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Shane Larkin with familiar faces at Celtics workout

Shane Larkin is a projected first-rounder.Getty Images/File

WALTHAM — Familiar faces surrounded Shane Larkin.

There was Jay Larranaga, a Celtics assistant, whose father, Jim, coached Larkin at the University of Miami.

And Doc Rivers, the Celtics’ coach, who has known Larkin since he was 8 years old.

And Brandon Bailey, a Celtics video coordinator who, like Larkin, was formerly at DePaul University.

All the familiarity made Larkin much more comfortable during his first workout for an NBA team, which was held Saturday at the Celtics’ practice facility.

“It just feels right, coming up here,” Larkin said after the workout. “Hopefully, there’s a chance I can come up here and play up here. But it was good, knowing those people coming into this workout.”


Larkin was one of 12 draft prospects — and one of six point guards — that the Celtics brought in for workouts over a two-day period. Many draft experts have him pegged to be picked in the first round of the June 27 draft, in which the Celtics have only the No. 16 pick.

But the Celtics — and specifically Larranaga and Rivers — had seen Larkin up close before Saturday.

Knowing that, Larkin said he just showed off his athleticism, defense, and work ethic, especially because he’s 5 feet 11 inches, on the shorter side for his position.

“I’m an undersized guy, so I have to work harder than everybody else,” he said.

The Celtics are in need of a point guard to back up Rajon Rondo, who had season-ending knee surgery in February, and Larkin is one they have done plenty of homework on.

“For me, I think he showed the things I’ve watched over the last two years in playing for my father,” said the younger Larranaga, who ran the workouts. “Shane, I thought he did what he normally does. He’s a very athletic, unselfish, tough player.”


Rivers also has kept tabs on Larkin for years, partly through Rivers’s son, Austin.

Larkin’s high school basketball team, Dr. Phillips High in Orlando, played against Austin’s Winter Park team in consecutive Florida state championships, losing both times. Larkin said the Celtics coach approached him after one of the games.

“He said, ‘Great game. Just keep doing what you’re doing. I’m glad my son beat you, but at the same time, you’re a great player. You’re going to do great things,’ ” Larkin recalled.

Larkin added, “I have a great relationship with him. If there’s a chance of being able to play for him in the NBA, that’s just like a dream.”

Larkin averaged 14.5 points and 4.6 assists last season at Miami, helping the Hurricanes to 29 wins and the Sweet 16 of the NCAA Tournament, tied for the deepest postseason run in school history.

But Larkin also helped his draft stock with a tremendous showing at the draft combine in Chicago, where he posted an eye-popping 44-inch vertical leap, the second highest in combine history after Kenny Gregory’s 45½ in 2001.

“I thank my mom for that,” Larkin said. “She was a dancer. She used to dance a lot, do all the leaps and turns. So, after the combine, I jumped a 44-inch vertical, she said, ‘You know, you got that athleticism from me. Your dad has skinny legs.’ ”

Larkin’s father, Barry, was still quite the athlete: a Hall of Fame shortstop for the Cincinnati Reds.


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Steven Adams, a 7-foot center out of the University of Pittsburgh also worked out for the Celtics after creating a lot of buzz at the combine.

One of Adams’s biggest advocates has been former Celtic Brian Scalabrine, who has worked out with Adams and said he would be a “tremendous asset for the Celtics.”

In an interview with 98.5 The Sports Hub this month, Scalabrine said Adams would take pressure off Kevin Garnett and that he reminded him of Rockets center Omer Asik.

“If you add a guy like this, it makes the Celtics a different team,” Scalabrine said. “They no longer have rebounding issues and you can move Garnett to [power forward].”

Adams, a 19-year-old native of New Zealand who averaged 7.2 points and 6.3 rebounds in his freshman season with the Panthers, said Scalabrine has shared advice on the NBA with him.

“Like, you can get away with a lot more physicality and throwing a lot more [elbows] around,” said Adams, a potential lottery pick.

Adams, who is considered a raw talent, spent a year at Notre Dame Academy in Fitchburg.

The Celtics desperately need to improve their depth on the front line, but given how Adams’s stock has improved, he might not be around when the Celtics pick.

Baxter Holmes can be reached at Follow him on Twitter at @BaxterHolmes.