Dave Hyde: Jim Larrañaga showing why he's one of South Florida's greatest sports hires
Published in Basketball
CORAL GABLES, Fla. — Here’s how Jim Larrañaga prepares for the biggest game of his big life: He opens his office door as he’s in mid-discussion with his coaching staff and gives a come-on-in wave to the visitor standing outside.
“You’ll like this,” he says.
He points me to a place on the sofa beside him.
“We’re talking about how to defend [Connecticut center] Adama Sanogo‚” he said. “Do we play behind him? Do we front him? Do we double-team him? Would that leave a very good 3-point shooting team too open?”
He looks at assistants Bill Courtney, DJ Irving an Kotie Kimble.
“Where were we?” Larrañaga asks.
For the next several minutes, they discuss their options in what’s the marinating meat of this Final Four madness, the kind of strategy session that could decide the game Larrañaga knows might not come again, the one he’s waited nearly two decades just to come around a second time.
A staffer pokes his head in the door several minutes later and says, “Coach, they’re waiting ...”
CBS, ESPN and NBC Nightly News have camera crews on the court. He needs another minute to review the listed practice schedule that comes with a daily thought — Larrañaga always has a daily thought to discuss to his team — and this day’s is: “Success is not the key to happiness; happiness is the key to success.”
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