Miami unveiled its non-conference schedule on Thursday and it is a pretty standard slate of games that doesn’t feature many challenges. Since the Hurricanes are going to face all the NCAA tournament competition that they need in the ACC, there is really no reason to have an insane non-conference schedule that could give the Hurricanes a lot of unnecessary losses.
But Miami did schedule some of its non-conference games based on recruiting. Head coach Jim Larrañaga even acknowledged as much in the school’s official release.
“We have two games that we have scheduled for particular reasons with this group. First, we are going to be traveling to Reading, Pa., to play La Salle University out of Philadelphia, to bring Lonnie Walker IV, one of our outstanding incoming freshmen, back to his hometown,” Larrañaga said in the release. “We will also be playing in Washington, D.C., against George Washington University. That is the hometown of another outstanding [incoming] freshman, Chris Lykes.”
This isn’t anything new when it comes to recruiting — schools have been scheduling games in the hometowns of their players for years. What is unique is that Miami chose to include these quotes as one of the first things in an official press release.
Schools don’t usually do this sort of subtle recruiting in press releases but the Hurricanes focused on this part.
Lonnie Walker could be a one-and-done if he has a breakout freshman season. He also undoubtedly appreciates the chance to play a college game in his hometown in what could be his only college season. A home game during college isn’t the only reason elite recruits pick a school, but it is certainly an intelligent move by Miami to spotlight something like this in any way they can.