With five seniors among its top six scorers, the ACC champion Miami Hurricanes will look far different in 2013-14. The one player among those six who isn’t due to graduate is sophomore point guard Shane Larkin, who proved to be one of the nation’s best point guards as the season progressed.
Larkin’s skill has put him in position to possibly leave school early to enter the NBA Draft, with many expecting Larkin to be a first round selection.
And in response to a tweet from Jorge Milian of the Palm Beach Post that he would forego his final two seasons of eligibility, Larkin denied the report and announced that he will make his decision public Sunday evening.
In 36 games Larkin averaged 14.5 points, 4.6 assists and 3.8 rebounds per game for the Hurricanes, who won their first-ever ACC title and reached the Sweet 16 of the NCAA tournament.
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If Larkin were to move on to the professional ranks Miami’s leading returning scorer would be rising senior Rion Brown, who averaged 6.4 points per game in 2012-13. Brown would also be the lone returnee to average double-digit minutes (22.2 mpg), with center Tonye Jekiri (6.9 mpg) and forward Erik Swoope (6.0 mpg) being next in line in that regard.
Head coach Jim Larrañaga and his staff have signed two talented shooting guards in the 2013 class, Deandre Burnett and Davon Reed, and both figure to receive plenty of chances to earn playing time given how much Miami loses production-wise.
If Larkin were to return those two would get the chance to learn from one of the nation’s best floor generals. But if he goes, the task of returning to the NCAA tournament becomes incredibly difficult.
Miami hasn’t reached the NCAA tournament in consecutive seasons since making three straight appearances from 1998 to 2000.