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How Miami Hurricanes Hoops Helps Miami Hurricanes Football

Ari Russell

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The Miami Hurricanes get set to take on the Michigan State Spartans on Friday night in Tulsa as part of the Midwest region of the NCAA Tournament. For Miami basketball, this is the second straight NCAA appearance. Last year’s team lost to eventual national champion Villanova in the Sweet 16. The basketball program has been a serious contender in the ACC ever since they hired Jim Larranaga in 2011.

Canes basketball which similar to the football program had struggled to gain much footing in the ACC ever since joining the conference. When Larranaga in the 2011-12 season took the Canes to 9-7 in conference, it marked the first time the school ever had a winning record since joining the ACC. The following season, Miami would win the ACC regular season title and the ACC Tournament title. It would include a brutal victory over then #1 Duke 90-63, the first win over for Miami over a #1 team and the largest margin of victory every over a #1 team in the country.

After that Duke win, it was obvious that hiring of Coach L was the right move. The past two season, the Miami basketball program became the only program in school history to record sell out of all home games. Larranaga has brought a culture of excitement to the basketball program that hasn’t been seen since Leonard Hamilton roamed the sidelines in the 90s. That version of Hurricane basketball however didn’t have an on campus arena.

When the football program hired Mark Richt, it became clear that the athletic department was committed to winning. Richt in his first season went 9-4, which included a five game winning streak and their first bowl win in a decade. After a top 15 2017 recruiting class, it looks like the Miami football program is aiming to finally compete for real for an ACC title. The 2018 class thus far is ranked #1 in the country.  

The Miami hoops program is expected to have their strongest recruiting class ever in 2017. Right now it’s ranked 7th nationally. Including Lonnie Walker, Chris Lyke and Deng Gak. If you include Sam Waardenburg the New Zealander who is already on campus and is considered a four star talent, Miami hoops is solidifying itself as a national powerhouse.

Their opponent Michigan State on Friday is also a school with recent success in both football and basketball. Sometimes things synthesize in ways that helps build great sports programs. In Coral Gables, Coach L brought great optimism, enthusiasm and most importantly winning to Miami’s campus. Mark Richt seems to be moving in the right direction as well. Hurricane fans finally have something to cheer about. And it’s really thanks to having meaningful games in March, that will get us excited for the Fall on the gridiron. But what’s really the key is having great coaching. Coach L for hoops is a hall of fame coach, no question. Mark Richt could be one as well for football if the trajectory maintains.

Born in the Nation’s Capital, Washington D.C., Ari Russell watched the rise of the 1980’s Miami Hurricanes and knew that he had to be part of the “U” someday. After graduating from Coral Gables, Ari rose through the ranks of the former XM Satellite Radio and then Sirius/XM as college football executive producer. He later spent 2 seasons as the publisher of the website “Beyond U Sports” focusing on major college football/basketball. Ari brings a great perspective on everything Miami, including the Dolphins to F.F.I.

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Miami Hurricanes

Dolphins inactives Friday night mean opportunity for some

Florida Football Insiders

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Jim Brown-USA TODAY Sports

The Dolphins will play the Panthers at Bank of America Stadium Friday night, except that, several of the prominent ones will not suit up.

NFL teams don’t have to make public an injured or “inactive” lists, but Miami did essentially list the following players as out:

It’s not surprising that rookie RB Kalen Ballage is being held out while in concussion protocol. However, with Frank Gore also not suiting up, that means that veteran reserve Senorise Perry will get extended playing time. And, that will likely mean in the first half.

Also, the Dolphins had already ruled DeVante Parker out with an injured hand, but now also Kenny Stills won’t play. This will mean more action for newcombers Danny Amendola and Albert Wilson. It also means that reserves Jakeem Grant and Leonte Carroo should see more playing time earlier in the game.

And, likewise defensive lineman Jordan Phillips not playing opens up some time for others like Davon Godchaux, etc.

If head coach Adam Gase and his staff wanted to get a good look at their depth, this is a great opportunity.

