When Shane Larkin found out Thursday he was named one of 12 finalists for the Bob Cousy Point Guard of the Year Award, the University of Miami sophomores mind drifted right back to his doubters when he was being recruited out of Dr. Phillips High in Orlando.
Not good enough to play in a major conference, eh? Too small? Not a true point guard?
Larkin is a key reason the Hurricanes are ranked No. 8 in the nation tying the highest ranking in school history. His court vision, speed and defense have helped UM to an 18-3 record and a perfect 9-0 start in the ACC. He is averaging 11.9 points, 4.6 assists and five rebounds in league games. He scored 25 against Virginia Tech, and grabbed the national spotlight against then-No. 1 Duke with 18 points, 10 rebounds and five assists.
Coming out of high school, I wasnt one of the major prospects, said Larkin, who was 5-10 and 160 pounds as a high school senior. I had several of the recruiting gurus telling me I couldnt play at this level, that I was a low D1 Player, so coming out here now and proving them wrong is great. Ive always kept that in the back of my mind.
He remembers who the critics were, and what they wrote.
They said that I wasnt a point guard, all I do is look for my own shot, he said. (They said) I was too small. I wasnt athletic enough. I wouldnt be able to defend at this level. I wasnt strong enough. I didnt have the body to play at this level. Everything they could say about somebody who couldnt play at this level, they said it.
Larkin, now 5-11 and 176 pounds, said he also was annoyed by suggestions that his baseball Hall of Fame father Barry Larkin was the reason for his athletic success.
Growing up, people said my dad bought everything, bought my success, and that made me push harder. Now Im being recognized, its a great feeling.
Among the other Cousy finalists are Keith Appling (Michigan State), Trey Burke (Michigan), Lorenzo Brown (NC State), and Peyton Siva (Louisville). Fans can vote at www.cousyaward.com