Miami Nice

Hurricanes land highest-rated recruit in school history, continuing a hot streak. Plus, the CAA and Field of 68 will partner for media day, Manhattan adds a 26-year-old, and mid-major players to watch.

The CAA expanded to 14 schools this summer. It’s also expanding its college hoops media day approach by partnering with The Field of 68 for a live show on Oct. 19.

Jeff Goodman, Rob Dauster and John Fanta will be on hand for live interviews with the men’s and women’s head coaches, plus the preseason men’s and women’s POYs and the all-conference teams, all starting at 9 am ET.

When you get that kind of opportunity to work with an exciting league like the CAA, you take it. With the league’s depth and talent, it’ll make for an awesome lead-up to the season.

Let's get to the rest of Wednesday’s news.

1. It’s all coming up ‘Canes

Miami is on quite the heater.

The Hurricanes continued its run of recent 2024 commitments by landing guard Jalil Bethea on Wednesday. The 5-star prospect is a huge addition for Jim Larranaga and Miami; he’s the highest-rated recruit in school history.

Just as notable was Bethea choosing Miami over Kansas and Villanova. Does it signal a sea change in recruiting, given the schools among the Top 10 class rankings for 2024 currently have Rutgers, Miami, Missouri and Notre Dame? (I know, it’s early in the calendar. Still.)

Anyway, Bethea is perfect for Miami’s style of play.

Skilled scoring guards helped Miami make the Elite Eight two seasons ago and the Final Four last season. That’s the skillset Bethea will provide. The 6-4 guard from Archbishop Wood (Penn.) offers lethal scoring prowess that should make a seamless transition to the college game — he loves to pull up from downtown — which translated to an impressive 41% from deep in the EYBL.

Who does Bethea compare his game to? Three dudes who love to score it. “I would describe my game like a Devin Booker, Tyler Herro and Jordan Poole. I can make shots, dribble, play defense, and I get my teammates involved as well,” Bethea told

Bethea will join 4-stars Isaiah Johnson-Arigu and Austin Swartz in Miami next season when the likes of Nijel Pack, Norchad Omier and Wooga Poplar could all be seniors. That’s a helluva reason for Larranaga to stay on the sideline.

In more recruiting news:

Richard Pitino won’t have to look far for his next stud backcourt tandem once Jaelen House and Jamal Mashburn leave.

The Lobos secured the commitment of Kayde Dotson, a speedy 6-foot-2 guard from Texas. A strong performance at Peach Jam this summer put Dotson on the radars of many coaches across the country.

Next season, Dotson should pair 2023 recruit Tru Washington to form the next must-watch guard duo in Albuquerque.


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2. Manhattan adds some serious experience

DeAndre Williams isn’t the only old player in college basketball (maybe; more on that in The Fast Break). Manhattan grabbed a senior from the transfer portal on Wednesday.

No, your eyes aren’t deceiving you, Clayton is 26. The Maryland native is well-traveled in college hoops, starting at Coppin State for five seasons, then injury-riddled seasons at Hartford and Cal. He only appeared in 11 total games between Hartford and Cal. Still, given the timing and that he’s a multi-time transfer, Clayton will need a waiver to play this season.

It’s not surprising to see Clayton land at Manhattan reunite with former Hartford coach John Gallagher. The Almanac slotted the Jaspers last in the MAAC preseason rankings, and Clayton’s presence could help stabilize an otherwise shaky back-court situation.

3. Mid-major players you gotta see

In celebration of #TheCBBAlmanac dropping yesterday (you can buy it here), let’s highlight a portion of my work from the best college basketball preview out there.

I could write about these players for weeks, and found it difficult to limit these rankings to only the top 25. The game’s filled with incredible players across all the non-Power 6 conferences, but I suppose you have to be a little choosy at times.

The top two players (as shown in the image above) shouldn’t be a surprise to anyone. But here are some others you really should know.

Tristan Enaruna: Cleveland State (Almanac ranking: 10)

Enaruna is an example of a former high-major now posting big numbers in a smaller conference. The 6-8 forward was a fine defensive role-player at Kansas and Iowa State, but never played consistent minutes. Then he transferred to Cleveland State, and morphed into an imposing force on both ends, averaging 15.6 points and 5.5 boards per game and helping the Vikings to the Horizon league title game. Enaruna’s size and strength sets him apart against Horizon League players.

Ante Brzovic: Charleston (Almanac ranking: 15)

Brzovic was barely a rotation player to begin Charleston’s 2022-23 season. By the end of its magical 31-win season he was the team’s most dangerous offensive weapon, thanks to his quickness and sleek footwork. He averaged 11.6 points, 5.6 rebounds in only 19 minutes per contest. An increase in minutes should result in even more production this season.

Mark Freeman: Morehead State (Almanac ranking: 20)

Here’s proof good things come in small packages. Freeman is just 5-11, 165 pounds, yet his fearless scoring ability propelled him to OVC player of the year, and he led the Eagles to an NIT upset victory over Clemson. Morehead State is Freeman’s third college stop after spending two seasons at Jackson State and one at Illinois State. It’s safe to say, Freeman finally found his spot and will look to cap off an impressive career by accomplishing the one thing he hasn’t accomplished: an NCAA Tournament appearance.

Hoosier hype

There’s plenty of talent on Indiana’s roster after Mike Woodson and staff spent the offseason rebuilding a roster that also lost plenty of talent. The biggest question for the Hoosiers, according to Jeff Goodman and Greg Waddell is if all the size up front can play together, and whether the guards are good enough to push Indiana into the second week of the NCAA Tournament.

Links as you crank up the Earth, Wind and Fire today.

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