Tag: Ja’Quan Newton

Angel Rodriguez
Associated Press

Angel Rodriguez, Miami take home Puerto Rico Tipoff title

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Miami’s depth and talent were certainly on display this weekend as they won the Puerto Rico Tipoff, beating No. 22 Butler 85-75 in Sunday’s title game. And it was clear all weekend that their hopes of contending in the ACC this season will ultimately hinge on the play of senior point guard Angel Rodriguez.

Rodriguez produced more positive plays than negative all weekend in San Juan, performing well in his return to the island he calls home. And if Jim Larrañaga’s team is to make a run at their first ACC title since 2013, that will have to be the case as the Hurricanes play in even bigger games when conference play begins.

Rodriguez accounted for 17 points and three assists, but he also had four turnovers with three coming during a second-half stretch in which Butler mounted its rally. The first half for Miami was, when factoring in the caliber of the opponent, as good a half of basketball they’ve played all year. Even better than what they did in the first half of the win over Mississippi State on Thursday, because Butler is a team that will hear its name called Selection Sunday.

The Hurricanes’ length and athleticism caused problems for Butler at both ends of the floor, as the Bulldogs shot 40.7 percent from the field, and Miami was able to shoot 52.9 percent. Half of Miami’s 18 first half field goals were assisted, with Butler’s help side defenders paying the price for being too quick to help in an attempt to take away driving lanes.

Tonye Jekiri accounted for eight points and seven rebounds, finishing with 12 and 12, and backup point guard Ja’Quan Newton scored eight of his 17 and dished out three assists during the first stanza. Whatever Miami wanted to get done they were able to in the first half, leading by as much as 19 and taking a 13-point lead into the break.

Butler improved on both ends of the floor in the second half, and with Miami not playing with the same efficiency the Bulldogs were able to climb back into the game. Managing the game is where point guard play comes in, which is why Rodriguez is the most important piece for Miami as they look to compete with the likes of North Carolina, Duke and Virginia atop the ACC.

When he’s on Rodriguez can be one of the ACC’s top point guards, and by extension the Hurricanes are an ACC contender. But when he struggles, even with their depth the Hurricanes have the appearance of a team that’s a bit scattered on the court. Outside of a few minutes Sunday night Miami got “good Rodriguez” in Puerto Rico, and as a result they head back to the mainland with the Puerto Rico Tipoff trophy in tow.

And if this group is to have a chance of reaching the heights last seen by Shane Larkin and company, that will have to be the case during ACC play as well.

Miami guard could be back sooner than expected

Davon Reed, Jahil Carson
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On Monday, Miami guard Sheldon McClellan was named ACC Player of the Week after averaging 24.0 points, 6.5 rebounds, 2.5 assists per game in two wins for the Hurricanes.

The back court received more good news besides McClellan’s accolades, as sophomore guard Davon Reed is on track to rejoin the No. 15 team in the country sooner than expected, according to Christy Cabrera Chirinos of the Sun-Sentinel.

In early September, Reed was ruled out 4-6 months following surgery on his left knee. The team was intending on having Reed back in the line up until at least January. However, the Sun-Sentinel is reporting that Reed took part in warmups on Friday night against South Alabama.

“How quickly we can actually put him in a game. … I talked to him yesterday and said ‘You let me know when you’re ready. I’m ready to put you in tomorrow,'” Miami head coach Jim Larrañaga told Cabrera Chirinos. “He’s not ready for that yet. He’s only had maybe an hour and a half of practice, but what Davon provides this team differently is some experience at defending and rebounding the way I want our players to do it.”

Larrañaga is hoping to get Reed back on the floor at some point this month. From the looks of it, the recovery looks to be going well:

Reed, who averaged 6.6 points per game last season, will join a deep perimeter for the Hurricanes with McClellan, Angel Rodriguez, Manu Lecomte (all averaging double figures), Deandre Burnett, James Palmer and freshman Ja’Quan Newton all logging more than 14 minutes per game.

Miami will take on its second ranked opponent this season on Tuesday night, hosting No. 24 Illinois, part of the ACC/Big Ten Challenge.

New-look perimeter leads Miami in win over Eurocolegio Casvi (VIDEO)

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Miami ended the 2013-2014 season with a 17-16 (7-11 ACC). That’s not bad when you consider the Hurricanes lost six of their top seven scorers from the previous season in which they won the ACC regular season and tournament titles.

Head coach Jim Larranaga has retooled his roster to make a move up the conference standings this season. On Saturday, Miami won its first game on its educational and competitive tour of Spain with a 79-68 victory over Eurocolegio Casvi. Leading the way were two new additions for Miami this season, transfer Sheldon McClellan and freshman point guard Ja’Quan Newton. The guard tandem scored 17 apiece, shooting a combined 13 of 22 from the field.

Newton, a four-star point guard was rated as the No. 37 overall recruit in the Class of 2014, according to Rivals. The Philadelphia product committed to the Hurricanes last August, joining a pair of impact transfer guards on the Miami perimeter. The 6-foot-5 McClellan sat out last season after he transferred from Texas after two seasons. As as sophomore he averaged 13.5 points per game, second on the team. Alongside McClellan last season was fellow transfer Angel Rodriguez. The former Kansas State point guard enrolled at Miami to be closer to his family in the area. He averaged 11.4 points and 5.2 assists per game for the Wildcats as a sophomore in the 2012-2013 season.

Rodriguez did not play on Saturday due to an injury.

Miami will need that trio to play well, especially in a conference filled with talented guards such as Louisville’s Chris Jones and Terry Rozier, North Carolina’s Marcus Paige, Duke’s perimeter attack, Virginia’s Malcolm Brogdon and London Perrantes and Notre Dame’s Jerian Grant and Pat Connaughton.

The Hurricanes open the season on Nov. 17, renewing the rivalry with Florida.