Head coach Jim Larrañaga has announced the signing of James Kelly and Manu Lecomte to National Letters of Intent and Angel Rodriguez to a financial aid agreement to play men’s basketball for the University of Miami. The trio will join the UM class of 2013 along with early signing period commitments Deandre Burnett and Davon Reed and UM dual-sport athletes Corn Elder and Derrick Griffin.
“Our recruiting class in the spring has added a lot of versatility and much-needed skills to our program,” Larrañaga said. “We have graduated five outstanding seniors and lost Shane Larkin to the NBA Draft, so we have a lot of holes to fill.”
James Kelly, a 6-8, 240-pound JUCO power forward, played in the NJCAA Division II tournament semifinals with Owens Community College (Toledo, Ohio) this season. He shot 52.2 percent from the field and averaged 18.3 points, 10.1 rebounds and 1.3 blocks per game during his sophomore campaign and led the conference in scoring (21.1 ppg) and rebounding (11.4 rpg). In two seasons at Owens, Kelly averaged 17.9 points and 10.0 rebounds. He became the first player in program history to record 1,000 points, 600 rebounds, 100 steals and 100 blocks in his career. He also added 70 career assists. Kelly, who is from Ann Arbor, Mich., attended Pioneer High School, where he averaged 15.0 points, 8.0 rebounds, 2.0 steals, 2.0 blocks and 1.0 assist per game. Kelly was also recruited by Michigan State, New Mexico, West Virginia and Clemson.
“James Kelly will be a vital part of the team this season because he provides us a power forward/small forward who can contribute both inside and outside,” Larrañaga said. “He’s 6-7, 245 pounds and he’s big enough to battle the bigger teams in the ACC, but also quick enough to guard smaller players on the perimeter.”
Emmanuel “Manu” Lecomte, a 5-9 point guard from Belgium, is currently playing for Dexia Mons-Hainaut in Mons, Wallonia (Belgium), where he has averaged 12.4 points, 2.8 rebounds, and 3.2 assists per game. A true point guard who can also shoot the three or pull up for jumpers, the freshman will bring international basketball experience to the Canes. At just 17 years old, Lecomte has competed in Belgium’s U16, U18 and U20 championships, most recently playing in the U18 European Championship, where he led his country in scoring with 12.0 ppg and 2.9 assists in eight outings. Lecomte turned down offers from Gonzaga, Creighton and UAB to attend The U.
“Manu LeComte is a true point guard with outstanding ball skills and shooting ability,” Larrañaga said. “We love his speed, quickness and ability to create for other players.”
Angel Rodriguez, a 5-11, 180-pound point guard, returns home to Miami after two seasons at Kansas State University. A native of San Juan, P.R., Rodriguez played prep basketball at local Miami Krop High School, where he was named the 2009-10 Class 6A Player of the Year as well as first-team all-state. In two seasons with the K-State Wildcats, Rodriguez averaged 9.8 points, 4.2 assists, 2.3 rebounds and 1.4 steals in his 65 total games. Last season as a sophomore at Kansas State, Rodriguez helped the Wildcats to the Big 12 Championship, a 27-8 record and an appearance in the NCAA tournament. He started 33 games averaging 11.4 points, 5.2 assists, 2.1 rebounds and 1.5 steals per game. Rodriguez signed his financial aid agreement on May 1, and is seeking an NCAA waiver for permission to play in the 2013-2014 season.
“Angel Rodriguez is a point guard with outstanding college credentials,” Larrañaga said. “He was an all-conference player in the Big 12 and he was on the all-defensive team in the Big 12. He’s a great replacement for Shane Larkin.”
Cornelius Elder is a 5-11, 165-pound point guard from Ensworth High in Nashville, Tenn. Elder averaged 20.2 points, 4.7 assists, and 4.2 steals in his senior season, and ended his high school tenure with a career-high 41 points in the DII-AA finals game. He scored 1,521 career points and led the Tigers to a 97-20 record in his prep years. Elder was named both the 2013 boys basketball and football player of the year by The Tennessean and was the state tournament MVP three-straight years.
“Corn Edler is truly one of the great student-athletes in the country,” Larrañaga said. “He was the player of the year for both football and basketball in the state of Tennessee. He has remarkable speed and quickness and competitive spirit. We’ll look forward to when he can join our basketball program after the football season."
Derrick Griffin, from Rosenberg, Texas, is a 6-7, 217-pound dual-sport athlete who played forward and wide receiver in high school. Griffin averaged 18.6 points, 11.1 rebounds, 4.7 blocks, 2.0 steals and 1.8 assists per game his senior campaign for Texas 4A state champion B.F. Terry High School. He is a 4-star basketball recruit rated the No. 26 small forward by ESPN, No. 74 nationally by Scout.com and No. 81 by Rivals.com.
“We watched Derrick Griffin play and would have loved to recruit him for our basketball program because he is one of the great athletes in the nation,” Larrañaga said. “At 6-7, 220-pounds, he can do everything that DeQuan Jones did for us two years ago. He’s strong, he’s fast, and he can jump out of the gym.”
Guards Deandre Burnett (6-1, 190) and Davon Reed (6-6, 195) committed to the Canes during the early signing period. Burnett, a Parade All-American, averaged 36.2 points, six rebounds and four assists per game as a senior at Carol City High School in Miami Gardens, Fla. Reed, a 4-star recruit who averaged 27.0 points and 9.0 rebounds at Princeton Day School (N.J.), was ranked No. 77 in the class of 2013 by ESPN and No. 104 by Rivals.com.