With Shane Larkin now officially going pro, the Miami Hurricanes will enter next season missing six of their top players. All of them — sans Larkin — have lost their eligibility and will be going pro in something other than being fifth or even sixth-year seniors.
This is obviously a huge blow to whatever successes Miami planned on having next season. Even with losing all the seniors, Jim Larranaga was hoping that at least Larkin would come back to help weather the storm of graduation. Considering that over 170 minutes per game is now going to be absent, it is pretty safe to say that Miami is going to have to look elsewhere for production.
Oddly enough, it starts with a player currently on their roster.
While recruiting might be where most experts focus on for Hurricanes’ replenishment, Tonye Jekiri can help the program out in huge ways if he were to improve. In fact, when Jekiri came out of high school, many had him rated as one of the best centers in the nation.
In his freshman year, however, Jekiri had a tough time getting on the floor. That could be because of the man-beasts ahead of him or possibly because he was not ready. Regardless, Miami will need him to step up in production next season.
It should go without saying that Miami will likely have a down season next year. None of the recruits they have coming in next season are projected (by recruiting websites) to have an immediate impact. It may take a few years before the Hurricanes come even close to replicating the success they had this past year.
That is not to say it is not possible. Miami has already shown that Larranaga could help a team full of afterthoughts to levels of success previously unheard of for the program. Larranaga’s previous team featured a group of guys no one wanted or thought wasn’t good enough to compete on the big-boy stage — we were obviously wrong.
Nothing says he can’t do it again or that guys on his roster won’t step up to help the program.
Joe is a Senior Writer for Rant Sports. Follow him on Twitter @JosephNardone