They guard like crazy. Larkin sets a great standard out front, leads the league in steals. Kadji twice blocked our dunks. Reggie [Johnson] and Gamble give them size inside, the muscle you need to clear space. Theyve got shooters. Scotts had a heck of a four-year career. They can shoot outside, score inside, get to the free-throw line, guard you without fouling. People talk a lot about their experience and how old they are, but theyre also talented. They have the whole package.
Larkin conceded that the Hurricanes are having every bit as much fun as it looks.
As for the alley-oop assist off the glass to Kadji, he said: It was one of those moments where youre having fun out there, everythings working for you. We got a steal, Trey [McKinney Jones] passed it to me on the outlet, and Kenny said, Backboard, backboard! and I didnt see anybody behind him, so I just tossed it off the backboard real soft and he just killed it.
It was particularly exciting to make the move in front of NBA celebrity spectators.
Its a great feeling knowing that people at that level actually realize what youre doing down here, Larkin said. Even though theyre on the professional level, they still have enough respect to come watch college kids.
Larranaga was equally tickled to see the NBA stars enter the building.
They called early in the week, and we told them, Sorry, its sold out, Larranaga joked. Then we said, We think we can fit you in.
Their presence is an invaluable recruiting tool, the coach said, especially at a school that does not have a rich basketball tradition. When you watch an NBA game, the camera pans the sideline and you see celebrities. And for our recruiting purposes, it gives us a lot of credibility [having NBA players courtside]. We tell recruits were a hot ticket in town. Our programs headed in the right direction. Every little bit helps.