Just two weeks after ACC Player of the Year Shane Larkin committed for the NBA, Miami Hurricanes basketball welcomes two new members: former Arizona St. point guard Angel Rodriguez and Belgian point guard Emmanuel Lecomte. Angel Rodriguez was the starting point guard for the Wildcats this past season, averaging 12 points and five assists. He stands as 5’11, similar to Larkin’s height. He only shot 37 percent from the field but shot a solid 35 percent from the three-point line and 83 percent from the free throw line. Rodriguez could be a solid replacement for Larkin, provided that he improves his field goal percentage.
In addition to Rodriguez, Belgian point guard Emmanuel Lecomte (or Manu) will also help the Canes replace Larkin’s production. Lecomte currently plays on a reserve team in the Ethias League in Belgium, where he averages 20 points and five assists. Also 5’11, Lecomte’s strengths include his court vision and his ability to shoot well from long range, both much-needed qualities for any solid point guard. However, Manu is only 165 pounds and acknowledges that he needs to bulk up in order to be a successful point guard in the ACC.
Although the Canes will certainly miss Larkin, Coach Jim Larranaga has two solid options at the point guard position, both of whom have a bright future in orange and green. The only problem with these two players is that they are both around the same size (and are undersized), meaning that it will be difficult for Larranaga to play them both at the same time, they way he did with Durand Scott and Shane Larkin. Although Scott played the two-guard last season for Miami, he originally had played the one with former Miami guard Malcolm Grant playing the two. Scott was able to transition to the shooting guard position because he is around 6’4 and is able to defend multiple positions.
Together, Durand Scott and Shane Larkin were the best defensive backcourt in the ACC, finishing first and second, respectively, in ACC Defensive Player of the Year voting. Although Angel Rodriguez made the all Big-12 Second Team, he isn’t exactly known for being a lockdown defender. Lecomte also isn’t known for being a defensive stopper and it is also unclear how his game will transition to Division 1 college basketball. Both players will have to work on their game defensively to adequately fill the void that Larkin’s departure has created.
Provided that Rodriguez can be cleared to play his first season, look for him to be the starting point guard for Miami with the young Lecomte initially playing a back up role.