Good news for University of Miami basketball fans: Norchad Omier and Nijel Pack are coming back to play for the Hurricanes in 2023-24 after testing the NBA waters.
Omier, the power forward who was a key player on the UM Final Four team this spring, informed UM coach Jim Larranaga and associate head coach Bill Courtney on Thursday that he will be returning, and Pack’s decision was made public on Friday.
During the past few weeks, Omier was invited to work out with the Boston Celtics, Atlanta Hawks, Chicago Bulls and Detroit Pistons. He also was invited to the G League Elite Camp in Chicago, where he played well and was interviewed by a dozen teams.
“Norchad got really good information from the NBA people, a lot of positive feedback and advice, and that is what he wanted,” Omier’s high school coach and mentor Art “Pilin” Alvarez told the Herald on Thursday night. “After talking it over with me and his family, he decided he will go back to UM for at least one more year to continue to work on his game. He loves the U and he loves his teammates and coaches.”
Alvarez said Omier has been working on his perimeter game and will continue to diversify his game with the Hurricanes next season. He has two years of eligibility remaining.
“We are thrilled Nijel and Norchad have elected to return to Miami. They are both not only excellent players, but also superb individuals off the court,” Larranaga said. “They gained valuable feedback from NBA personnel during the pre-draft process that will aid them moving forward. We will continue to do all we can to help them further develop as they pursue their dreams of playing at the next level.”
A 6-foot, 184-pound guard, Pack averaged 13.6 points, 2.7 rebounds, 2.3 assists and 1.0 steal per game in 2022-23 and started all 35 contests in which he appeared. Pack scored in double figures 22 times and tallied 20-plus points on eight occasions, including a season-high 26 against No. 2/1 Houston in the NCAA Sweet 16.
The NCAA Tournament Midwest Region Most Outstanding Player, Pack shot 40.4 percent from 3-point range last year. The Indianapolis native will be a fourth-year junior next season.
Omier, the energetic 6-7 Nicaraguan, was the leading rebounder in the NCAA Tournament with 60 rebounds through five games, just ahead of Connecticut’s Adama Sanogo, who had 59 in six games. He averaged a double-double with 13.1 points and 10 rebounds per game during the full season. In his first season since transferring from Arkansas State, Omier established himself as one of the nation’s best rebounders and one of the most impactful big men in the Atlantic Coast Conference even though he was shorter than many of the centers he faced.
UM guard Isaiah Wong tested the NBA waters twice and came back to UM before leaving for good this spring.
With the return of Omier and Pack, next season’s team should be strong. Wooga Poplar and Bensley Joseph are back, and UM recently signed Florida State transfer Matthew Cleveland.
The Hurricanes’ Final Four team is losing Wong and Jordan Miller to the NBA Draft. Both stood out at the NBA Combine in Chicago this week. Wong had 16 points and four assists in his scrimmage and Miller had 18 points and 10 rebounds.
UM players who transferred include Harlond Beverly (Wichita State), Anthony Walker (Indiana), and Danilo Jovanovich (Louisville).