By Eurohoops team / email@example.com
Shane Larkin emerged as the hero of the 2019-20 season that came to an abrupt end, putting Anadolu Efes‘ hopes of a Final Four on hold. Following a new contest-best in scoring in November 2019, Larkin had set out for his MVP journey, though sometimes, life happens.
A knee injury cost him some of his explosiveness this season, but it wasn’t enough to take away from him his star quality. Larkin opened up about the injury and recovery process in his recent interview with Walla’s Arale Weisberg.
“I would not say I was apprehensive (about his injury). I knew that at some point I would get back the feeling from last season, but it was difficult. The recovery process never runs as smoothly as you anticipate and hope. At first, the doctors told me that three months after the operation I would already be fit to play, and that was supposed to happen in September. But the weeks passed and passed, the end of October had already come, and I still did not feel well. It was frustrating. I know it’s basketball, and things like that happen. I’m glad my team got along and gave me time to recover, get back to playing, experience ups and downs. I had to go through these things to get to where I wanted to be. I think I’m coming back to myself now. I’ve been there, but something changed my motivation”, Larkin explained.
The Efes guard admitted he overcame his pain in order to be fit to play during his career-best season.
“I played with a lot of pain, but I had a crazy drive to get to the goal we set for ourselves. I could have had the surgery the summer before, but I didn’t want to get out of the training loop and I wanted to keep up the momentum from the final season. I finished that season at a very high level, and I didn’t want to stop. The corona gave me a chance to take advantage of the long break to take care of myself. “
28-year-old Larkin also discussed playing alongside the “unconventional” Ergin Ataman.
“He’s the most confident coach I’ve worked with, and he gives us a lot of confidence. In the first season, he was really tough, insisted on two workouts a day, and hard workouts, and instilled in us his method. After that, he calmed down more. It’s not that he cleared the way. He flows with us, gives us freedom, shows us that he trusts us and the staff he has built. It is very different from many coaches in Europe, who believe that everything should be under their control and in their own way.”
He also explained the story behind his jersey number choice, reflecting on his own approach to the game and what the “0” in his back means to him.
“When you look at me, I do not look like a basketball player. I’m not the tallest, not the strongest. When I was growing up, no one believed I would get to the NBA from the first round of the draft, that I would win the ACC Championship, that I would reach the Euroleague and break shooting records and be so dominant. So I chose tank top number 0. This number represents the number of people who believed I would get where I did. It’s a tool that motivates me. When I have a weak game, or when it hurts, I look down at my chest, see this story, and it reminds me that even if sometimes it does not go, I must continue to fight and silence everyone.”