Terry Larrier: Man on a Mission
As a formidable high school recruit from The Bronx, Terry Larrier garnered interest from colleges nationwide. While attending The Phelps School (Pa.), Larrier ended his recruitment with a commitment to Virginia Commonwealth University in the Atlantic 10 Conference.
His first NCAA season, 2014-15, concluded with promise as he averaged 6.6 points and 3.0 rebounds per game in 36 contests. As head coach Shaka Smart departed after the year for the University of Texas, Larrier also decided a move was in his best interest.
Fast forward two years and Larrier is now a Connecticut Husky, poised to display his skill set at college basketball's highest level. Coming off a season where he was forced to watch from the sidelines - due NCAA transfer regulations - Larrier is now back in action in 2016-17.
Friday's home opener versus Wagner will be Larrier's first game in a UConn uniform. Yet on a team that boasts three talented seniors, it's a red shirt sophomore that is tasked with a vital role.
"Coach [Kevin] Ollie wants me to be a leader," Larrier told Gotham Hoops. "He wants me to go out and play my game."
At 6-foot-8 Larrier is a tough match-up for any opponent. He's a hybrid athlete, a multi-dimensional player with a myriad of skills. Larrier handles the ball like a guard, shoots with efficiency beyond the arc and finishes above the rim with ease.
With a dynamic skill-set, Larrier is on a mission this season: "I want to showcase I'm the best player on the floor each and every night."
As a world of responsibility awaits him heading into a new season, Larrier can't help but think what the future has in store for him. And for that, he has a close friend to speak with about the process from college to the pros.
Larrier and current Brooklyn Nets forward Chris McCullough were teammates with the PSA Cardinals, a New York City-based AAU program.
"He's a close friend so there's motivation there," said Larrier.
Larrier recalled the excitement he felt watching the 2015 NBA Draft, in which the Nets tabbed McCullough in the 1st round. And on the opportunity of potentially joining his friend in the league, Larrier says "it would definitely mean a lot."
As someone who has seen Larrier grow over the years, PSA Cardinals director Terrance "Munch" Williams knows his former player is heading in the right direction.
Larrier joined the program in 2011 initially focused on improving his grades rather than his game. In doing so, "[Larrier] became a mentor to a lot of other young men behind him," said Williams.
As someone forced to overcome obstacles at a young age, Williams credits Larrier's ability to do so because of a high character. This quality is a reason why Larrier's former AAU coach and longtime mentor believes in his potential: "I'm excited for his future as a person."
As Larrier represents UConn on the hardwood this season he'll do so with a mentality of "doing whatever it takes to win." A common trait found among successful athletes and people.