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August 21, 2008

Head coach: Charlie Coles
Last season: 17-16 overall, 9-7 in the MAC.
Postseason: Earned bid to College Basketball Invitational; lost to Tulsa 61-45 in first round.
Breakdown: Probable starters | Backcourt | Frontcourt | Offense | Defense | Outlook


Miami looks to Kenny Hayes, one of three players to average double figures, to lead in the backcourt. He was the primary shooting guard a year ago, but he will make a push to be the RedHawks' top point guard.

Kenny Hayes could make the transistion from shooting guard to point guard this season.

G Kenny Hayes, 6-2/Sr.
(12.1 ppg, 3.0 rpg)
G Eric Pollitz, 6-5/Sr.
(5.5 ppg, 3.3 rpg)
F Michael Bramos, 6-5/Sr.
(16.3 ppg, 3.9 rpg, 65 3-pointers)
F Tyler Dierkers, 6-8/Sr.
(6.1 ppg, 6.4 rpg)
C Adam Fletcher, 6-8/Sr.
(1.6 ppg, 1.2 rpg)
F Nick Winbush, 6-7/Soph.
(2.8 ppg, 1.4 rpg)
G/F Antonio Ballard, 6-4/Soph.
(Played one game last season)
F Dwight McCombs, 6-8/Soph.
(0.8 ppg, 1.3 rpg)
F Julian Mavunga, 6-8/Fr.
(True freshman)

Eric Pollitz, the twin of departed senior Tim Pollitz, could fill in at several spots. He should see time at guard with Hayes.

The backcourt lost some depth with the transfer of Alex Moosmann, who started 23 games last season. Senior Carl Richburg was an oft-used backup last season. Freshman Kramer Soderberg is a true point guard who could push Hayes for the position. Swingman Antonio Ballard is expected to see playing time after missing all but one game last year with an injury.


The star of the frontcourt and the team is Michael Bramos. He and Tim Pollitz, who was a senior in '07, were a formidable duo over the past two seasons. Bramos came into his own last season, when he led Miami and was fourth in the league in scoring. He is a versatile player who was among the league's best 3-point threats as well as one of the top shot blockers.

Miami will have a bigger frontcourt this season by moving center Adam Fletcher into the regular rotation in place of the 6-5 Tim Pollitz. Fletcher and Tyler Dierkens give Miami two 6-8 players on the front line.

For the first time in his career, Fletcher will not be coming off surgery to start the season. Dierkers is a fine passer out of the post, finishing second on the team with 79 assists.

Miami can bring either Nick Winbush or Dwight McCombs off the bench. Winbush brings shooting ability, while McCombs can be a post presence.


The RedHawks are patient on offense. They had a knack for finding the best shot last season, finishing second in the league in field-goal percentage (46.2 percentage). They averaged 62.5 points per game, 10th-best among MAC teams.


Miami plays man-to-man most of the time. The RedHawks were among the best defensive teams in the MAC last season, leading the conference in scoring defense (60.6 ppg).


F Tim Pollitz. The RedHawks lose one starter, but he leaves a big void. Pollitz was a first-team All-MAC selection who was second on the team in scoring (15.5 ppg) and rebounding (7.1 rpg). Miami has plenty of experience, with five seniors projected to start, but it will take a group effort to replace the school's first two-time first-team all-conference player since Wally Szczerbiak.


Dierkers. Miami must find more scoring options to fill the void left by Pollitz. Bramos and Hayes averaged in double-digits, but the next leading scorer, Dierkers, averaged only 6.1 points. The RedHawks need Bramos and Hayes to be consistent scorers and need the post players to pick up some of the slack.


F Julian Mavunga. Mavunga, a three-star prospect, is expected to make an impact in the frontcourt and will have every opportunity with Tim Pollitz gone.

David Fox is a national basketball writer for Rivals.com. He can be reached at dfox@rivals.com.

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