Shane Larkin initially wanted to play baseball like his Hall of Fame father Barry, but after a Little League coach told him his swing was all wrong, the seven-year-old gave up baseball for good. After becoming the No. 18 pick in the 2013 NBA Draft, it's clear Larkin made the right choice 13 years ago.
Larkin, who earned second-team All-American honors as a sophomore playing for a senior-laden Miami team in 2012-13, will begin his career as a member of the Dallas Mavericks. He comes from a family littered with former high-level college and professional athletes.
Larkin's uncle Byron, who played hoops at Xavier in the mid-1980s and became the school's career scoring leader, never got the opportunity that nephew Shane figures to get at the next level. Another one of Larkin's uncles, Stephen, stuck with baseball and ultimately made it to the big leagues, albeit only for one game in 1998. (Fun fact: that game featured two sets of brothers starting in the Reds' infield. Stephen played first with Barry at shortstop, while brothers Aaron and Bret Boone started at third and second base, respectively.) Barry, of course, carries the largest set of accomplishments in the Larkin family. He was a 12-time All-Star selection and won an MVP during his 19 star-studded years in a Cincinnati Reds uniform.
Shane originally committed to DePaul, but transferred to Coral Gables prior to his freshman season. It proved to be a wise decision as Larkin emerged as the best player for the Hurricanes, who rose to the top of the college basketball world during the regular season before eventually falling to Marquette in the Sweet 16. He led the team with 14.5 points and 4.6 assists per game. Against North Carolina in the ACC Championship Game, Larkin poured in a season-high 28 points and dished out seven assists to help Miami to its first conference title.
Larkin will attempt to carry his success to the next level where, at 5'11, and 175 pounds, he'll face players much bigger than him on a regular basis. He is aware of the size concerns, but told Steve Luhm of the Salt Lake Tribune that he's trying to prove he can succeed against bigger players during workouts.
"I was the shortest guy out there, so that’s good. I had to go out and show I can play against bigger players … That’s one of the questions about me. Can I play against bigger guys? So it was good to go out and try to prove that I can."
Larkin won't be able to count on his bloodlines once he's on the floor for the Mavericks this fall. However, that's something he's never relied on before. In fact, his unique situation has made him work harder over the years, as his legendary father told USA Today in February:
"Growing up the son of a major league player, Shane used to get so incredibly upset when people said he was only given opportunities because of who his father was or because he had money or whatever. Those things motivated him, and I think Shane does an incredible job of working really hard."
All-American, conference champion, NCAA Tournament participant. That's a partial list of Larkin's basketball accomplishments. Now you can add first round NBA draft pick to the list. Not bad for the son of a baseball player.