UM's Larranaga: The New Zen Master?

Miami hoops coach using Deepak Chopra's Zen teachings to motivate his team

By David Hill
|  Wednesday, Feb 15, 2012  |  Updated 2:59 PM EDT
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Larranaga Introduced as U of Miami's Head Basketball Coach

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Larranaga Introduced as U of Miami's Head Basketball Coach

Former George Mason University basketball coach Jim Larranaga was introduced as Miami's new head coach at a press conference Friday evening. Watch it here.
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On the eve of tonight's matchup against the 8th-ranked UNC Tar Heels, Miami Hurricanes basketball coach Jim Larranaga tried out a different type of motivational technique on his team leaders. Larranaga recited his own adaptation of Deepak Chopra's Zen philosophy to guards Malcolm Grant and Durand Scott in hopes of clearing their minds.

 
Speaking with an affected Indian accent, Larranaga told Grant and Scott, "Birds don’t try to fly, they just fly. Fish don’t try to swim, they just swim. Shooters don’t try to shoot, they just shoot."
 
That last bit about shooters was added by Larranaga himself. Grant was the team's top scorer early in the year, but has shot 20 percent over the Canes' last four games. He wants to bolster Grant's confidence, and reiterate that his recent cold streak is just a temporary blip on the radar.
 
Worried that the Canes could be anticipating this matchup a little too much, Larranaga's message was simple: Basketball is fun, don't worry too much about the stakes. "What we should be doing is enjoying the process," he told The Miami Herald about the meeting.
 
"When you put too much pressure on yourself and get all stressed out about winning and losing, you're really losing focus," he added.
 
And even if the Canes do lose to the Heels, it's just one game. "Yes, this game is big," he concluded, "but we won't get three W's for a win, it's still just one."
 
Now that former Lakers and Bulls coach Phil Jackson is retired, perhaps Larranaga can be called the new "Zen Master." He may want to lose the Indian accent though. It makes him look less like Jackson and more like Michael Scott, Steve Carell's character from the US version of "The Office."
 
Tipoff is at 8 p.m., and the game will be aired on ESPN.

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