When Nick Cassano chose to attend the University of Miami, basketball was not a part of the decision. He wanted to attend UM for many reasons including the weather and academics as an aspiring finance major.
As a FACA 2A All-State player at Seacrest Country Day School, Cassano wanted to at least try walking on to Miami’s basketball team. He emailed the coaches once he found out that he was enrolling as a student, and after some time, director of basketball operations Jeff Dyer got back to him.
Head coach Jim Larrañaga called Cassano that same night.
“I can’t lie. I was in shock at first because it’s kind of crazy getting a call from a guy who has such a decorated resume as Coach L,” Cassano told LifeWallet Sports. “We just kind of talked about the type of player I am, what my goals are with the program, and I guess what I bring to the table.”
Cassano later took a visit and is now a part of the team for the school’s Summer B session as a preferred walk-on.
As he was first introduced to the sport before the age of 10, Cassano had serious ambitions early on in his life about playing basketball. These dreams materialized into something more substantial when he entered high school, as this is when Cassano knew that he wanted to pursue basketball at the collegiate level.
“When I was a 15-year-old kid, I think that’s when I kind of realized this is what I want and I guess I just put in the work for it after that,” Cassano said.
The 6-foot-7 small forward, who was also a standout on his travel team Pro Holmes Sports Academy, blossomed into one of the top players in Naples, Fla. by the end of his high school career.
Cassano averaged 22 points and 10 rebounds per game in his senior season, leading the Stingrays to their third district championship in school history. He earned offers from Division III schools and was recruited by Division II schools like Embry Riddle, Florida Tech, Lynn and Nova Southeastern, which won a national championship in 2023.
“At the end of the day, it kind of came down to, I guess, where I wanted to spend the next four years in college,” Cassano said. “And I ended up picking Miami, and then the basketball ended up working out. So, I’m grateful for it.”
Cassano has a positive mindset heading into his freshman year and is ready to do whatever he can to help the Hurricanes return to the Final Four and achieve even more college basketball glory.
“I’m a high-energy, positive-energy, kind of character-building, culture-building teammate, and I think that’s what I’m willing to bring to the team. As a walk-on, I’m just trying to help us get back to the Final Four, win a [championship], any way I can. Whether it’s playing or just being the best teammate that I can be.”
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