basketball Edit

Florida Man: Five-star Jahki Howard, Miami, 2022 guard RJ Luis

Jahki Howard
Jahki Howard (Rivals.com)

It’s been a busy week in both high school and college hoops. Tournament resumes are starting to take shape and the next generation of college stars are forming opinions on potential landing spots.

So this week in Florida Man, national recruiting analyst Rob Cassidy runs the full gamut, sharing opinions on where a touted underclassman may land, on an uncommitted guard who could be a steal and about an ACC team not getting the shine it deserves.

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RIVAL VIEWS: How many NCAA bids will the struggling ACC get?

2022 Rankings: Rivals150 | Team | Position

2023 Rankings: Rivals150

2024 Rankings: Top 40

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AN EARLY LEAN: Jahki Howard to Texas

Five-star wing Jahki Howard won’t sign a letter of intent until 2024, so predicting his landing spot now is a fool's errand. His offer list will evolve, schools that have offered could cool on him as a prospect, coaching changes will take place, the world could end … you get the point.

Still, as things stand, it’s easy to get the sense that Texas holds a slight edge at this - admittedly early - juncture. I’ve spoken with the Donda Academy star in person twice in the past three months. Each time, I let him direct the conversation, and each time he steered it toward the Longhorns and the fact that he grew up rooting for the Longhorns and Kevin Durant.

Ask which schools he wants to visit when it comes time? He only names Texas. Asked which program is most intriguing to him? He says the Longhorns. This certainly seems like more than a passing interest.

That said, there are juggernauts lying in the weeds. On Saturday, Howard said he’s been in preliminary contact with Kentucky and has spoken with Wildcat assistant Orlando Antigua, with whom he feels a connection. UK has yet to offer, as the program doesn’t typically pull the trigger this early, but the building blocks for such a thing seem to be being laid. That’s all to say there are plenty of potential obstacles for the Longhorns to overcome, even if they’ve positioned themselves well in the race’s first leg.

SHARE YOUR THOUGHTS WITH TEXAS FANS AT ORANGEBLOODS.COM

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RIP– Miami’s win streak 

Kameron McGusty
Kameron McGusty (AP Images)

Miami’s nine-game winning streak is officially dead and buried, but we should still raise a glass to the Hurricanes for emerging as an ACC team with a strong postseason pulse in a down year for the league. UM sits at 13-4 (5-1 in the ACC). It notched a win over No. 8 Duke last week and was rewarded with … an appearance in this week’s also-receiving-votes fine print. Tuesday night’s narrow 65-64 loss to Florida State in Tallahassee will likely preclude Miami from breaking into the rankings next week, but it’s still time to give Jim Larrañaga’s team its flowers.

Not only are the Hurricanes still a real threat to make their first NCAA Tournament since 2018, they play a fun brand of guard-focused basketball that makes games enjoyable.. UM guards Kameron McGusty and Isaiah Wong lead a loaded backcourt capable of getting up and down while scoring at a high clip, as the 76.3 points per game UM averages ranks 47th in the country and makes for an exponentially more aesthetically pleasing viewing experience than, say, another 57-53 slog of a win by No. 23 Provide or the ilk.

Is the loss to the Seminoles ideal? Not at all, but it certainly doesn’t expose UM as a fraud. It doesn’t make next Tuesday’s game against North Carolina any less intriguing.

SHARE YOUR THOUGHTS WITH MIAMI FANS AT CANESPORT.COM

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STILL AVAILABLE: RJ Luis 

I didn’t know a ton about RJ Luis before watching his Mt. Zion Prep team at the R1A Classic in Maryland over the weekend, but I walked away convinced that the class of 2022 postgrad prospect could help a high-major or two.

A 6-foot-4 guard with impressive length and the motor to match, Luis averaged 18.5 points and eight rebounds in two games over the weekend and showed a full range of scoring ability in the process. Luis is proficient in taking defenders off the dribble and has a reliable pull-up jumper that he uses to keep people honest. Right now, he lists offers from schools such as Austin Peay, Northeastern, Old Dominion and Quinnipiac, but the combo guard’s current offer list feels short for a prospect of his ability.

He’ll be a high-upside pickup for a mid-to-high major program looking to fill a spot late in the process. The risk is low and the potential reward seems high.