Larkin on Thursday night became the second-highest NBA drafted player in Miami Hurricanes history, going No. 18 to
Atlanta before being traded to Dallas. The only one to go higher was Barry, taken No. 2 by the San Francisco Warriors in 1965.
Larkin, the ACC Player of the Year choice by league coaches, is the fourth NBA first-round selection in Hurricanes history. Tim James went No. 25 to the Heat in 1999 and John Salmons No. 26 to San Antonio in 2002 (Mike McCoy was taken No. 21 overall by Detroit in 1963, but that was then in the third round).
After his selection was announced at the draft in New York, the point guard celebrated with his family, including Baseball Hall of Fame father Barry Larkin. Then he walked on stage to greet NBA commissioner David Stern.
“It’s a great feeling,’’ Larkin, who left Miami after his sophomore season, said when interviewed on ESPN by Heat forward Shane Battier. “Just working your whole life to get in this position and then to just actually be here and walk across the stage and shake David Stern’s hand is an amazing feeling.’’
The 5-foot-11 Larkin was taken by the
Hawks with the understanding he would be shipped to Dallas. The
Mavericks don’t have much depth at point guard after projected starter Darren Collison. So Larkin could play a key role as a rookie.
“We are very excited for Shane and his family,” Miami coach Jim Larranaga said of Larkin, who averaged 14.5 points and 4.6 assists as the Hurricanes last season were ranked as high as No. 2 in the nation and made the Sweet 16 of the NCAA tournament. “He is going to make his coach very happy. Shane is a great competitor. He loves to win and has all the physical and mental skills to succeed in the NBA.”
Larkin’s dad has been thrilled at his son’s basketball progression. He’s been quite content to see him now getting much of the publicity in the family.
“I don’t know if I ever thought he had the potential to make the NBA,’’ Barry Larkin admitted on the draft telecast. “This is absolutely incredible. But he always was a good player. He always was vertically challenged. But he was always the most aggressive one on the court. He was the best player on the court, and I just saw him continue to progress when he went to high school and then when we went to the University of Miami. Year after year, you could just see him get better. He’s a really smart kid. He’s just very aggressive and he expects to be successful.’’
How successful does Larkin plan to be? Well, he said he wants to have a similar career to the legendary one enjoyed by his dad.
“He means a lot to me,’’ Larkin told Battier. “He’s like my role model. He played 19 years with the same team, well respected in Cincinnati. He’s always been a humble guy. I do want to have that same type of career that he had in the MLB.’’
That would make Larkin a Hall of Famer. Then he also would be in Rick Barry’s company.