Miami Basketball Season Preview, Players to Watch, Key Games
By: Jack Mueller
When Travis Steele’s Miami Redhawks take the floor against Evansville on November 6th, they will be a completely different team than the one that went 12-20 last season.
Both of the team's top two scoring options are gone, with leading scorer Mekhi Lairy (17.3 PPG) graduating and Morgan Safford (15.4) transferring to Kent State. Anderson Mirambeaux, the Redhawks third highest scorer, will not suit up for the season opener, but according to Associate Head Coach Rob Summers he will play for Miami this season.
“Currently he’s not available, but he will be in our rotation sooner than later.” said Summers at a press conference on October 31st.
When he returns, Mirambeaux will need to be a veteran presence in a locker room that is dominated by freshmen. Graduate transfers Bryce Bultman (McKendree) and Darweshi Hunter (Northern Illinois) are the only other seniors on the roster. Fellow transfers, juniors Bradley Dean and Julian Lewis make up the upperclassmen contingent going into the season.
The seven (!!) freshmen that were brought in by Steele’s staff will be asked to play a major role in a team looking for a complete reversal of their fortunes from previous seasons. The 2023 class is full of potential across the board, with Eian Elmer, Evan Ipsaro and Mekhi Cooper headlining a strong contingent who will look to contribute right away.
The MAC has not been kind to Miami in recent years. The Redhawks enter 2023 without a conference title since 2007, and have had one winning record in conference play since 2011. This Miami team feels different though, they boast a new roster, full of fresh faces looking to make an impact in Oxford. There will be growing pains that come with a young squad, but the Redhawks will be a fun team to watch this winter.
Players to Watch
Reece Potter 7’1 Fr. Center
Size was something that the 2022-23 Redhawks desperately lacked, the tallest person on the roster was 6’8, but with the addition of Potter (and fellow freshman, 6’9 Jackson Kotecki) that void has been filled. Potter’s size in the rebounding game will be noticed immediately, but he is a sneaky good scorer as well. The center averaged 18 points per game during his senior year for Lexington Catholic, where he also showcased his ability to hit shots from the perimeter. During the Redhawks’ summer trip to Puerto Rico, Potter averaged 15 points and added 5 boards. Depending on how big of a role Travis Steele assigns him, Potter could be one of the MAC’s breakout players.
Bradley Dean, 6’2 Jr. Guard
Dean comes to Oxford by way of University of Virginia College at Wise, where as a sophomore he led the Cavaliers in scoring, putting up 21.4 points per outing. Dean is an efficient scorer who can get points in bunches (.478/.426/.826 scoring slash) and can be an effective passer as well. He relies mostly on his ability to get to the basket via drives or cuts, but will not hesitate to shoot from deep, just over 34% of his shot attempts were from behind the arc. Expect to see Dean holding down the majority of the minutes at one of the guard spots this season.
Ryan Mabrey 6’5 So. Guard
Mabrey will be the sole returning player who averaged more than 7 points per game that will suit up for Miami on opening night. The sophomore La Lumiere product wasn’t the most efficient scorer last year, putting up sub 40% shooting percentages and a free throw percentage under 80%, but he will have the opportunity to step up and take a jump offensively in his bigger role. He showcased what he could do on the aforementioned summer trip, putting up 13 points which led the team in scoring in the Redhawks first game.
November 6th @ Evansville
- Opening Night
November 11th vs Texas St.
- Home Opener
November 17-19 Miami Classic
- Games vs. Coppin State, Eastern Illinois
December 6th @ Ohio State
December 9th @ Davidson
December 22nd vs. Vermont
January 2nd vs Western Michigan
- MAC play begins
February 3rd @ Ohio University
March 8th vs Ohio University
Link to Full Schedule: https://miamiredhawks.com/sports/mens-basketball/schedule