Unless you've been trapped under a rock for the past two days, you've probably heard about the relative hurricane of pressure bearing down on the University of Miami's athletic department. On Tuesday, a Yahoo! Sports investigation unearthed literally thousands of illegal benefits handed out from a "rogue" program sponsor to Miami athletes. Among them were elaborate parties where strippers were provided for underage recruits and at least one case of a Miami-area stripper getting an abortion after she was impregnated by a University of Miami player.
Yuck. Needless to say, it hasn't been a good couple of days for "The U".
Still, amidst all the dark clouds, Miami did get one piece of good news just a day before the scandal broke, when the basketball program added a late, prominent recruit to its class of 2011. According to the Orlando Sentinel, Shane Larkin, the son of longtime Cincinnati Reds shortstop Barry Larkin, signed scholarship papers to join the Hurricanes after withdrawing from summer school at DePaul, where he had planned to play.
The Sentinel reported that Larkin's surprising and sudden departure from DePaul was due to undisclosed health issues, with the Larkin family deciding that he would be better served a program closer to his Orlando home.
Still, there are other reasons why Miami appears to be a good fit for the highly touted point guard, who was a member of the Rivals150 for the Class of 2011. Before committing to DePaul, one of the programs which had recruited Larkin most ardently was George Mason, a drive which was keyed by head coach Jim Larranaga.
Now, Larranaga is the new coach at Miami, taking over for Frank Haith, who is now leading the Missouri program. The former George Mason head man brought nearly his entire staff with him to Miami, and when Larkin began sniffing around for a new spot to land after deciding to leave DePaul, Miami instantly became an obvious option.
"It's the exact same staff other than the strength and conditioning coach, and I really like them," Larkin told the Sentinel. "Coach Larranaga always had great schemes, and I think he has an even better relationship with his players. He's a people person. His players trust him, and he shows he trusts them. He'll always let you play your game. As long as you're being productive, he's going to be cool with it."
Indeed, Larranaga will be cool with adding Larkin to his arsenal … if he's allowed to. The freshman is technically expected to sit out a season per NCAA rules that require one to miss an entire campaign when transferring between Division I programs, a factor which applies to Larkin because he was already enrolled in summer classes at DePaul. Nonetheless, both the player and program expressed optimism that he would be granted a waiver and would be allowed to play this fall since he had yet to participate in any games or official off season trips with the Blue Demons.
While Larkin won't disclose any further information about the medical condition that necessitated the transfer, he insisted he was excited to be a Miami Hurricane and was eager to continue working on his game with a new program. He was scheduled to arrive on campus in time for first year student orientation on Thursday.
That's a heck of a time for a prized recruit to show up on campus, though it has to be considered a testament to Larkin's faith in the program that he wants to be at Miami, even when the program is being dragged through the mud as badly as any in recent memory.