Hurricanes’ Elder, Jones drop basketball to focus on football

Corn Elder came to the University of Miami with the intention of playing both football and basketball.

Steve Mitchell/Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

CORAL GABLES, Fla. — Corn Elder and D’Mauri Jones will no longer be part of the University of Miami men’s basketball program, head coach Jim Larranaga announced on Thursday afternoon.

Both players compete for the football team but found the dynamic of participating in two sports at the collegiate level too difficult.

Elder, who led his high school in Nashville to two straight division basketball championships and was named the state tournament’s most valuable player, took part in two basketball practices this season before making the decision. In 2014, he appeared in 13 football games (one start) at defensive back and recorded 34 tackles, three tackles for loss, one sack and two fumble recoveries. As a freshman in 2013, he couldn’t play for the basketball team when he sustained a season-ending injury in football.

Jones, a redshirt sophomore with one career collegiate catch for 13 yards, averaged 15 points per game for Leesburg High School. Unlike Elder, he did not practice with the basketball team; he just watched. 

"Despite how excited my staff and I and the team were to have Corn Elder and D’Mauri Jones join us, those guys realized the amount of work they have to do academically and still with football," Larranaga said. "The time commitment was just going to be way too much, so neither Corn Elder or D’Mauri Jones will be with us any further."

Joining the team for Saturday’s game at Notre Dame, however, will be junior forward Ivan Uceda. From Madrid, Spain, Uceda had to sit out the season’s first 16 games per an NCAA rule that requires students to enroll in college one year after high school graduation.

Uceda averaged 14.6 points, 9.6 rebounds, 2.0 assists, 1.1 steals and 1.1 blocks in his second season at Harcum College in Pennsylvania. The 6-foot-10, 237-pounder will add much-needed height to the team.

"Ivan Uceda will be making his debut as a Miami Hurricane this weekend," Larranaga said. "Unfortunately the timing’s not great because Notre Dame is playing a four-guard offense and getting bigger is not going to be as helpful Saturday as it will be in the future. But we’re very excited to have him available to us."

You can follow Christina De Nicola on Twitter @CDeNicola13 or email her at cdenicola13@gmail.com.