The Miami Hurricanes improved a team that was an Elite 8 team this past March, thanks to adding two of the best transfers available in Nijel Pack and Norchad Omier. What does the NBA upside look like for this roster, as well as what does each player bring to the table for this NCAA season? Let’s take a dive into arguably the best team the Hurricanes have ever fielded in basketball.
If this is your first time reading any of my work, I recommend searching either my tweets in the format of “Mavsdraft Isaiah Wong” or read my report from visiting Miami in May when I got to see Isaiah Wong work out. In short, I’m probably his biggest believer among non-professional scouts. I buy his shot long-term; he has done a lot of work in speeding up his jumper and prioritized that as a top goal for his senior year. With good touch and free throw shooting numbers, along with great space creation ability I expect the shot to improve enough to be used regularly in the NBA. His shooting is best off the dribble, but at 6’3 he will also need to spot-up if he isn’t a true point guard.
Isaiah has outstanding intelligence, and it shows on both ends. He rotates well on defense and can play multiple roles on both ends of the floor. Playing alongside Nijel Pack, the best shooter in the country, should do wonders in unlocking his full upside. Look for Isaiah to be on the All-ACC first team this season.
The aforementioned Nijel Pack, a transfer from Kansas State, is easily the best shooter in the country. At 6’0, this gets devalued a bit by NBA scouts, but his ability to spot-up from quite literally anywhere realistic in the half-court, including the logo, makes him nearly impossible to guard. On top of that, he can hit shots off of movement with his quickness to speed away from defenders, making his shot difficult to alter. When I visited Miami in the spring, I saw Nijel make over 20 straight threes, something that rivals what the best NBA shooters often do.
Beyond the shooting, he has great touch on his floater and I saw him working on being a giant killer with his runner and floater near the rim, giving him a weapon once he is within the arc. As a playmaker, he should see his assists rise back up towards the 4+ per game mark he had back as a freshman given the big talent increase next to him. Joining a Miami team that returns a good chunk of their core of an Elite 8 team, look for Pack to be one of the best transfers and guards in the country & ACC. Like Wong, Pack should compete for an All-ACC spot in a strong conference.
Pack had pre-draft workouts in late April & May, but ultimately decided to return to school after having some impressive workouts to put some more eyes on him and the Hurricanes this year.
The Sun Belt’s Player of the Year and Defensive Player of the Year for 2022, Miami got two of the very best transfers in the country. While Omier doesn’t yet have a jump shot, his efficiency near the rim offensively, while being great at going vertical as a rim protector will give Miami a significant interior edge they did not have in 2021-22.
Look for Omier to be a great addition to both Nijel Pack and Isaiah Wong, with all three of them making each other better. This is the core of Miami’s roster; the team will go as far as these three stars take the Hurricanes. Foul trouble will be key for Omier, especially come March.
Walker took a step in the wrong direction as a junior, seeing his points cut in half, as well as his minutes nearly doing the same. As a senior, Walker needs to get back to his sophomore flashes of finishing and utilizing his athleticism in game on both ends. Walker should draw more than the two starts he drew as a junior, so he will need to get back on the right track for his senior year.
A versatile and gritty defender, Miller offers the ability to be an elite third guard for the Hurricanes. As a fifth year senior, Miller is likely to repeat his last year’s production as an efficient, score as needed, guard that connects the rest of the team towards winning value. Miller should be able to be used in three guard lineups in theory, but only when the Hurricanes go small. Given the height of Wong (6’3), Pack (6’0), and Miller (6’7), this lineup may get exposed against bigger backcourts, unless Miller can hold his own as the small forward.
One way Miller’s versatility and toughness pays off is he can play bigger than his 6’2 frame, which could be a saving grace to a smaller Miami backcourt.
There isn’t a ton of film available for Casey, but from what I have seen he is a high upside forward. He has a clean jumper and good athleticism. While his defense and playmaking are TBD, he has good tools to grow into a modern wing. Unlikely to be a one & done, Casey should groom into a useful bench forward on a winning team, and should get valuable runs to become a core piece of the Hurricanes’ future.
Harlond Beverly has been forgotten after playing just 4 games last season before a season-ending injury. An explosive athlete, Beverly is still too prone at turning the ball over, and lacks a reliable jumper. These two flaws will significantly limit his NBA upside he once had as a freshman. A best case scenario for Beverly this year is becoming an efficient backup guard that excels at slashing and passing while reducing turnovers in his somewhat limited minutes.
Overall, Miami has high upside in potentially repeating as a second weekend team in the NCAA Tournament with the star power of their starting lineup, with good rotation pieces that will need to be valuable per minute players. Look for Wong, Pack, and Omier to be potentially in the mix for the 2023 NBA Draft, and AJ Casey potentially in a future draft. Miller should be on an NBA Summer League roster as a tough guard next year, with a chance to compete for a roster spot in training camp.