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Dad says Larkin leaning strongly toward NBA

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MIAMI (AP) - Miami Hurricanes sophomore Shane Larkin is leaning strongly toward turning pro and will declare for the NBA draft unless he has a last-minute change of heart, his father said.

Baseball Hall of Famer Barry Larkin said he spoke Friday with his son, who plans to announce his decision at a news conference Sunday.

``All indications are he's going into the draft, unless he has an epiphany,'' the elder Larkin said. ``All of the information he has received is that this is the time for him to come out. He's not 100-percent committed. He wants to talk to the coaches first. But if nothing changes, he's going to declare for the draft.''

Larkin blossomed this past season at point guard, helping attract sellout crowds and national attention for a Hurricanes program perennially overshadowed by college football and South Florida's four professional sports teams.

Miami won the Atlantic Coast Conference and the league tournament, both for the first time. Larkin finished sixth in voting for the John R. Wooden Award and made The Associated Press All-America second team.

NBA advisers have told the 5-foot-10 1/2 Larkin they project him to be drafted somewhere from the middle of the first round to early in the second round, Barry Larkin said.

``It's a business decision at this point,'' the elder Larkin said.

Larkin said his son would leave the Hurricanes with reluctance.

``The thing that's pulling at his heartstring is the coaches and student body,'' Larkin said. ``He loves Miami. He was kind of emotional when I talked to him, and Shane is not usually an emotional guy.''

Before making an announcement, Larkin wants to talk with Miami coach Jim Larranaga, who is out of town recruiting until Sunday, Barry Larkin said.

Shane Larkin was the lone underclassman last season among the Hurricanes' top six players, which ensures lots of turnover regardless of whether he returns.

``He doesn't really know what he would be going back to and who's going to be on the team,'' Barry Larkin said.

The Associated Press News Service

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The Associated Press
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