Reinforcements are desperately needed in Coral Gables. With three returning players on the roster as of now, it’s on Jim Larranaga and Miami to launch an impressive spurt in the NCAA transfer portal.
UM’s better runs have come thanks to the portal, where they snatched Shane Larkin from DePaul, Angel Rodriguez from Kansas State and Kenny Kadji from Florida. In a year where over 1,200 players and counting are looking for a new home, it’s UM’s opportunity to score on the market.
So far, they’ve been active through zoom calls and brief meetings, but have failed to pick up any additions to the team. They’ve shown a tendency in searching for forwards, considering two-thirds of their 2021 class comprises guards – Bensley Joseph, Nisine Poplar.
Here are four players the ‘Canes have monitored.
Toumani Camara, 6-8 forward, Georgia: With South Florida ties attached to his belt, the former Chaminade-Madonna Prep star has a legitimate shot at coming to Miami. Toumani Camara averaged 12.8 points and 7.7 rebounds in 28.4 minutes per game last season at Georgia, demonstrating his skill-set at the three or four spot. A source told 305 Sports that the sophomore spoke to UM Friday morning and will have a follow-up call soon. A chance to nab Camara expands the game for UM at the wing, alongside Anthony Walker and Deng Gak. His athleticism also earns him respect in the paint, earning over one steal and block per contest.
Jayden Gardner, 6-7 forward, East Carolina: Jayden Gardner has been one of the more attractive names in the portal, thanks to his two years of eligibility and potential to benefit any team. The junior forward averaged 18.3 points and 8.3 rebounds last season at ECU, earning AAC first-team honors. He’s had two meetings with UM as of now, with mutual interest playing dividends. When speaking to 305 Sports, Gardner said those calls were ‘phenomenal’, mentioning the graphics displayed and Larranaga’s approach. He’s seen as a player that can be utilized when it mattered most, likely alongside Isaiah Wong if he returns to Miami. Adding Gardner attracts points in the paint, which for a good period of last season, was hard to get for the Hurricanes.
Nathanael Jack, 6-5 guard, Florida State: Although he’s from Mississauga, Ontario, Canada, Nathanael Jack has connections in South Florida, after playing high school basketball at Calusa Prep in Miami for two years. Jack attended Eastern Florida before committing to Florida State in 2018. His playtime was limited, averaging 3.6 points in 7.3 minutes per game, but he showed an ability to stroke from beyond the arc (37.0% 3-PT), which a necessity for UM. Miami’s staff has indirectly spoken about Jack and what he could offer, but nothing’s set in stone. He’s also heard from LSU, USF and San Diego State. Jack’s only downside is that he’ll come in as a grad transfer.
Pauly Paulicap, 6-8 forward, DePaul: Grad transfer Pauly Paulicap entered the transfer portal earlier this week, and has since been in contact with Miami, West Virginia and Rutgers, amongst others, according to 247Sports. Paulicap’s third in rebounds per game (6.1) amongst transfers, an impressive element to his game. He’s a built player with a noticeable 55.4 percent shooting to his clip, although he tends to not be a go-to scorer. UM could look at Paulicap as an alternative if they can’t hit on Gardner or Camara, although that’s unlikely. Keeping options open are great, and Miami is doing just that.