Ranking The Frosh: No. 9 – Miami Hurricanes

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MIAMI (FL)

  • (PF-NR) Erik Swoope (6’6, 220) ☆☆
  • (C-NR) Raphael Akpejiori (6’9, 230) ☆☆
  • (SG-13) Rion Brown (6’5, 185) ☆☆☆☆

You have to hand it to head coach Frank Haith, the man can recruit, although officially this could be his weakest class since 2004, his first season at Miami (we’ll hold off on this until later).

This will be the sixth straight season coach Haith has brought at least one 4-star player to South Beach. In fact, 13 of his 21 commitments have been 4-star or higher. Makes you wonder why Miami doesn’t win more.

This season, Rion Brown, a shooting guard from Georgia is the latest addition.

The 6’5 brown is a typical high-flying athletic wing. He can get up in the air and finish strong at the rim. He’s got long arms and great length, so he can be an opposing back court’s nightmare.

He can hit a three, but no one would consider it his strength (I’d be surprised if he shoots over 30 percent his freshman year) and despite being a solid finisher, he still needs to work on his ball-handling skills.

Currently, junior Malcolm Grant is the Hurricanes’ starting shooting guard, so Brown should battle sophomore Garrius Adams for most minutes off the pine as the best two-guard off the bench.

After Brown, the Canes have a pair of big men coming in, PF Erik Swoope and center Raphael Akpejiori. Both big boys, like Dwayne Johnson’s Oscar win, can be considered “long-term” projects.

At a (short) 6’6, Erik Swoope is a bit undersized for a power forward in the ACC, but at 220 pounds, he has the girth to hip check with the best. Coming all the way from North Hollywood (the one in California, not the one right down the road from Miami), he averaged a solid 21.8 points per game and 8.9 rebounds.

Yet almost all those points came from being up close and personal with and around the basket. Inside he’s a beast, able to bounce around with anyone. He’ll even surprise some with his leaping ability. Coach Haith says that Swoope actually reminds him of former Texas Longhorn, P.J. Tucker.

For this upcoming season, look for Coach Haith to use the freshman primarily as rebounder and fouler off the bench, but never as a scorer. The fact is, if Scoope steps even a few feet from the basket, he’s got nothing to offer. In fact, watch this “highlight” video of him here. He takes two jumpers and the camera never pans to show you the shot going in. There’s a reason…they don’t go in.

The other big man is 6’9 Raphael Akpejiori. The Nigerian native hasn’t played much ball in the United States (he’s been hurt), so it’s tough to get a fair reading on this guy. I do know he’s a defensive stopper. He can rebound and block shots with the best of them.

While he is athletic and strong under the basket, it’s going to take time for him to develop his offensive game. He’s rumored to be able to shoot a 15-foot jumper, but my gut says, he’s going to get a reality check when facing the speed and length of ACC basketball for the first time.

Like I said before, compared to some of the classes Frank Haith has brought in, grabbing one 4-star player has to be a bit of disappointment. After seven years at Miami, Haith has delivered only one NCAA tournament appearance. The talent is there this year to make it two appearances, but I’m not sure if the 2010 class is going to do much to keep Frank Haith from losing his job soon.