Perhaps one of the most unheralded stars in the history of the University of Miami athletics is Shane Larkin. After all, with all of the talent that has rolled through the Orange Bowl, Hard Rock Stadium, and Mark Light/Alex Rodriguez Field through the years, so much so that the roundball sat completely dormant for fourteen years while Coach Schnellenberger worked on building the iconic and national brand that is beloved today. All of that changed for a year, as the Hurricanes enjoyed what was nothing short of a miraculous run to the 2013 ACC Championship, led by their diminutive floor general.
Larkin arrived in Coral Gables as just a three-star recruit and the twenty-sixth ranked point guard in his class - ironically, just a few spots ahead of MIami native and Kansas State Wildcat that would later finish his career in Coral Gables and also lead the Hurricanes to the Sweet Sixteen, Angel Rodriguez. The backstory for Larkin is commonly known, as the son of the Cincinnati Reds Hall of Fame shortstop, as well as adamantly pursuing hoop dreams because of a little league baseball that coach that attempted to coax young Shane into changing his swing, though had learned some of it from the all-time hit king. The transition was smooth and natural as the Hall-of-Famer’s 12-time-All-Star-and-once-MVP stroke at the dish, as his uncle Byron happened to be a two-time Midwest Collegiate Conference Player of the Year that scored 2,696 points at Xavier.
Larkin came in at the same time that Coach Larranagga came over from George Mason, after a pedestrian freshman year (.363/.320.857 shooting as a part-time starter), he truly exploded his sophomore season as did the whole squad to propel what is undoubtedly the greatest season in school history. He was the coaches’ choice to be the ACC Player of the Year after leading the team in scoring, finishing third in the league in assists, first in steals, and second in win shares, as well as a mega-efficient 48% from the field for his size and 40% from downtown. The Canes squad won their first and only ACC Regular Season Championship to date, including a 14-game winning streak that encompassed a 13-0 start in league play. He punctuated the season as the conference tournament’s Most Valuable Player by putting up 23.7 points with 5 rebounds, 5 assists, and 2.3 steals as the Canes cruised to three double-digit victories, advanced to their third Sweet Sixteen appearance (as their highest seed ever), and a school-record 29 wins. A banner year for the program that was sparked by the emergence of this particular star, who went ahead to forego his two remaining years of eligibility and cash in while his draft stock was “South Beach hot”.
After being selected 18th overall that summer and subsequently traded on draft night, he bounced around the basketball world as many that have come into the league at his draft position or lower. He played for three teams in his first three years, as well as making stops with the G-League affiliate of each of those organizations. He spent a year in the Spanish Premier League for Baskonia and, after averaging 13.6 points, he was suddenly a hot commodity receiving an offer sheet from the famed F.C. Barcelona squad that was matched by his Baskonia team before he would decline that offer for an opportunity to return to the NBA with the Celtics. As a reserve, he appeared in 54 games and the team’s first 11 postseason games, before sitting out the final eight, including all seven in the hotly-contested Eastern Conference Finals tilt with the Cavaliers.
This is the point where Shane Larkin truly starts to flourish as a professional. Prior to the 2018-2019 season, he signed with Anadolu Efes of the Turkish Premier League, and his first two seasons there have been nothing short of magical, both on and off the court. In his debut season, he helped lead Anadolu Efes to the Turkish League Championship and, like Miami, heights that the club had never seen before - the championship game of the EuroLeague, as they had previously only made it to the semifinals in both 2000 and 2001. Following that, Larkin took his game to a whole other level in year two of the Turkish experience, as he exploded for 22.2 points per game on shooting splits of .530/.509/.903, was named an All-Star starter, and his 88 made threes were one off of the league lead and fourth on the all-time single season list before the pandemic erased the remainder of the EuroLeague season. Additionally, he seems to have figured out healthy ways to cope with his OCD diagnosis, and he has gained dual citizenship in Turkey as well. Also, there is a trivia fact to leave you with, for you and the fellow Canes and basketball fan in your life: on November 19, 2019, Shane Larkin lit up Bayern Munich for a EuroLeague all-time single game record of 49 points.
On the surface, it appears as though Shane Larkin, after a long journey, is the happiest and most satisfied he has been since he was at Miami - or possibly ever. And, he is still a young (just 27 years old to this point) professional, so there is no telling what more the future can hold, whether that be an NBA return, more European superstardom, and a post-playing life.