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Jim Larranaga, Miami Men's Basketball Head Coach

Zach Gleb Show / Zach Gleb
The Truth Network Radio
March 14, 2023 8:54 pm

Jim Larranaga, Miami Men's Basketball Head Coach

Zach Gleb Show / Zach Gleb

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March 14, 2023 8:54 pm

Jim Larranaga joined Zach to discuss if this is the best team he's ever coached and why this year's squad has the perfect balance of experience and youth. 

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Auto Trader. We continue this at Kelp Show Coast to Coast on CBS Sports Radio. We all remember the great run the Hurricanes of Miami had last year in the NCAA tournament, making it to the Elite Eight. The Hurricanes are back in the big dance and they will do battle coming up on Friday at 7 25 PM Eastern.

This go around as a fifth seed as they'll play 12 seed Drake. And now joining us is the head coach of the Miami Hurricanes in Jim Lara Nega. Coach Congrats.

Another trip to the NCAA tournament. Appreciate you doing this. It's my pleasure and we are also very excited representing the ACC as the regular season coach champion coach.

I love the videos that I saw of you on Sunday. The game just looks like it ever gets old to you. It seems like you enjoy this more than ever.

Would you agree with that statement? Yeah, you know at my age you appreciate every opportunity. I coached in the mid-majors for 25 years and getting to the NCAA tournament was extremely difficult.

Now coaching in the ACC, I really appreciate the opportunity to go there in back-to-back years and five years since I've been at Miami. Why are you still able to connect with your players? Because you wonder when you get a little bit older and you're dealing with kids that are in their teenage years if you are going to be able to connect with them. Why do you think that that part of the game has always been able to keep you fresh?

Well, I would say this. I'm a teacher at heart. I love working with the players.

I love practice. I love seeing guys improve and I think the players appreciate when I'm helping them. They don't always listen to what I have to say but I demonstrate my knowledge and experience by showing them videos of players they like. So I might send a player a highlight tape of someone like Hakeem Olajuwon. I might send them a tape of Rip Hamilton and they'll often text me back and say, oh I really like that tape.

Who is that guy? So they enjoy it and I enjoy hanging out with them. Now as we're talking about on the sideline obviously this is so exciting for you. I know you just signed a new contract through 2026. How much longer do you plan on coaching? Well honestly, you know, you never know when you're done until you're done and right now I'm just enjoying coaching too much. I'm just going to keep doing it as long as I can. When the day comes when I feel like, you know, I've had enough I'm going to retire but I don't have any other hobbies. So basketball has been my life and it's also been my hobby. I try to get better every year and I try to help my coaches and players achieve their goals and and realize their dreams. So I'm just going to keep doing it as long as I can. Jim Beyheim is 77 years old.

He's a lot older than me and he kept doing it. We've seen some coaches, Jim Lyronaga though, retire because maybe they don't want to deal with NIL and the transfer portal. How have you adapted to those changes in the game?

Well I always said, you know, just tell me what the rules are and I'll follow the rules. You know, transfer portal. Well we've had transfers during the course of my career that have transferred, set out a year and did great for us. And most recently with the portal they didn't have to sit out the year but guys like Charlie Moore and Jordan Miller, this year Northshad O'Mear and Nigel Pack, they fit into our program beautifully and have helped us stay very relevant.

In NIL, I'm not involved in that at all. You know, so I tell our players get yourself an agent and negotiate. Find people who want to sponsor you and that's what our guys have done.

Jim Lyronaga here with us. What does a player transferring into Miami or joining Miami as a freshman need to understand about your culture and what you expect out of them? Yeah, very simply we have a philosophy that we greatly believe. And number one, we want players who have a positive attitude.

We say life is 10% what happens to you and 90% how you react to it. Second, we want them to make a total commitment to being the best that they can be on the court and in the classroom. And third, we always want them to behave in a first-class manner to be role models in our community. And the players who come in, you just look at Jordan Miller who transferred in from George Mason, he's a perfect role model.

If you listen to his interviews, he's smart, he's articulate, he's friendly, he's engaging and that goes, that's goes doubly for Northshad O'Mear, Nigel Pack, Isaiah Wong. So, you know, we've got great kids and they represent our program very well. Talking to Jim Lyronaga, they will go up against Drake in Miami, a fifth seed back in the NCAA tournament. Coach, we know last year you guys went on a great run as a 10 seed all the way to the Elite Eight. What did that experience mean for your kids and could it be a benefit when the ball goes up in the air and you start a new chapter of the NCAA tournament coming up on Friday? Well, we have seven returning players who remember very well the run, but we also have six newcomers, two transfers and four freshmen.

