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LeBron James, Chris Paul and Heat players visit Hurricanes

Last month, in the shadow of the LeBron decision, I took particular note of two things. One, national college basketball writers wondered aloud (or online) whether the University of Miami’s constantly fledgling basketball program would benefit from the new professional trio in Miami. Two, the near-universal dismissal of said opinions, pointing out the fact that none of the three marquee players now tied to the Heat (James, Dwyane Wade, Chris Bosh) went to UM, and James didn’t attend college at all. Well, it seems like those dismissals might have been premature, because with one picture taken by UM Sports Information Director Margaret Belch, Miami coach Frank Haith has an image that should perk the interest of recruits around the country. James, friend Chris Paul and Heat players Udonis Haslem, Mario Chalmers, Mike Miller and Patrick Beverley showed up at the University of Miami today, to practice and meet with the school's basketball team. With a program that appears to be on the upswing, a brand-new basketball practice facility and two perennial All-Stars running sprints in-house, it's a powerful thing for Haith to take to recruits. I've stated before that I'm an alum and boastful fan of the University of Miami. My attendance there is the reason I'm a Miami Heat fan. I'm also from the Mid-Atlantic, which is pure college basketball country. My basketball life was Maryland Terrapins and nothing but until I was 18. So the idea of a paradigm shift in favor of the hooping Hurricanes has me very pumped. The fact that it's the great improvement of the pro team that could lead to that improvement of the college team is doubly awesome. Considering the last basketball great to have an association with the program was Rick Barry in 1965, it's definitely something to get excited about if you're a UM fan, or a fan of good basketball in South Florida, which I'm assuming most of you are.