Boston Celtics: Shane Larkin
May, 27, 2013
By Chris Forsberg | ESPNBoston.com
Streeter Lecka/Getty ImagesMiami's Shane Larkin goes way back with Celtics coach Doc Rivers.WALTHAM, Mass. -- Boston Celtics coach Doc Rivers has always been brutally honest with his advice for Shane Larkin. Like the time after Rivers' son, Austin, defeated Larkin's high school squad in a Florida state championship hoops battle.
"Doc saw me after the game and said, 'Great game. Just keep doing what you’re doing. I’m glad my son beat you, but at the same time, you’re a great player, you’re going to do great things,'" said Larkin, smiling as he recalled the slightly backhanded compliment in a losing effort. "I have a great relationship with [Doc]. If there’s a chance of being able to play for him in the NBA, that’s just like a dream."
As Orlando residents, Larkin has known Rivers for the better part of a decade, dating back to when he and Austin were teammates on a 9-year-old AAU All-Star team in the early 2000s. The pair soon became the Larry and Magic of local high school hoops, meeting in two state title clashes (Austin's Winter Park twice bested Larkin's Dr. Phillips). The two would even cross paths again in college -- both wearing No. 0 at that level -- in a Duke-Miami showdown two seasons ago. Could coach Rivers' familiarity with Larkin convince the Celtics to consider Larkin with the 16th overall pick in next month's draft?
Larkin was the top-ranked guard of the eight backcourt players the Celtics auditioned over two days of pre-draft workouts at their training facility last week. Larkin is currently ranked the 19th best player (and fourth best point guard) on ESPN.com's Top 100 draft board, and is pegged as a mid first-round pick.
The 5-foot-11 Larkin is undersized, but he has showcased speed (producing the fastest ¾ court sprint at this month's draft combine) and leaping ability (posting the second-highest max vertical ever at 44 inches; he thanks his dancing mother for his hops). But that's not his only athletic pedigree -- his father is 12-time MLB All-Star and Hall of Fame shortstop Barry Larkin, while his uncles were stars on both the hardwood and gridiron -- and there's obvious intrigue in his game giving just his bloodlines.