per game average and a league leading 15.4 offensive rebounds per game.
"I think it is just attitude," King said. "You cannot always out muscle someone and push someone. You have to have that attitude of: if it is going off, I am going to go get it."
All three forwards bring their own strengths to the team that make for a winning and balanced team. King always seems to pull down the loose ball and on the offensive end, convert the rebound into two points. King also is an intimidator defensively, averaging 3.6 blocks per game. Frisby brings the most offensive skills into the post, 9.9 points per game. He is the most athletic of the big three who runs the floor well. Hamilton is a gritty defender, agitating whoever he guards and serves as an emotional sparkplug off the bench.
In the last nine game the Hurricanes have averaged a plus 10 rebounding margin. The Hurricanes demonstrated in victory Saturday against Florida State just how important winning the battle on the boards is. In that game the ‘Canes out-rebounded FSU by 10 and scored 22 second chance points to the Seminoles five.
"I think it is just attitude," King said. "You cannot always out muscle someone and push someone. You have to have that attitude of: if it is going off, I am going to go get it. We are just going to play our principles: moving our feet, putting your hands up, boxing out and playing hard."
The big three will face their toughest competition of the season thus far in Duke's Sheldon Williams. Williams, a junior, leads the ACC in rebounds, 11.5 per game, scores 14.8 points per game, and blocks four per game.
"We are going to have our hands full with Sheldon Williams," Haith said. "We have not played a post guy all year that is as physical a player as he is. You have to play him before the ball gets there. If you play him when the ball is there, you are dead. We have got to do our work early and make sure he does not get great post position."
"Sheldon Williams is a big strong guy," King said. He is a physical big man. He plays hard, blocks a lot of shots and has a nice post move. It is going to be a challenge."
The Hurricanes will try to give Duke its first defeat of the season Wednesday night in front of a sellout crowd. While Miami's guards will likely score most of the points, the key to the game will be neutralizing Williams and intimidating the slashing Duke guards.
"Everyone is excited that Duke is going to be here and that we actually have a chance of winning a big game," Frisby said. "Anything can happen now. We just have a chance to show everybody what we can do Wednesday night.
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