What we learned in Miami basketball exhibition opening win

Apr 1, 2023; Houston, TX, USA; Mandatory Credit: Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports
Apr 1, 2023; Houston, TX, USA; Mandatory Credit: Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports /

The Miami basketball team had a chance to play its first game together this season in a 111-54 exhibition win over The College of New Jersey. Jim Larranaga was able to utilize multiple lineups. Florida State transfer Matthew Cleveland and true freshman Kyshawn George started for Miami in their first game with the Hurricanes.

Miami was without starting guard Wooga Poplar who sat out with an injury. Poplar is expected to return for the first game of the regular season when the Miami basketball team hosts the New Jersey Institute of Technology. George showed off his athleticism and provides Miami with length on the perimeter at 6’8.

Norchad Omier dominated the Division III Lions inside with 23 points on 10-13 shooting and 12 rebounds. Six Miami players finished in double figures. Freshman Michael Nwoko showed he will be an excellent backup to Omier with 16 points on 6-9 from the floor, and seven rebounds, including three offensive.

Miami overmatched TCNJ as they were expected to do. Nijel Pack scored 13 points on 5-9 from the floor and 3-5 three-point shots with three rebounds, seven assists and one steal. Cleveland had 11 points on 5-8 shooting, nine rebounds, two assists and one block. Cleveland was efficient in replacing Jordan Miller at power forward.

Christian Watson was the other Miami player in double figures with 10 points, three rebounds and two steals. Watson is expected to play a much bigger role in 2023-24 as a sophomore. A.J. Casey had nine points on 4-7 shooting, three rebounds, three assists, a block and a steal. Casey is expected to back up Cleveland.

Bensley Joseph struggled offensively, making just one of his five shots from the floor and finishing with five points. Larranaga knows Joseph is a reliable defensive player and playmaker. Joseph finished with eight assists, three turnovers and one rebound. Freshman Paul Djobet and redshirt sophomore Jakai Robinson also played on Sunday.

Djobet was 2-6 from the floor, and scored seven points, with three rebounds, one assist, one block and two steals. Djobet is another player who gives Larranaga length on the perimeter at 6’7. Robinson had five points, three rebounds and two turnovers in 19 minutes. Miami has a lot of competition on the perimeter.

Miami basketball 2023-24 projected bench

Miami could have a deeper and more talented bench in 2023-24 than they did during their Final Four run last season. Harlond Beverly transferred to Wichita State and Anthony Walker is now at Indiana. Beverly and Walker provided Miami with far more experience off the bench than the Hurricanes have entering this season.

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Far more size in 2023-24

Joseph and Pack who are starters are the only players in the Miami rotation under 6-5. Casey and Nwoko provide Miami with size on the interior behind Omier. Miami is athletic and long on the perimeter. Larranaga has many interchangeable players on the wing who will provide matchup problems for the opposition.