During his decorated coaching career, Jim Larranaga has never been afraid to recruit undersized players.
Since taking over at Miami, Larranaga has guided the program to two Sweet 16 appearances with smallish point guards Shane Larkin and Angel Rodriguez at the helm.
This season, Canes fans are falling in love with the next talented prospect in that mold.
Freshman point guard Chris Lykes arrived at Miami as the No. 12 player at his position according to ESPN. The 5-foot-7 phenom was heavily on Larranaga’s radar, so when he was able to land him, he made a promise that will be fulfilled on Saturday.
No. 6 Miami will travel to face George Washington on Dec. 16 in a homecoming for Lykes, a D.C. native.
The electrifying Lykes has been a spark plug off the bench for the Canes, averaging seven points during the team’s 8-0 start.
In a story by Miami Herald reporter Michelle Kaufman, Larranaga said height is the only difference between Lykes and the man many compare to be the greatest basketball player of all-time.
“Chris Lykes has a dynamic game, meaning his speed, quickness, and jumping ability,” Larrañaga said. “If he were 6-5 or 6-6, he’d be Michael Jordan. That’s how dynamic he is.”
Larranaga raves that what Lykes lacks in stature, he more than makes up for in desire and will.
“It doesn’t matter your height, what matters is the size of your heart in terms of what you’re capable of doing with your talent,” Larrañaga said. “With his talent, he needs to be a nuisance on defense, and he needs to push the tempo on offense. He needs to look for his three-point shots, but also look to penetrate and pitch. He’s very capable of doing that.”
Lykes has spent his whole life being doubted, so merely playing in the ACC doesn’t satisfy him.
He’s out to prove he belongs.
Lykes’ solid start to his collegiate career certainly makes a strong case.
“Nobody’s told me directly to my face, but I’ve heard people say, especially when I walk on the court, I can hear it, guys joking, ‘What is he, one of the trainers? Team manager?’” Lykes said. “But I just try to show my game. I knew I was going to be small my whole life. No reason to complain about it, just make the best you can of it. I wasn’t going to let anyone tell me no. It just built a fire inside me, motivation. I want to show you I can be on the court.”
The post Jim Larranaga raves about his 5’7 freshman: ‘If he were 6-5 or 6-6, he’d be Michael Jordan’ appeared first on Diehards.
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