Dews Has No Fear

When UM coach Frank Haith brought in this year's recruiting class, each player in the group had a different role that Haith expected him to fill. James Dews, a 6-foot-3, 190-pound freshman shooting guard, has something that many players don't as a freshman. He lacks fear.

Lawrence Gilbert is the long wiry guy who will play on the wing that will present match up problems for most teams because he's an athletic player in a 6-foot-8 body. Gilbert probably won't get a lot of playing time this year because he needs his body to develop more, but that is his role, at least for this year. But when he develops, Haith has compared him to Josh Howard.

Fabio Nass's job is to provide key minutes off the bench as a post player, especially when Haith wants to go big. He can also provide match up problems on the outside because he can shoot the ball.

Dwayne Collins was expected to be the player that makes the biggest impact as a freshman because of his freakish athletic ability and his incredibly long arms, great jumping ability and ability to get the crowd going because he makes some big time plays.

But the player that seems more ready than anyone in the class is James Dews. When Haith saw Dews, he knew he had to get him. Why is that?

Because the 6-foot-3, 190-pound freshman shooting guard has something that many players don't as a freshman. He lacks fear. He has the "it" factor. He doesn't suffer from what shooting guard Brian Asbury suffered through last year. There is no thinking involved. There is no hesitation in Dews' game.

It's the same thing that schools like Xavier, Dayton, Tennessee, Seton Hall, West Virginia, Penn State and Michigan saw in Dews who is from Ohio. With their proximity to where Dews is from, it made Haith getting a commitment from Dews even more of a coup.

He showed that immediately against Northwood in the first half. As soon as he stepped on the floor, he got a pass and there wasn't a thought.

Three-point jumper away. Swish. Next time he touched the ball, same result and the time after that, same result.

Three triples in less than five minutes and the future of the University of Miami's men's basketball team was staring you in the face.

"I wasn't really nervous. I just went out there and played like I normally play. I think I had a pretty good game in my debut," Dews said of the exhibition game against Northwood.

Dews knows what his role is on this team. It's to provide scoring punch off the bench because as Haith has said in the past, Dews is a scorer and he has no fear.

"I am just trying to go out there and play my hardest, do what coach asks me to do, whatever coach tells me to do, I'll do it," Dews said. "I feel like I can put up big numbers scoring wise, that's what I am going to do."

That will be huge for Miami because last year, the crux of the scoring came from the starting five, namely Robert Hite and Guillermo Diaz. Now, with the main scorer not close to being determined on this team, Dews is likely to get plenty of shots, especially from beyond the arc, something that is his specialty.

Although Dews' shot resembles a bullet when he lets it go because it truly has little arc, when it goes down as it did Monday, it's like butter. Swish.

At the same time, Dews is overcoming a preseason injury to his foot and is working his way back into form.

"It's (foot) still really sore, but I am just fighting through it. I am just going to suck it up and play," Dews said. "It hurts most on cuts, but other than that, it's way better than what it was before."

Right now though, Dews is just concentrating on the task at hand, and that's getting off to a good start, tipping off the with the season opener against FIU Saturday night at the BankUnited Center.

"I am really excited. Now that everybody got the jitters out, I am ready to go and come out with a victory," Dews said.

Rudy Rodriguez-Chomat can be reached at

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