NCAA BK

Gamble takes advantage of 6th year for No. 2 Miami

Share This Story

   
 

CORAL GABLES, Fla. (AP)

Three blocked shots. Less than four seconds.

The highlight moment of Julian Gamble's career at Miami had nothing to do with offense, which seems fitting for him. After all, the sixth-year senior has scored four points or less in 75 of his 118 career appearances with the Hurricanes.

Instead, it came in the form of one brilliant defensive sequence on Tuesday, where he simply victimized Virginia's Akil Mitchell on a play that has been replayed countless times in the last few days. Mitchell shot, Gamble blocked. Mitchell rebounded and shot again, Gamble blocked. One more time, Mitchell rebounded, head-faked and then shot - and, yep, Gamble swatted that one away as well.

Gamble hardly, if ever, has a play called for him on the offensive end of the floor. Still, he's become invaluable to the second-ranked Hurricanes, a key part of a team that many believe is good enough to win a national championship.

''You can see the impact he's had, the difference between our team last season and this season,'' Miami coach Jim Larranaga said.

And to think he should have been gone long ago.

Gamble came to the Hurricanes in 2007, redshirting his true freshman season. He played 93 games over the next three years, almost all as a reserve, and none in the NCAA tournament.

Before what would have been his senior season and fifth year at the school, Gamble tore the anterior cruciate ligament in his left leg. Months later, the NCAA said he qualified for a sixth year - and he's taken full advantage of the chance, working his way into the starting lineup and helping the Hurricanes work their way up the national polls.

''This is what we love doing and we have a story to tell,'' Gamble said. ''We have an opportunity to inspire people and let people know, especially from my point of view, that perseverance definitely pays off over adversity.''

Gamble returns to his home state of North Carolina on Saturday, when the Hurricanes put their 14-game winning streak and perfect Atlantic Coast Conference record on the line against Wake Forest.

''Having an opportunity to go back to North Carolina and play in front of our families - we've got a lot of guys from North Carolina - it's a big game,'' Gamble said.

Gamble is averaging 6.8 points on 56 percent shooting for the Hurricanes (22-3, 13-0), who struggled a bit in the early going before simply catching fire once the calendar flipped to January.

His numbers are perfectly fine, in terms of what Miami wants to see from him on the offensive end of the floor. Ask the Hurricanes where he's most valuable, and they'll either say on the defensive end or off the court.

''Julian's an emotional leader out there,'' said Miami center Reggie Johnson, a longtime starter who now comes off the bench, primarily behind Gamble. ''Julian just plays hard, blocks shots, runs the floor. To have Julian here, man, it's really special.''

Gamble has one degree and will soon have his master's as well. He takes two classes now, both at night, and an independent-study course. That means his days are free to largely focus on basketball - and he's taking advantage.

His footwork is better. His finishing skills are better. He's slimmer and quicker, and is simply a wall at times around the rim for the Hurricanes. He got the word about the sixth year toward the end of last season, when his trainer told him that he had ''good news and bad news - the bad news is, you've still got rehab, and the good news is, they granted you a sixth year.''

Without that, he'd be elsewhere.

Without him, Miami probably wouldn't be No. 2 in the nation, either.

''He worked so hard last summer,'' Larranaga said. ''He lost 20 to 25 pounds. He got much stronger. By September he was running and jumping, and I just knew he was going to be a major factor.''

Tagged: North Carolina, Virginia, Miami (FL), Julian Gamble, Akil Mitchell

Related Stories

Member Comments

Please note by clicking on "Post comment" you acknowledge that you have read the Terms of Use and the comment you are posting is in compliance with such terms. Be Polite. Inappropriate posts may be removed by the moderator.

powered by



NCAA BK Videos

Georgetown, Syracuse to renew CBK rivalry Posted: Jun 10, 2014
Georgetown basketball coach John Thompson III on the renewal of the rivalry betw...

Cuonzo Martin new head coach at Cal Posted: Apr 16, 2014
Cuonzo Martin is introduced as Cal's new head coach.

UConn tops Notre Dame in women's final Posted: Apr 09, 2014
Hear from Geno Auriemma and his players after their National Championship victor...

More Than Sports on MSN

Fox Sports Store

    itemName itemURL imageSrc price itemDescription
    Nike Florida Gators #1 Replica Elite Basketball Jersey - Black http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_Florida_Gators/browse/featuredproduct/885881/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_885000/ff_885881_xl.jpg&w=100 74.95 Nike Florida Gators #1 Replica Elite Basketball Jersey - Black
    Nike Georgetown Hoyas #22 Hyper Elite Road Performance Jersey - Navy Blue http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_Georgetown_Hoyas/browse/featuredproduct/1030243/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_1030000/ff_1030243_xl.jpg&w=100 119.95 Nike Georgetown Hoyas #22 Hyper Elite Road Performance Jersey - Navy Blue
    Nike Duke Blue Devils #5 Tourney Takeover Replica T-Shirt - Duke Blue http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_Duke_Blue_Devils/browse/featuredproduct/1032710/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_1032000/ff_1032710_xl.jpg&w=100 27.95 Nike Duke Blue Devils #5 Tourney Takeover Replica T-Shirt - Duke Blue
    Nike Oregon Ducks X-Ray Ball T-Shirt - Green http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_Oregon_Ducks/browse/featuredproduct/1052002/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_1052000/ff_1052002_xl.jpg&w=100 24.95 Nike Oregon Ducks X-Ray Ball T-Shirt - Green
    Nike Ohio State Buckeyes Road Warrior Tri-blend T-Shirt - Scarlet http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_Ohio_State_Buckeyes/browse/featuredproduct/1052645/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_1052000/ff_1052645_xl.jpg&w=100 29.95 Nike Ohio State Buckeyes Road Warrior Tri-blend T-Shirt - Scarlet
    Indiana Hoosiers 2013 NCAA Men\'s Basketball Road to March Madness T-Shirt - Crimson http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_Indiana_Hoosiers/browse/featuredproduct/1124528/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_1124000/ff_1124528_xl.jpg&w=100 19.95 Indiana Hoosiers 2013 NCAA Men\'s Basketball Road to March Madness T-Shirt - Cri..
    adidas Louisville Cardinals 2013 March Madness #10 Premier Swingman Jersey - Red http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_Louisville_Cardinals/browse/featuredproduct/1127200/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_1127000/ff_1127200_xl.jpg&w=100 89.95 adidas Louisville Cardinals 2013 March Madness #10 Premier Swingman Jersey - Red
    adidas Notre Dame Fighting Irish 2013 March Madness #45 Premier Swingman Jersey - White http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_Notre_Dame_Fighting_Irish/browse/featuredproduct/1127218/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_1127000/ff_1127218_xl.jpg&w=100 89.95 adidas Notre Dame Fighting Irish 2013 March Madness #45 Premier Swingman Jersey ..
    Nike Gonzaga Bulldogs March Madness Bracketville T-Shirt - Navy Blue http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_Gonzaga_Bulldogs/browse/featuredproduct/1155821/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_1155000/ff_1155821_xl.jpg&w=100 24.95 Nike Gonzaga Bulldogs March Madness Bracketville T-Shirt - Navy Blue
    Top of the World Miami Hurricanes 2013 NCAA ACC Men’s Basketball Tournament Champions Adjustable Hat – Green http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_Miami_Hurricanes/browse/featuredproduct/1177723/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_1177000/ff_1177723_xl.jpg&w=100 25.95 Top of the World Miami Hurricanes 2013 NCAA ACC Men’s Basketball Tournament Cham..