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Canes Hoops Profile: Jim Larrañaga

Coach L has become a beloved figure in Miami and he’ll look to keep that going this season.

NCAA Basketball: Miami at Georgia Tech Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports

Jim Larrañaga is entering his eight season as head coach of the Miami Hurricanes men’s basketball team. In this time, Coach L has revitalized the program and helped the Canes compete with the traditional powerhouses of the ACC, all while displaying the kind of charisma that make him impossible to dislike.

With him at the helm the Canes have finished below 20 wins just once, and his win percentage is up around 67 percent (161-79 overall), as well as about 60 percent (75-49) in the ACC. He has also led the team to four NCAA Tournament berths in those seven seasons including two trips to the Sweet 16.

Coach L has also shown the ability to recruit some of the best talent to ever play for the program including the highly rated prospects of recent years (Lonnie Walker, Bruce Brown, Dewan Hernandez, etc.). He has even kept the Canes in contention for the services of the nation’s best (or second-best, depending on who you ask) recruit in the class of 2019, Vernon Carey Jr., son of the Hurricanes football legend.

Schematically, Coach L likes to run a simple high pick-and-roll offense with very little off-ball action. While frustrating at times, this has proven to be effective with the right personnel. Shane Larkin and Angel Rodriguez, for example, thrived in the system. Defensively, Larrañaga has deployed a number of different systems, but he is perhaps most famous for what he dubbed “scramble defense.” This is an aggressive trap-heavy half-court man defense. These principles have helped Miami find a level of consistency as one of the better basketball programs in the ACC.

Maybe most important, however, is that the players seem to love playing for Coach L.