Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Miami's season rewarding for N.C. native Adams

Former Middle Creek High guard Garrius Adams knows Miami is facing a difficult road in the ACC tournament as the No. 12 seed.

“We have to win four games in the next four days,” Adams said after the Hurricanes’ open practice Wednesday at the Greensboro Coliseum, “and that’s the toughest road you can take.”

This has been a challenging season for Miami as a team, but it’s been rewarding in many ways for Adams, a freshman who was recruited to the Hurricanes by coach and Burlington, N.C., native Frank Haith.

When he left his hometown of Apex, he was strictly a shooting guard and was just a shade under 6-foot-5. Now he says he’s a legitimate 6-6, and he’s been playing a lot of small forward.
He put on 17 or 18 pounds in order to be able to handle a more physical position. He started seven games, all in ACC play, and has averaged 4.0 points per game. On defense, he has provided a spark with 23 steals, third on the team.

“My role has changed since high school,” he said. “. . .It’s made me grow up. It’s made me get stronger. It’s made me much wiser.”

Along with Durham’s Julian Gamble and Winston-Salem’s Reggie Johnson, Adams gives Miami three players who are from North Carolina hometowns. Haith, who has spoken often about following the ACC tournament while growing up, said it’s special for them to be playing in their home state.

“I think there’s no question for the North Carolina kids they’re excitedabout this,” Haith said. “They’re like me -- they grew up in this state, knowing the passion for basketball and being a part of ACC basketball and now havingthis opportunity.

“For those guys, it’s exciting. And for all our guys, youwalk out in that arena and you feel the atmosphere. Being here inGreensboro, I have a definite appreciation of it being here in Greensboro.”

Ken Tysiac and Luke DeCock