purple adidas Jim Larranaga on Miami move to Adidas
When Miami coach Jim Larra speaks, it’s hard not to listen. And a day before his Hurricanes were set to host Boston College in a Saturday afternoon ACC matchup that will kick off a busy stretch for his team, Larra had plenty to say about Miami’s new 12 year partnership with Adidas.
While the school’s switch from Nike will undoubtedly impact all of the Hurricanes sports teams in different ways, Larra and women’s basketball coach Katie Meier could face bigger challenges than some of their peers because of the influence shoe companies have over the AAU and high school programs from which Larra and Meier are trying to recruit top notch basketball prospects.
But whether recruiting just got harder or not, Larra said Friday he was pleased with the school’s move to Adidas and has been sharing details about the move and its perks with his players.
“Now that creates some excitement that the coaches are sharing with the players about the direction we’re going in and why we made that decision as an athletic department and what it will mean to the players that they’ll enjoy,” Larra said. “Now, instead of just having white uniforms, green uniforms, orange uniforms, black uniforms, we’re going to have retro uniforms. We’re going to have gray uniforms. They’re going to outfit you guys. We’re going to have more travel uniforms. We’re going to do things in a first class manner. Players, just like all of us, like gear.”
And then Larra who has coached at the college level since 1977, detailed in typical Larra fashion the history of the “shoe wars,” noting everything from UCLA wearing Adidas during its dynastic run in the 1960s and 70, Miami’s signing an all sports contract with Nike in 1987 and the emergence of Under Armour in recent years.
All of it, he said, is markedly different from his experience as a player.
“When I was in college, you bought your canvas Converse. No one gave them to you and you had one pair,” Larra recalled. “I wore one pair for the whole season. Now kids wear a pair for a week.”
He then brought the conversation back to what he hopes not only his current players, but potential prospects will notice as they go through the recruiting process and that’s that Adidas has already aligned itself with some top notch programs.
“Look at the schools that are wearing Adidas: Kansas, pretty good basketball program. Michigan,
Wisconsin, and now Miami. Add Louisville,” he said. “So you have Kansas, Louisville, Michigan, Wisconsin, and Miami and Adidas is sayingwe want some of the best basketball programs in the country to market our product and that’s basically what we’re doing and that’s a great partnership for us because not only are they doing it at the college level, but they’re doing it at the NBA level. The NBA uniforms are Adidas and there’s nothing more that kids want than great gear.”
Here’s more of what Larra had to say ahead of Saturday’s game against Boston College:
On what he’d tell a Nike kid about why Adidas will work for him at Miami:
“Well one of the things I’ve shared with our point guard recruits is, take a look at the NBA and who’s wearing Adidas. You have three of the best point guards in all of basketball Damien Lillard, Derrick Rose and John Wall they’re in Adidas. We’ve had Shane Larkin, Angel Rodriguez and now a guy like Sheldon McClellan, these guys are great guards. If Adidas is good enough for them or they feel Adidas is the best, there’s no reason you can’t come to the University of Miami and have that same kind of success.”
On whether he’s worried the Hurricanes will look past the Eagles because of a Tuesday night matchup with Duke in Durham:
“I think we all know that we play Duke on Tuesday. But if our players want to compete in the ACC, we emphasize and strongly suggest to them that they emphasize in their own minds, we take each game one game at a time and you prepare for that opponent. Because if you don’t, you’re not going to play well. And the whole key to being good is playing consistently well. Consistency of energy, effort, and execution.”
On whether he’s changed preparation tactics or his practice approach after a double overtime loss against No. 3 Virginia last week:
“I think from my experience, the moment you start changing something it says one of two things: one, I wasn’t doing enough to prepare for the other games or two, this team is so good that I have to change and prepare differently. I never want to send that message to any of my players or coaches or to myself. We’re going to prepare for every opponent exactly the same way. Now, your emotions change. Like I said on Saturday night and all day Sunday,
I was in pain. But by Monday, that pain had turned to anger. And I wanted to use that anger to prepare myself to have a good practice on Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday”
On any potential lineup adjustments after the UVa game and the impending debut of Ivan Cruz Uceda, who has had to sit out half the season because of an eligibility issue:
“Yeah, we’ll change the starting lineup. What’s interesting about that: we are 10 4 and we’ve played the same starting lineup for 14 straight games. The change, we think, is going to help us. But I want to go back in time: our starting lineup that we played for 14 straight games, I didn’t think was going to be our starting lineup when we were in Spain. But we had some things occur that were out of our control. Davon Reed went down with an injury and Deandre Burnett got hurt and he missed four games. Now we’re kind of back at full strength and anticipating adding Ivan Uceda to the rotation. We won’t really know what our Miami basketball team is about this year until that happens. Everything after our Notre Dame game not even the Notre Dame game, because the Notre Dame game is just the starting point where Ivan will get in and he’ll play; OK, how did that work, how do we utilize him? But after that, then we’ll start to know, OK, this is where we are.”
On Meier, whose Hurricanes upset No. 4 Notre Dame on Thursday night:
“Katie Meier was the second person that I spoke to at the University of Miami when I took the job. Shawn Eichorst was the first. He was the athletic director. I accepted the position and was talking with Shawn and I said I’d like to speak to Katie Meier. She was the national coach of the year. She’d already led UM to an ACC championship. She has a great understanding of what a coach needs to do in every category from relationship building on campus, to relationship building with high school AAU coaches, with basketball strategy, recruiting, with public relations. She is very, very well thought of. Everybody that is familiar with the women’s side of the game knows who Katie Meier is and the incredible job she has done here. “