The Miami (FL) Hurricanes spoke at the Semi-Finals Pregame Media Conference Friday, March 31, 2023 in Houston, Texas, inside NRG Stadium and Coach Jim Larrañaga offered some interesting praise for Isaiah Wong (and others) in response to questions from the media.
“Someone asked me about the difference between Isaiah Wong when he was a freshman to now, and I say the funny thing is that young man has never had a bad attitude day or a bad effort day. He just has a great attitude towards life and a great work ethic towards basketball.
And, quite frankly, that leads to other guys wanting to be just like him. He’s a great role model for the other guys. You add Norchad Omier, Nijel Pack, Jordan Miller, they’re all like that. When you have kids like that, it’s fun coaching.”
“We’ve been very, very fortunate over the years to recruit a player. And I’ll use Isaiah Wong as an example. He was pretty highly recruited. His list narrowed down to us and UConn. But he was not a McDonald’s All-American. He was a young man with a great heart and a great competitive spirit. He’s just gotten better and better. And we’re always looking for those kind of guys.”
ISAIAH WONG (JUNIOR • GUARD)
In a In a breakout media session, Wong gave his opinion on several topics including:
On relationship with Coach Larrañaga
“Since freshman year I built a relationship with him and even my high school years, just talking to him on the phone and visits. I knew that Coach L was a great coach coming in and I knew he was going to improve my game coming into my four years, and he did just that. He helped throughout the process and, throughout my struggles and I gained a lot of knowledge from Coach L. He’s a calm and collective coach and he kind of acts like me in some respects. Just calm and nonchalant about the game and getting to the point.”
On Coach Larrañaga’s influence on him coming back to Miami
“Coach L is a great coach. Coming into the NBA process I came and got info like ‘Hey, you need to improve on that.” I really realized that he’s a great coach and still can improve my game. Coming into this season we can make some big things happen. Coach L accepted that, and he wanted to improve, and I feel like we have improved this season.”
On being in the Final Four
“I’ve just been taking it all in ... just the experience of the Final Four and it everything happening. It’s an honor to be here in this great place. Everything that’s happening around me, it’s special around here so I’m just enjoying the moment as of right now.”
On setting a new bar for Miami basketball
“I feel like it hasn’t hit me yet. I’ve just been living in the moment and going day by day. I feel like in the future, next year and the following year, that’s when it’s going to affect me when it’s going to really hit like, ‘Hey, we as a team put a good a standard on how we won a lot of games and went to the Elite Eight and now [Final] Four.’ Now we got to keep on for the next couple of centuries.”
On “Don’t Pick Us” motto
“Don’t Pick Us’ means we’ve just been the underdog the whole season and coming into this game, a lot of teams have us losing, so it’s like don’t pick us. feel like we’ve been in this whole March as a team that was going to lose every game, but everybody cannot pick us, and some people are going to lose some money. Just don’t pick us and don’t believe in us and that’s where our underdog comes in.’