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Miami Hurricanes

Ray Lewis-from Kathleen High School to the Canes to the NFL to Canton

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Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Saturday night Ray Lewis, a former star at Kathleen High School in Lakeland, who later became a fear middle linebacker for the Miami Hurricanes, and then one of the great middle linebackers of all time for the Baltimore Ravens, was immortalized at the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

Lewis’ took his place alongside the greats of the game along with the likes of Randy Moss, Brian Urlacher, Jerry Kramer and Brian Dawkins in the 2018 class on Saturday night.

His nearly 35 minute induction time was more of rousing emotional sermon of thanks than an actual speech.

After achieving All-American High School honors playing for Kathleen in the early 1990’s, Lewis chose to head south to Coral Gables to play his college football. He was a college All American his final year (1995) with the Hurricanes and recorded the second most tackles in Miami football history. This included a game against West Virginia where he recorded 15 of them.

Lewis was the 26th pick overall in the first round by the Ravens in 1996, his career from then on, was nothing short as spectacular.

He played in 17 season all for the Ravens where he retired in 2012. He’s a 13 time Pro Bowler and seven time first team All-Pro, and three times second team All-Pro. He’s a two time Defensive Player of the Year, won two Super Bowls, retiring after winning the second one in 2013. And, he was a Super Bowl MVP in 2001.

Lewis finished his career with an incredible 2,061 tackles (think about that one), 41.5 sacks, 67 pass deflections, 31 INTs, 17 forced fumbles and 3 TDs.

Lewis’ election and induction is not without controversy, as he was charged along with others in double homicide on a cold night Superbowl week in Atlanta in 2000. Lewis was later acquitted on all charges and resumed his career. Amazingly, a year later he was holding the Lomabardi Trophy with his teammates in Tampa.

SI.com’s Robert Klemko addressed the story this weekend, the controversy, and his encounter with Lewis questioning him about the situation and his feelings on it back in that 2013 Superbowl season.

Obviously, that feature illustrates the NFL’s and the Ravens’ desire to have Lewis’ legal troubles be left in past. Yet, it will always be part of his story.

Back to the field, when talking about Ray Lewis, there’s not doubt that he’s certainly one of the best defensive players ever to play in the NFL. You can argue he’s the most dominant MLB in the last 25 years.

Lewis joins, Ted Hendricks, Michael Irvin, Jim Kelly, Cortez Kennedy, Jim Otto and Warren Sapp as former Miami players to be elected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

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Miami Hurricanes

Former Canes star RB Tyrone Moss passed away Thursday

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Jeremy Brevard-USA TODAY Sports

Sad news to wake up to on a Friday morning, as former Miami Hurricanes and South Florida high school legend Tyrone Moss has died of heart failure at 33 years of age.

Moss, who still holds several Broward County high school rushing records, played for the Canes from 2003-06.

The Ft. Lauderdale Sun-Sentinel had the latest on the shocking news overnight:

Moss rushed for over 7,000 yards at Pompano Beach Ely High School and led them to the 2002 state championship.

Playing for Larry Coker’s Hurricanes, Moss ran for 511 yards as a true freshman in Miami’s final year of Big East play in 2003.

Moving to the ACC, Moss’ best season was his junior year, 2005, where he ran for 701 yards and 12 touchdowns in Miami’s first eight games. This included back to back 100 yard rushing games to open the season against Florida State and Clemson. He later ran for 195 yards and three touchdowns in a win over North Carolina that year.

Moss suffered a knee injury the follow week in Miami’s upset at unbeaten Virginia Tech and did not play the remainder of the 2005 season.

Moss ran for just 285 yards and three TD’s in eight games his final season, 2006 and went undrafted by the NFL in 2007.

Our colleague, Chris Fischer of NBC6 in Miami had more on Moss’ death:

The University reacted to the news of Moss’ passing later on Friday morning:

And several of his teammates began to react Friday to the news of Moss’ sudden passing:

And one of the largest Canes, ever, also sent condolences:

His high school coach at Pompano Beach Ely, Steve Davis told the Sun-Sentinel,

“It’s a total shock. He was, by far, the best player I’ve ever coached at the high school level. You had defenses and everybody that we played, all 11 guys knew he was going to get the ball. He’d still have 250 yards…. He was just incredible. He was a great football player, but he was a greater human.”

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