Basketball Team Has 1st Practice

CORAL GABLES, Fla - The University of Miami Basketball team held their first practice of the 2005-06 season tonight. The tempo of practice was good as they went through a lot of drills including working on the transition game.

Frank Haith enters his second year as the head coach of the Hurricanes. Last season the team finished with a 16-13 record and a 7-9 record in the ACC.

Expectations are higher this season as Haith reminds his team they "haven't done anything yet". His staff also reminds his team to be weary of assuming they will be good because the majority of the team is back.

"I think we understand we still have work to do," Haith said. "We are still in the process of building our program. We want to have a program where people expect us to do well."

The team began practice tonight at 5:30 p.m. and held a two-hour practice. Although the practice was not open to the public, the media was able to view the last hour of practice.

"All in all, it was a good first day," Haith said. "On the first day of practices you are going to have excitement and there was good energy. We got fatigued, which is normal on the first day of practice. I was pleased with their effort and enthusiasm."

DRILLS

The team worked on its perimeter defense, transistion defense, secondary break, halfcourt offense/defense, as well as various individual drills such as guards coming off screens and posts working on moves down low.

STARTERS

Miami returns four starters to the team this year:

PG Anthony Harris, Junior, 12.4 ppg
SG Guillermo Diaz, Junior, 18.6 ppg
SG Robert Hite, Senior, 17.3 ppg
C Anthony King, Junior, 6.3 ppg/8.0 rpg

Today during practice, sophomore Raymond Hicks ran with the top lineup, but that doesn't mean his spot is secure.

"I told our guys not to try to figure out our rotation yet," Haith said. "I think we will try a lot of different guys in that spot and will make that decision later on down the road."

Hicks looked good today and showed good, quick leaping ability on both ends of the court. He's still developing his offensive game, but his effort was good in today's first practice.

Also on the seven-man green team was freshmen Denis Clemente and Jimmy Graham. When Clemente and Anthony Harris were on the court at the same time, Clemente handled the point guard duties. Both players are expected to handle that role this season.

When the team ran 5-on-5 against each other they lined up as follows:
Green       White
PG-Harris   PG-McClinton
SG-Diaz     SG-Asbury
SG-Hite     SG-Wilkins
PF-Hicks    PF-Thomas
 C-King      C-Hamilton
Others
PG-Clemente 
PF-Graham
DIAZ READY FOR 2005-06 SEASON

Diaz returns has the team's leading scorer and is expected to carry this team.

"Our first day of practice was exciting," Diaz said. "Guys did a good job today of working hard to be a better team."

The season can't come soon enough for Diaz.

"We have a lot to show to people. We have a lot of talent on our team that people don't know about. We are going to show a lot this year."

He wants to continue to work on the little things of his game this year like defense, his shot, and motivating his teammates.

One thing you will notice that is different about Diaz this year is a large tattoo on his right leg. It is a picture of his grandmother that he got yesterday.

FIVE NEWCOMERS

Five players participated in their first day of practice as Hurricanes.

Freshmen Brian Asbury, Denis Clemente, Jimmy Graham, and Adrian Thomas all showed glimpses of what they can bring to the table.

"The freshmen looked really good," Haith said. "I was real pleased with them--I'm sure they probably think I wasn't, but I was real pleased with their effort. The speed of the game is so different than in high school so they had to get adjusted to that and what we wanted them to do. They have some habits we want them to take out of their game, but I was real pleased with their effort."

Clemente did a good job with the ball today in practice. He dictated the tempo and pace with the ball in his hands, which is what you like to see out of a young point guard. It was clear to see he still had a scorer's mentality as he wasn't afraid to shoot the ball. Knocking down the open jumper on a consistent basis is something he is continuing to work on.

"He is playing the most difficult position to play when coming from high school," Haith said. "He did a nice job today of passing the ball. He has great court vision."

Also new to the team is Jack McClinton, a 6-foot-1 sophomore transfer from Siena, who has to sit out this year due to NCAA transfer rules.

"He can really use this year to really grow as a basketball player," Haith said.

ASBURY HAS SOLID PRACTICE

Freshman guard/forward Brian Asbury had a solid practice today. He did a nice job of shooting the ball and showed good initiative on the offensive end of the court.

"There are a lot more things to learn now compared to in high school," Asbury said. "The speed and tempo is a lot different than in high school. In the ACC, things are going to be past and that is what coach tells us all of the time."

Asbury is currently listed at 6-foot-6 and 210 pounds. At the end of his senior year he weighed 175 pounds. Although he has put on more weight he doesn't feel a step slower. He has a long, lengthy frame with a smooth game.

"They just put me on a plan over the summer," Asbury said. "It feels good where I'm at. I think it will help me."

HAITH'S CLOSING STATEMENT

"It terms of our players, I know what we got," Haith said. "What we will do in terms of starting or coming off the bench, I think that takes time to figure out with your rotation."

Christopher Stock is a Senior Writer & Assistant Editor with CanesTime and can be contacted by emailing him at stock@canestime.com

Canes Time Top Stories