So, the kind of the balance has been very helpful to us. We've got a good blend of experience with youthful enthusiasm and hopefully that will be beneficial to us Friday night, but we also know Drake is a real veteran team. Their guys are our fourth-year seniors, fifth-year seniors. They got the player of the year in DeVries. They're an excellent team, an excellent program. Coach DeVries has done a great job.

They're winning 20 games or more every year, so it should be a great matchup. You talked about Tucker and then also his dad. You know, you have the the coach and player relationship and that being father-son. You've gone through that in your life coaching your kids before.

How do you kind of reflect on that experience? Because I've had some coaches coach Jim Lyram and they could tell me they love it and then other coaches say it gets a little bit difficult when you have to coach your own kid. Well, here's what I would tell you and it's something that Dick Bennett who coached his son Tony Bennett told me when my sons were thinking about coming to play for me. He said when you win and your son plays really well, there's no better feeling. He said if you win but your son doesn't play so well, well at least you won so you feel pretty good.

If you lose but your son plays really well, you say well at least my son played really good and then if you lose and your son plays bad, there's no worse feeling. So you know with Coach DeVries, they've done a lot of winning and his son has played great so he doesn't have too many worries. Coach, Jim Lyrenaga, for the players that have returned to your program, they have the experience of going to an Elite Eight but how is it tricky to kind of make this a new season because a lot of times you have guys that have been a part of that run, their goal the entire year is to not only get back to that spot but improve on it. And that's really the the vision that we have. We have a lot of guys who loved the experience last year of getting to the Elite Eight and this year they they want to do it again and if they possibly can go even further.

And the newcomers are you know all into that. They love the idea that we've made the NCAA that we're the regular season ACC champs and they're just excited about playing Friday for the first time representing the University of Miami in the Big Dance. There's always going to be people that associate you with the legendary run that you did go on with George Mason to the Final Four. You've now been at Miami since 2011. How do you kind of look back at this chapter of you being the head coach of the Hurricanes and what do you want people to know about it? Well I spent 14 years at George Mason and loved every minute of it. We had some some great runs.

But I've been at Miami 12 years and I'm hoping to surpass my run at George Mason with my run at the University of Miami. And every year is such a different year. We've got different players, different teams. But I look at our championship team in 12-13 with Shane Larkin, Durand Scott and those guys.

It's kind of a great life experience that there'd be nothing better than to repeat that. And we were able to to win another regular season title 10 years later but it'd be great to go on another great run like we did last year. Do you feel like this is maybe the best team you've ever coached? Well when we're 100% healthy we're awfully hard to beat. But when we lost to Florida State we didn't have Nigel Pack.

When we lost to Duke we didn't have Northshad O'Mear. So we got to hope that we can get 100% healthy and play our best basketball during March Madness. So we're excited. We got our fingers crossed. But hopefully everybody can stay healthy or get healthy. You mentioned the injury to Northshad O'Mear. What are the chances that we see him on the court Friday with that ankle injury?

Well I've got my fingers crossed. He's working very very hard. We got a great trainer in Sam Johnson. He's spending a ton of time with Northshad. Northshad is very very focused on rehabbing the ankle and hopefully you know he didn't practice yesterday or today so he's still got a ways to go. But hopefully by Friday you know we'll get the thumbs up.

If you guys don't get the good news that you're looking for how do you plan to kind of replace him? Well it's really in the hands of Anthony Walker and AJ Casey. Those are the guys who backed up Northshad all season. But we match up pretty well at most positions.

They're big guy Brody. We just don't have anybody with that size of bulk. He weighs 275 so it's hard to match up with him. But we got a number of guys that will chip in and we can score the ball pretty well. Even against Duke without Northshad we scored 78 points.

So hopefully we can have a very good offensive day and do a great job defensively. Coach before we let you run last year I got a chance to spend a few minutes with Isaiah Wong. I was really impressed with him and we all know he's been in your program for four years at a monster season and really came on to the scene in 2020. How have you seen him get better from that great sophomore season that he had a few years ago? Yeah when Isaiah came in as a freshman he was about 6'2", 162 pounds.

He's now like 6'3'' and change 185. He's strong as can be. His offensive game as good as it was as a freshman top more he's just expanded it. He's a terrific three-point shooter. He's really finding the open man and facilitating. His defense is better. So he's just improved. There's a really good reason why he's the ACC Player of the Year and an All-American.

So I love Isaiah. He's just so much fun to be around and to coach. Coach good luck coming up on Friday.

We're looking forward to another run for the Hurricanes. We appreciate the time. Thank you. My pleasure.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-03-14 22:36:34 / 2023-03-14 22:41:41 / 5

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