Former Florida big man Kenny Kadji said he has no regrets about his decision to transfer to Miami.
The 6-foot-10 center said playing time played into his decision to leave the Gators following his sophomore year. Kadji was hindered by back problems that sidelined him for most of his sophomore season. But he also didn’t get project to get as much playing time as a junior at UF last season with the starting frontcourt of Alex Tyus, Chandler Parsons and Vernon Macklin returning.
Kadji met with Florida coach Billy Donovan in the summer of 2010 before deciding to leave.
“I just wanted to start new, have a bigger role,” Kadji said.. “I have no problem with (Donovan). He’s a great coach, the teammates over there are great. I just wanted to be somewhere else.”
In fact, Florida trainer Dave “Duke” Werner helped Kadji with his rehabilitation from back surgery even after he left campus for Miami. Kadji, who underwent surgery to repair discs in 2010, said he is fully healed.
Kadji has started seven of Miami’s 10 games this season, averaging 8.7 ppg and 4.5 rpg. He had a breakout game in Miami’s 93-90 overtime win over FAU, scoring 21 points to earn game MVP honors. Kadji displayed his extended shooting range for a big man, going 3-for-3 from 3-point range.
First-year Miami coach Jim Larranaga has given Kadji the green light to shoot from outside.
“What we’ve learned about Kenny is he’s a very skilled guy and he can shoot,” Larannaga said. “Now, he likes to put the ball on the ground some and we’re trying to discourage that because when he just catches and shoots, he makes a very high percentage, from two and from three.”
— Larranaga didn’t sound too optimistic about renewing a Florida-Miami series in the future. The ACC announced this week it will extend to an 18-game league schedule next season, further limiting Miami’s non-conference scheduling opportunities. “Certainly, you need to look at what is best for our team in terms of your schedule,” Larranaga. “You’ve got to balance home and away and strength of opponents.” Larranaga, though, does have a good friendship with Donovan. The two coaches faced each other in the 2006 Final Four, with Florida beating the Larranaga-coached George Mason Patriots.