Shane Larkin, the Miami sophomore guard, didn’t win ACC Player of the Year honors, which many thought he deserved. Perhaps motivated by the snub, Larkin during the ACC tournament proved himself even more than he already had in the regular season.
After leading the Hurricanes to an 87-77 victory against North Carolina in the championship game on Sunday, Larkin was named the tournament’s most outstanding player. He averaged 23.7 points per game during the tournament, and scored a career-high 28 points in the victory against the Tar Heels.
“Shane Larkin is a pro,” Roy Williams, the UNC coach, said after Larkin scored eight of his 20 points in the final two minutes and 21 seconds. “ That’s not a sly way of me trying to get him to leave by any means. I wish he would catch a 24-hour cold when they play us.”
Larkin said he tries to pattern his game after Chris Paul, former Wake Forest standout and NBA all-star. Larkin produced several Paul-like moments – whether on the outside, where he made four 3-pointers on Sunday, or driving to the basket.
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Joining Larkin on the all-ACC tournament first team were UNC’s Reggie Bullock and P.J. Hairston, Maryland’s Dez Wells and Miami’s Durand Scott. On the second team: Miami’s Julian Gamble and Trey McKinney Jones, UNC’s Marcus Paige, Boston College’s Olivier Hanlan and N.C. State’s Scott Wood.
GAMBLE PAYS OFF: Miami forward Julian Gamble had to petition the NCAA for a sixth year of eligibility after knee surgery knocked him out of the entire 2011-12 season. He was a role player for most of his career, but the Southern Durham product emerged as a critical component of the Hurricanes’ rotation this season, and he was rewarded for his perseverance Sunday.
“It’s just an incredible experience,” Gamble said. “It’s something I definitely didn’t take for granted, the opportunity to even be in this position, let alone to be able to capitalize and win the ACC tournament. It feels great to have done it in front of my mom and nephew and family and friends.”
HAIRSTON’S HAND HOLDS UP: The way P.J. Hairston shot on Sunday, maybe he’ll want to continue to leave his left hand bandaged and taped. It has been since Friday, when he suffered a deep cut between his left ring and middle fingers.
“I can only move it so much,” Hairston said. “But at the same time it’s not my shooting hand. I keep this hand for a guide hand anyway. So (the trainer) kind of taped it to where my hand is already like this on the ball, so when I catch it I can go straight up.”
Hairston’s six 3-pointers all came during the first 25 minutes on Sunday.