CORAL GABLES, Fla. – Shane Larkin has played in 42 games this season for the NBA’s Dallas Mavericks, as they fight to maintain their spot amongst the top eight teams in the Western Conference. Larkin has also seen time playing for the Texas Legends in the NBA’s Developmental League. In his last two D-League performances, he averaged 37.5 minutes, 21.5 points, 6.5 rebounds, and 8.5 assists.
HurricaneSports.com: Even though you are playing professionally, do you still get a chance to follow @CanesHoops?
Shane Larkin: Definitely. I always try to catch them whenever they’re on TV. I record their games on my DVR. I sit down and watch them and see who’s playing well to see how the team is doing. I definitely still watch them even though I’m not there.
HS.com: What do you think of the current state of the men’s basketball team?
SL: It has been an up-and-down year. They’ve had some good wins, like at North Carolina, and they had two close games with Syracuse. They have been competitive all year. It’s tough have to a stellar year when you lose your top six category players. They have definitely taken not he challenge and they have played hard. Some of the young guys like Manu [Lecomte] and Davon [Reed] have stepped up, so it’s looking good for the future.
HS.com: With last year's championship run in the ACC, how do you think Coach Larrañaga changed the appearance of University of Miami basketball?
SL: He definitely has changed the appearance. They will be a team that will always come out, play hard, and have the right schemes, and play tough. He has been three years now. Our first year, we were 20-13, the second year, we won the ACC, and this year, when he lost all of the players he did, he just had to gather the team together and make something out of them. It was an up-and-down year, but it was successful as there were close games with the top teams. He definitely changed the face, getting top recruits to come in, and next year they’re supposed to have a really great year. He definitely changed the face of Miami basketball. They’re not a powerhouse yet, but they’re one of the up-and-coming programs in the nation, I believe.
HS.com: You are part of a new wave University of Miami basketball players that are playing professional basketball, globally. In the NBA, you have played against the older #ProCanes like John Salmons and James Jones already. What is it like to be the youngest and newest guy to represent "The U" in the NBA?
SL: It is a big responsibility. At the same, it’s also an honor. Those guys are older, but they are still playing well. John Salmons is one of the reasons why Toronto is so good this year. It’s a big responsibility being the youngest guy in the league from Miami under the new realm of what Coach L is trying to create, at the University of Miami.
We have players who can come here, and make it to the league, and be successful for years to come. I just take that responsibility to go out there every day and play hard, and do my best, and show that Miami prepared me for the NBA and show that when I’m in the NBA that I can play. I want to show the league that if you go to Miami, we can have success in the league just like a North Carolina or a Duke.
HS.com: How did coach Jim Larrañaga improve you as a person both on and off the court?
SL: I think on the court, he challenged me to become more aggressive, to take on the leadership role and lead the team. My freshman year, I deferred it to some players. My sophomore year, he really challenged me to become the player that I could become. He always told me when he was recruiting me at George Mason that I was a great player and that I could play at any level, and when I got to Miami, he proved that by entrusting me, and giving me the ball, and just letting me do my thing out there.
I think off the court, he helped me improved in a lot of areas. He helped me grow up a lot. When I first got to Miami, I was not responsible, like I was late for classes, wake up late, be late to practices, all that stuff. He just taught me how to be responsible. He taught me how to prepare for what’s coming next. He told me to never go into something blind, and to always do my research. He definitely me help off of the court as much as he helped me on the court.
HS.com: Are there any former Miami Hurricanes teammates that you still talk to regularly?
SL: I still keep in contact with a lot of the guys. I talk with Trey McKinney Jones every once in a while. I talk to Julian Gamble more than anybody. I talk to Durand Scott some. I still speak with Kenny Kadji a little bit.
HS.com: What was the most important lesson that you learned from your time as a Miami Hurricane?
SL: I would say to always be prepared. I think that’s true in life too, the biggest thing is to always be prepared for what you’re about to get into. Never walk into anything blind. Coaches really instilled that as a part of the program. We, as players, watched so much film. We had shoot around at every game. We would practice a bunch. They gave us scouting reports. We had individual tapes on players. Being prepared on the court is huge because you don’t know who they are going to play, and you have to learn their tendencies and all that.
But off of the court, going into anything in life, if you have a big interview, you should do all the research you can about the company you’re interviewing with. You should always do your research before, so whenever you are finally in the moment you are prepared for whatever comes at you.
HS.com: What's your favorite memory from your time as a Hurricane?
SL: Easily the ACC Championship game. Just the whole atmosphere, it was pretty much North Carolina, Duke, and North Carolina State fans all going against us in Greensboro. The atmosphere was crazy. It was a back-and-forth game. I would hit a three, P.J. Hairston would hit a three, Trey McKinney Jones would hit a three, Reggie Bullock would hit a three, Julian Gamble would get a dunk, James McAdoo would get a dunk. Everyone was going after it. It was probably the most fun game I played in college.
To win the ACC tournament for the first time ever in school history, and just to talk to the fans after the game, and to hold that trophy, it was a great moment. I remember talking to my parents after the game. I remember holding that trophy. It was a great moment. I remember running up for the pictures after the game. I was just looking for somebody, and Coach Caputo ran in my way, and I picked him up and swung him around because it was such a great moment. I was hyped.
HS.com: Is there anything else you want to tell the Canes community that we haven't talked about?
SL: The biggest thing I think with our school and our university is attendance. Last year, when we were winning, everybody showed up regardless of if it was weekdays or weekends. That was the thing. Everybody would show up and show support and that really would give the team a whirl of wind, like a much greater will to go out there and fight. All these people came here to support you, all these people came to see you win, all these people haven’t seen Miami win like this before. We had to keep that going, and put on a good show, and just continue to get that.
I think this year it pretty much fell off back to what it was before. I know it hurt those guys that last year’s team was No. 2 in the country at one point and all that, and we were getting support. I want to say that whatever we can do, whatever we need to do as a whole community, as Cane Nation, as Canes Fam, whatever we need to do to get out there to show support for those guys wearing Hurricanes across their chest, who are fighting as hard as they can play.
We have got to get more support into the arena, more energy into that building, because as you see last year, when Duke came and North Carolina came, whenever we had all that energy, we had the BUC going crazy. It was hard to beat us in our home gym. You can see that as we beat Duke by 27, and North Carolina by 26. There is no telling what could happen on any given night in college basketball, just to get that support and just to get the fans making signs and going crazy, it helps us play harder and it really helps the energy of the team. That would be the only thing I have to say to the community. Let’s get more fans into every game as much as you can, because that is going to help us win.
Finally, some highlights of Shane in the NBA: