One of the more interesting tidbits I’ve heard this week involves Miami sophomore point guard Shane Larkin, recipient of the Everett Case Award as the most valuable player in the ACC Tournament.
I was told that Virginia Tech once expressed interest in Larkin but pulled back after getting commitments from guards Marquis Rankin and Robert Brown for the Class of 2011-2012
I wrote the story when Rankin committed to Tech on April 8, 2010, at which point he was a junior at Vance High School in Charlotte. Rankin subsequently elected to spend his senior year at Hargrave Military Academy, as did Brown, who was from East Ridge High School in Clermont, Fla.
Brown had committed to the Hokies on July 13, 2009, before he had begun his junior year in high school.
Then-Tech coach Seth Greenberg confirms that there was “early” conversation with Larkin, who played at Dr. Phillips High School in Orlando, Fla., but the Hokies were out of the market for a point guard by the time Larkin committed to DePaul on October 19, 2010.
By now, basketball fans should be familiar with Larkin’s story – that he was able to get out of the signed letter-of-intent, citing a family medical issue – and was able not only to enroll at Miami but to have immediate eligibility.
The rivals.com write-up on Larkin, a four-star recruit, reveals that he had taken official visits in the fall of 2010 to Colorado, DePaul, South Florida and Boston College.
Other reported offers were from Alabama, Florida State, Northeastern, Penn State, Rice and Central Florida.
An offer list like that doesn’t always result in a four-star ranking, but clearly Larkin was a four-star player. ACC coaches selected him as the conference player of the year in 2012-2013, a vote the media had taken in support of Virginia Tech’s Erick Green.
Larkin would have made a nice counterpart for Green, but it’s hard to knock the Hokies in this case, other than to say that the jury is still out on Rankin and Brown.
In the piece I wrote when Rankin committed, his father compared him to No. 1 overall draft pick John Wall, not in terms of ability but because of his opportunity to fill a stat sheet with points, assists, steals, etc.
ANOTHER WHAT-IF scenario was raised Friday when Temple defeated North Carolina State 76-72, with the Owls getting 18 points and five rebounds from 6-9 fifth-year transfer forward Jake O’Brien. He was 7 of 9 from the field, including 4-of-6 on 3-pointers.
O’Brien is a former Boston University player who missed the 2011-2012 season due to injury. That was his fourth year at BU and he elected to graduate, meaning he could transfer to another Division I program and play immediately.
O’Brien took a recruiting visit to Virginia before deciding to transfer to Temple, where he played just over 20 minutes per game and averaged 9.3 points and 3.2 rebounds. He was 54-of-126 on 3-pointers and was a weapon that could have helped almost any team.
O’Brien announced his decision while the Cavaliers were on a late-summer trip to Europe and there wasn’t great UVa hand-wringing at his decision. For one thing, O’Brien’s minutes would have taken away from the playing time for freshmen like Evan Nolte and Justin Anderson, and the Cavaliers had to be a little skittish after seeing three underclassmen transfer in 2012.
The previous summer, the Cavaliers had entertained another transfer candidate, Luke Hancock, a former George Mason standout who ended up picking Louisville over the Cavaliers. Hancock has comparable range to O’Brien, going 53-of-142 on 3-pointers through 35 games, and is much more versatile.
Despite starting only eight times, Hancock is fifth on the team in minutes played and is averaging 7.4 points. Hancock began his career at George Mason and said he would not have transferred if Patriots’ coach Jim Larranaga had not gone to Miami.
If allowed, Hancock probably would have given ample consideration to following Larranaga to Miami and just think how he would have done with the Hurricanes this year! The 2008 Hidden Valley graduate ended up picking Louisville over UVa and Michigan.
LOOKING BACK at the recruiting charts, the only signee listed for Miami for the entering class of 2012 was shooting guard Bishop Daniels from Word of God Christian Academy in Raleigh, N.C. (John Wall’s alma mater, by the way).
By the time Larkin received the late waiver, it was way past the signing date, but whatever happened to Daniels? Turns out, he did enroll at Miami and was redshirted in 2011-2012 after suffering a preseason foot injury.
Daniels played in three games this season before electing to leave the team following the first semester. Melvin Johnson, a signee, had been released from his letter-of-intent during the summer.
Those two defections, combined with the six seniors who are completing their eligibility, should present a huge challenge for reigning ACC coach of the year Larranaga next year.