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Jim Larranaga | Miami Hurricanes Basketball Head Coach

Amy Lawrence Show / Amy Lawrence
The Truth Network Radio
March 14, 2023 6:01 am

Jim Larranaga | Miami Hurricanes Basketball Head Coach

Amy Lawrence Show / Amy Lawrence

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March 14, 2023 6:01 am

Head Coach of the Miami Hurricanes Jim Larranaga joins the show!

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Learn more at today. Jim Laranig, a long-time head coach. He is a character. He's a great personality. He is bold in his opinions and also his passion for college basketball and for the Canes. Coach, why is it special every time it happens? Because you've been around college basketball for a long time. You've been with multiple programs and yet there's still such joy, such passion as you watch your students experience the selection show and ultimately the tournament. You know, I coached at the mid-major level for 25 years and it was very, very hard to make the NCAA tournament as a mid-major coach.

And I learned every time we got there to really enjoy that experience, never take it for granted. When I moved to the ACC at Miami, we've gotten there pretty regularly. But still, it's a once-in-a-lifetime experience for this team. We have some guys back from last year.

It's an entirely different season. We've won the regular season championship. And now we're extremely excited to be a five seed playing Drake on Friday night. So the Canes are a five seed coming out of the ACC and there's talk that the conference is not as good this year.

Though some really strong schools at the top. Once again, what is special about ACC basketball coach? I grew up an ACC fan. You know, I followed North Carolina and Duke as a teenager. And when I got to be an assistant coach in the ACC at the University of Virginia, I absolutely loved it.

I thought I died and went to heaven. Every game was against NBA players. These guys, Michael Jordan, James Worthy, Lenny Bias. We had so many great players in the league. At Virginia, we had Ralph Sampson, Jeff Lamp, Olden Polanese, all first round draft picks.

Ralph was the first player chosen. So my feeling is the ACC is the best basketball conference in America. And to see us only get five teams in to see a team like Clemson that went 14 and six left out. I was telling my coaches today that when I was at Virginia, we went six and eight. Got invited and went to the Final Four in 1984 for a team to go 14 and six and not be invited.

Boy, have times changed. How does playing an ACC schedule, regardless of records or teams in the tournament, prepare you for what's to come on the next stage? Now, the one thing that I think is very, very different than some of the other leagues. Every coach in our league almost has a different style. And you've got to prepare for that next team one game at a time. You might be playing Jim Boeheim, Syracuse' team that's playing the 2-3 zone. And then next night be playing against Tony Bennett's pack line defense or that next weekend play.

Kevin Keats is pressure man to man. So every game preparation is different and your players have to adjust to that. Our league now has 20 games, 10 at home, 10 on the road. It's a grind. It's a marathon. And I'm so proud of our guys for winning with co champs with Virginia for the regular season title.

Our guys did a great job. Okay, you're going to laugh at me at this next question and then we'll get back to the ACC. I have heard your last name pronounced multiple ways. Coach, how do you pronounce your last name? Okay, so the correct pronunciation, because the N in my last name has an enye, a tilde. It's an accent mark. And the correct pronunciation is la reƱaga. It's Cuban. Okay. But when I was in kindergarten, my I went to a Catholic school and the nun couldn't pronounce it correctly.

When I try to correct the which you don't do in Catholic schools. She said to me, No, I think it's Lara Nega. From then on, all my friends call me Lara Nega. My coaches call me Lara Nega. All my teachers call me Lara Nega. So I just I gave in and just said, okay, I'm Jim Lara Nega. Would you like me to use Lara Nega?

Well, no, I think whatever you use is comfortable because in my family, there are six children and not one of us pronounce our last name the same. I'm so glad I asked. I thought you were going to think less of me, but I'm so glad I got that story. All right, we're going to go with we're going to go with what everyone else calls you right now. Coach Lara Nega is with us here from Miami men's basketball getting set for the tournament of five seed against the Drake Bulldogs.

After hours here on CBS Sports Radio. Just quickly before we move on, you mentioned Jim Boeheim. There have been a couple of very high profile exits of Hall of Fame coaches from your conference in the last couple years.

Why do you continue to do it? Well, first of all, those guys are legendary. They're Hall of Famers like Mike Krzyzewski, Roy Williams and Jim Boeheim. But for me, there's been so many changes in college basketball with the transfer portal with NIL with with teams and programs jumping leagues.

But I've said this all along. Just tell me what the rules are. I'm just going to follow them and we'll do the best we can because I love coaching. I love being with my players. I love practice. I love hanging out with the guys today. We finished practice and half the guys just stayed and we're shooting and having fun.

And I just stayed to watch them enjoy themselves. So, you know, I enjoy my job. I like the day to day activity and I don't have a lot of other hobbies. So I'm not planning to retire anytime soon.

There you go. How is Norah Chad O'Mear's ankle? That's the question people keep asking you, coach.

