#125 Miami RedHawks: 2010-11 Basketball Preview
Overall Rank: #125
Conference Rank: #4 Mid-American Conference
2009-10: 14-18, 9-7
2009-10 postseason: none
Coach: Charlie Coles (238-186 at Miami, 330-270 overall)
If teams in the Mid-American Conference have learned anything over the last 14 years, it is to never count out a Charlie Coles coached team. Despite the loss of four key contributors, Miami has a very athletic and talented group returning. Add in a solid recruiting class and the RedHawks will, once again, be among the best teams in the conference.
Key Losses: C Adam Fletcher, G Rodney Haddix, G Kenny Hayes, G Kramer Soderberg
The biggest need for Miami is at point guard and the RedHawks hope junior college transfer Chris McHenry can help fill the shoes of Kenny Hayes. McHenry, who spent one season at Howard before heading to Garden City Community College, is more than just a point guard though; he is also a prolific shooter who can score in bunches when he gets hot. Incoming freshman Quinten Rollins will add even more depth at the point and wing Josh Sewell will add some more depth to the backcourt. The frontcourt adds 6-8 forward Jon Harris and redshirt freshman center Drew McGhee. McGhee’s year in the program could prove very valuable to a team that needs to find depth in the paint.
McHenry will not simply be handed the starting point guard job. Allen Roberts had a very promising freshman campaign in which he started the last 15 games of the season. While he is not much of a scorer at this point in his career, the 6-3 sophomore is a great athlete who can handle the ball. Once his outside shot starts falling, which should be sooner rather than later, Roberts will develop into a serious scoring threat who can also help out at the point when necessary. Orlando Williams is another player who showed plenty of potential as a freshman. He did not take too many shots last season, but when he did they were good shots. This time around Williams will be battling for the starting shooting guard spot and will be asked to do a lot more. And if he can grow as a player and keep knocking down his shots, Williams will be among the best scorers on the team.
The frontcourt was good last year and should be even better with a year of experience under their belt. The loss of part-time starter Adam Fletcher will hurt and the newcomers will have to provide all the depth, but Miami has two quality starters in Nick Winbush and Julian Mavunga. Winbush, 6-7 senior, was the team’s most efficient and prolific three-point shooter a year ago and his ability to stretch out the defense makes the RedHawks very difficult to defend. What makes Winbush even more dangerous is his ability to block shots. That is a skill that Mavunga possesses as well and Miami should be the best shot blocking team in the conference yet again. Mavunaga also has the ability to stretch out the defense with his outside shooting, but he spends more time in the paint than Winbush. After averaging 10.0 points and 6.3 rebounds as a sophomore last season, Mavunaga could be in for a huge season.
Who to Watch:
The man who holds this team together is Antonio Ballard. He is the man between the guards and the forwards who does a little bit of everything. Ballard did not put up great numbers last year due to a preseason foot injury that slowed his progress a little bit, but he is the glue guy and a very productive player when healthy. He is healthy now, so expect Ballard to continue to be a leader on the floor and put up some pretty good numbers all across the stat sheet.
If Miami can get good play out of their point guards, they should be able to beat anybody in the MAC because of their defense. That is how the RedHawks traditionally win games and this defense should be good enough to win quite a few games on their own. If the backcourt can find a scorer or two, the offense will be good enough to help the defense out and that should be enough to get Miami into the postseason.
Projected Post-season Tournament: CBI/CIT
Projected Starting Five:
Chris McHenry, Junior, Guard, DNP last season
Allen Roberts, Sophomore, Guard, 3.5 ppg
Antonio Ballard, Senior, Guard, 7.6 ppg
Nick Winbush, Senior, Forward, 9.7 ppg
Julian Mavunga, Junior, Forward, 10.0 ppg
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