Miami Hurricanes senior DJ Vasiljevic has pro potential

Since Jim Larranaga became the head coach of the University of Miami basketball team in 2011, the Hurricanes have had four players selected in the NBA Draft.

It started with Shane Larkin in 2013 coming off the magical ACC championship season led by Shane Larkin, who was selected by the Dallas Mavericks. The Hurricanes are working on a three year streak with Davon Reed (Suns) in 2017, Lonnie Walker (Spurs) and Bruce Brown (Pistons) in 2018 and even Dewan Hernandez (Raptors) who was drafted despite not playing a game last season due to NCAA violations.

This year, the Hurricanes have an opportunity to make a run back into the NCAA Tournament and get another player drafted. They’ve been led by the trio of Chris Lykes (14.8 PPG) , DJ Vasiljevic (14.5 PPG) and Kam McGusty (13.9 PPG).

Vasiljevic seems to have the most draft potential given his shooting ability. The senior is currently has a three point shooting percentage of 50.8 and his best game so this season was against Alabama A&M where all six of his shots were from the top of the key and he made five them as well as hit 2-of-2 from the free throw line to total 17 points in an 88-74 Miami win.

“Any time you can shoot the ball the way DJ can shoot the ball, you can find a spot for a shooter because the game is so open nowadays,” Alabama A&M head coach Dylan Howard said. “He’s gonna land somewhere, if not the NBA, he’s gonna go overseas and do great things.”

Vasiljevic has spent all four years with the Hurricanes, something that is now a rarity given his talent. He will surely have his jersey retired after notching his 1,000th career point againt Temple. 

“DJ has been with us for four years. I can tell you from the day he arrived he’s one of smartest, hardest working, best shooters, great leader, great competition I’ve been around,” Larranaga said of Vasiljevic. “He is the consummate teammate.” 

Saturday’s home game against Coppin State will cap off the Hurricanes’ out of conference slate of the season. Last year Miami entered conference play 8-4 and their lack of depth doomed them to a 14-18 season. This year, the Hurricanes are 7-3 — which includes a season opening loss to Louisville — with all their horses and have a better outlook going into conference play.

The Hurricanes have road wins over Temple, Central Florida and Illinois but also lost to Connecticut, Florida and Louisville, so the question is which set of results is the more accurate representation of the Hurricanes this season.

If Miami wins on Saturday and goes 9-9 in the ACC, would a 17-12 record be enough. That will be the question of 2020.

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