Takeaways From Miami Hurricanes Hoops Media Day, Open Practice

Takeaways From Miami Hurricanes Hoops Media Day, Open Practice

Photo: Isaiah Wong; Credit: Luke Chaney

After its first Elite Eight run in program history, Miami’s men’s basketball team is looking to advance even further in what will be head coach Jim Larranaga’s 12th season at UM.

The Hurricanes hosted their media day on Thursday, and opened the first hour of practice for the media. Here are three takeaways from the day.

1. Wooga Poplar is in line for a starting spot

Four of Miami’s five starting spots figured to be locked up already. The backcourt will be manned by Isaiah Wong , and Nijel Pak . The Jordan Miller , is listed as a guard. Arkansas State transfer Norchad Omie will likely be UM’s frontcourt.

There’s one vacancy in the lineup. After watching Miami’s practice rotations, it seems that sophomore WoogaPoplar could fill that spot.

Poplar is an explosive athlete who showed promising flashes in his freshman season, averaging 2.3 points and 1.4 rebounds in 8.6 minutes per game with a high of 12 points in 17 minutes against Florida Atlantic. He told All Hurricanes that he’s worked on improving his defense over the course of this past offseason.

2. Transfers to make an immediate impact

The Hurricanes made a pair of splashes this season, as Pack and Omier, who were all-conference players at their previous schools committed to playing at Miami for the 2022 campaign.

Pack will be starting at point guard this season, after last year’s mostly shooting guard role at Kansas State. The 6-foot scorer lit the Big 12 Conference on fire with the Wildcats last season, averaging 17.4 points per game and shooting an efficient 45.5 percent from the field and 43.6 percent from deep.

Omier is listed at 6’7 and plays taller than his stature might suggest. He averaged 12.4 rebounds per game last year with the Red Wolves, which ranked fourth in the country. The forward also scored 17.9 points per contest, establishing himself as one of the premier inside scorers in all of college basketball.

3. Christian Watson has the potential to be Miami’s “best defender”

Larranaga has loved what he has seen so far from freshman guard Christian Watson, whose mix of shot-making along with defense and athleticism made him a worthy prospect that was also offered by the likes of Florida, LSU and Illinois.

While his scoring is inconsistent, Larranaga says that Watson has tremendous upside on defense.

“He could be our best defender,” Larranaga told reporters. He needs to work on that, but at [6-7], he’s fast enough to guard point guards and tall enough and strong enough for inside defense. “

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