Yeah, I keep asking our trainer and he keeps telling me to say, well, we're treating it. We'll see. He's getting better.

You know, we won't know for several days. You know, I said this, Derek Lively should have been MVP of the ACC tournament because Norah Chad O'Mear came down with a missed free throw rebound and landed on his foot. I don't know what would have happened if Norah Chad had stayed healthy.

That could have been us moving on instead of Duke because Norah Chad is such a big factor. He's such a warrior, such a great kid. So sad for him not to have been able to play in that semi-final. Incredible leaping ability, too. So I hope that he's able to get out there and play with that explosiveness. What is your favorite thing about Isaiah Wong's game?

Isaiah Wong is the ACC Player of the Year for good reason. He is so good at so many different things. He scores the ball, driving it to the basket, getting fouled, making free throws, shooting threes. He's a great kid to be around. He works really hard at the defensive end of the floor.

And he's someone that's cool, calm, and collected. He practices and plays the same way every single day. You never have to push him or encourage him or inspire him because he's just so highly motivated. He loves basketball. He loves competing.

And he is one great competitor. How much does experience matter when you get to the tournament? I'd like to say it requires a lot and it's really valuable, except the team we're playing has so much of it.

Their point guard is like 25 years old. We know from our past experiences that having older guys, veteran guys who have played in the NCAA tournament before, can be very beneficial. But really, what I tell my team, it doesn't matter who we play or where we play. What does matter is how we play.

Do we execute our game plan better than our opponent executes its game plan? And when you're in the NCAA tournament, everybody is really good. Drake has a great team. We've got a great team. It'll be a great matchup come Friday night.

Looking forward to it. Coach Jim Laronega of Miami with us here after hours, CBS Sports Radio. Tucker DeVries could have played a lot of different places, wants to play with his dad, which is such a cool story. So the Bulldogs obviously have an incredible talent themselves.

What have you seen with Tucker so far? Well, I coach both my sons. You might think, oh, that's great. That's easy.

The family stays together. But I guarantee you that what Dick Bennett told me many years ago is very true. The greatest feeling is your son plays well and you win. If you lose, but your son still plays great. OK, you can hang your hand on that. If your son has an off day but you win. OK, that's still pretty good. We want the worst night or if your son plays bad and you lose, then everybody's crying.

It's miserable. But I think Tucker Tucker DeVries is an outstanding player at both ends of the court. I've got outstanding skills shooting the three, handling the ball, driving to the basket, posting up. He's got all the skills. And that's why he was the Missouri Valley Conference Player of the Year. These three weeks where as a nation, a lot of fans live, sleep, eat, breathe basketball.

Of course, the schools do as well. I don't know, coach. There's always talk about expanding it, changing the tournament. To me, it feels like the perfect three weeks in sports. Well, I think we can keep it the same three weeks in sports, but we we should really expand to 96 teams. It doesn't make any sense to me that so many of these good teams, teams with very good records in the league, like a Clemson, like a Wake Forest are left out of the dance because once you get in there, depending on your matchup, you can go on a roll.

And I always thought the NCAA was about giving student athletes a great life experience. And so few of the 363 Division one teams make it. There's only 68 at 363. That's only 18 percent. If you look at football going to bowl games, half of the football programs go to a bowl. We don't even come close to half that 18 percent going. I think we should expand to 96.

And I don't think you even have to add a day. You just you just do what we've been doing instead of the first four. You have a whole nother round. I've all I've suggested already that first that first round should be the 64 at large teams match up and play each other.

And then the 32 teams that that survive play against the 32 champions and then move on. Well, thank you for sharing that with us. You make a great point about so many other schools that are left out. So I'll end with this then, coach. What is special about this experience?

Why is it so important for students to go through this and experience this? Well, I've said the NCAA basketball tournament is the greatest sporting event in the world because it does last three weeks. And it's so unpredictable. It's like a reality show.

You don't know what's going to happen. And the unexpected happens all the time. You have had low seeds beating high seed every year. You have a Cinderella story almost every season. I experienced that at George Mason in 2006 when a lot of experts said we didn't belong. And we went all the way to Indianapolis to the final four.

I remember. You know, if they didn't give us that opportunity, that experience never would have happened. I just think there's so many good teams and there's so many good players. And now with the transfer portal, there's a lot of things you don't even know how good they are until, like February, because there's so many new players. My roster. I have seven veterans and six newcomers. There are teams in our league in the ATC with nine new players. So getting off to a great start is not that easy.

And yet your body of work is what everybody talks about. Your games in November count as much as your games in February. It's such a great honor to have you on the show again. Coach Jim Laronega of Miami getting set to take on the Drake Bulldogs in Albany on Friday, hoping for good health for you. But also thank you for sharing your joy and your passion for the sport with us, coach. Thanks, Amy, for including me in your show.

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Whisper: medium.en / 2023-03-14 06:21:59 / 2023-03-14 06:27:45 / 6

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