Miami Cyclones Season Preview

  • By Barry Lolicht, Day 1, 2023

The Miami Cyclones had a surprisingly quiet offseason after underachieving last season and finishing 5th in the JBL weak Eastern Conference. I had a chance to sit down and talk with General Manager Barry Lolicht recently to discuss the offseason and the upcoming season.

The GM did admit that he was willing to listen to offers on all players, particularly team leaders Reggie Fortier and Jamaine Curry. But he was not willing to just give these players away in a salary dump, which is what some other General Managers believed. Lolicht feels that although the team did under achieve last season, they were hurt by Fortier getting injured twice and Kelvin Black also going down with an injury. Since there were no serious offers for the Cyclones players the front office decided to give the current players another shot together this season.

The coaching staff changed as former assistant Scott Ford became head coach of the Charlotte Drones. Head Coach Aaron Chamberlain and top assistant Eddie Woods were retained. When Ford accepted the Drones head coaching position Lolicht and Chamberlain did an extensive search for a new assistant. The search led right back to the Drones and their recently released Assistant Coach Pete Coachman. Coachman had expected to be named the Drones head coach and claims that he was promised the position by former the teams previous management. Although no promises were made by the Cyclones, Coachman stated that he is glad to put the Charlotte experience behind him and looks forward to working with the Cyclones coaching staff and players.

In free agency the Cyclones could not make many moves due to salary cap restraints. Lolicht mentioned that one goal of the team was to retain point guard Lucious Barclay. That goal was accomplished and Lolicht was happy to resign Barclay for 3 seasons at $4,000,000 per year. The team did want to resign Power Forward Tyree Chappell but did not want to go more than 1 season and also they wanted to keep this seasons payroll under $95,000,000 so the decision was made not to try to outbid the Pittsburgh Vipers offer of $10,000,000 a year for 3 years.

During my talk with Lolicht, we discussed the Cyclones depth chart for this season by position:

POINT GUARD: Josh Gamble is the present and the future at point guard for the Cyclones. Lolicht also is very high on Barclay and has stated many times that if Gamble were not on the team he would be comfortable with Barclay as the starter. Joakim Barrett is entering his second year as is Marshall Anderson. Chris Iroegbu was drafted in the second round and will have to show something in training camp in order to make the team.

SHOOTING GUARD: Jamaine Curry returns as the starter and the offense will go thru him. When Curry rests, Barclay will play point guard and Josh Gamble will be moving over to shooting guard. Also available to play shooting guard are Tywan Liggins, Marshall Anderson, recently signed free agent Dartray McIntosh, and rookie Jordan Leonard.

SMALL FORWARD: Reggie Fortier will start at small forward. Liu "Dragon" Jinghau was a fan favorite who played major minutes last season but was not retained even though he was a restricted free agent and the Cyclones could have matched the Philadelphia Warriors one year plus a team option offer of $4,000,000. Lolicht said that although the Dragon has a lot of potential he had many chances in Miami and was unable to make his game work effectively with the rest of the roster. He also was a distraction in the locker room last season, disagreeing with the General Manager and coaching staff on how he should be utilized on the court. Backing up Fortier this season will be second year player Tywan Liggins who Lolicht is high on and free agent swingman Dartray McIntosh. Second round draft choice Jordan Leonard is on the team but will have to show something in training camp in order to make the opening day roster.

POWER FORWARD AND CENTER: These positions are being reviewed together because that is how Lolicht sees them this year. Kelvin Black will be the starting center and is the defensive backbone of the team. Chappell will be missed at small forward but Lolicht believes that he will be able to be replaced by a committee of players. The starting power forward spot will be decided in training camp. The contenders are second year player Jamell Doaks and rookie Deshawn Hawkins. The loser of that battle will backup both the power forward and center positions. Lolicht was also very happy to bring back Tyrone Hart who sat out last season after playing for the Cyclones in 2021. In 2021, Hart averaged 24.6 points and 9.5 rebounds per 36 minutes. He also had a field goal percentage of 60.5. Hart will be a good fallback of Doaks or Hawkins struggles. Also signed as a free agent was developmental project Uduak Adenrele.