Larkin is extremely close with his family. He has two sisters, Cymber, a high school lacrosse player and aspiring singer, and Brielle D’Shea (in honor of Shea Stadium, where Barry Larkin liked to play), a cosmetology student. He is also very close with a former high school teammate, Isaac Lane, who lived at the Larkin house and whom Shane considers a brother.
He has a special relationship with his mother, Lisa, and makes no apologies. With his father gone so much during his Major League Baseball days, Shane was the only male in the house and was protective of his mom. Still is. The feeling is mutual. He worries when she drives alone from Orlando to Miami for UM games. She reminds him to gargle with salt water when his throat hurts.
Larkin knew his mom worried about him being so far away, and that made him worry for her. There were also undisclosed medical issues in the family, and Larkin was able to get a release from DePaul. Larranaga had just been hired at UM, so it was a match made in heaven.
“My mom’s a worrier, to the point that she sometimes panics, and it’s better for my health and hers if I’m a four-hour drive from Orlando,’’ he told The Miami Herald last year. “I really liked Coach Larranaga, so it all worked out for the best.’’
Lisa Larkin feels her son was meant be a Hurricane. The family has attended every home game but one this season.
“We had some complications when he went to DePaul, and we did a lot of praying,’’ she said by phone Thursday. “It was a really, really tough time for our family. Barry wanted Shane to stay at DePaul and be a man of his word. But Shane really felt it would be best to move back to Florida. We feel very, very blessed that it worked out the way it did.’’
ESPN announcers have been gushing over Larkin all season, as have opposing coaches. “I think Shane Larkin is the best point guard in the league,’’ said FSU coach Leonard Hamilton. “He makes very few mistakes, has an unselfish spirit, the ball’s safe in his hands, and he plays like a coach on the floor even though he’s only a sophomore.’’
Barry Larkin is enjoying watching his son in the spotlight. He knows it wasn’t always easy for his son to live in his shadow. “People put Shane down, said he’d never make it big, said he benefited from my name, and I know how hard that was for him to hear. I told him of my perils in my career, the critics I faced. I told Shane to use it all for motivation.’’
He heeded his father’s advice.
“I had several of the recruiting gurus telling me I couldn’t play at this level, that I was a low D1 player, so coming out here now and proving them wrong is great,’’ Shane Larkin said. “They said that I wasn’t a point guard, all I do is look for my own shot. I was too small. I wasn’t athletic enough. I wouldn’t be able to defend at this level. I wasn’t strong enough. I didn’t have the body to play at this level. Everything they could say about somebody who couldn’t play at this level, they said it.’’
But Larranaga always believed in the kid. And his hunch paid off.