When Shane Larkin looks out on to the court, he sees screens, cutting teammates, and open men. The point guard also sees lines, angles, and opportunities viewed with a mathematical eye.
If Larkin had not chosen to pursue a career as an NBA player, he would have followed one as an architect. He enjoyed math growing up and was drawn to the intricacies of architecture after taking drafting class in high school.
"It was something that interests me," he told CSNNE.com. "I like math, and architecture is all angles, drawing the right lines, points, having right axis when you rotate, all that stuff. I know you can make a good living off of it, so if basketball didn't work out it would have given me something to fall back on and still be successful in life."
Larkin initially planned to major in architecture in college. Well aware of the demands of the NCAA basketball schedule, he informed an academic advisor of his intentions during a school visit.
"She was like, 'Architecture? Most of the guys want to do sports administration,' " Larkin recalled. "I said, 'Yes, but I just like architecture,' and she said it was going to be balance. I said I knew and I could do it."
Larkin, who played two seasons at the University of Miami, tried to the juggle intense academic courses and a rigorous collegiate basketball program, but eventually had to make a decision. With a promising basketball career ahead of him, he transferred to a sports administration major.
That doesn't mean he left architecture behind, though.
"(Architecture) helps a lot, just trying to stay two steps ahead," the 20 year old said. "As a point guard, it's really a good thing to know if I'm about to catch this ball and I see him cutting or I see this angle, then I can tell him where to go with my eyes and throw the ball and him to go get it.
"It really helps being able to see those angles, knowing where to force people on defense, where to trap, stuff like that. It really helps just having a mind, (being) blessed with a mind that can see that."
Larkin's decision to focus on basketball over architecture at the University of Miami is paying off. After averaging 14.5 points, 4.6 assists, and 3.8 rebounds per game last season as a sophomore, he is a projected first round draft pick and has workouts scheduled with several NBA teams, including the Boston Celtics. Last month 5-11 Larkin turned heads at the NBA Draft Combines with his 44-inch vertical leap and top sprint time.
Wherever he lands next season, he will bring his architectural vision with him as well as another interest in how the game works.
"I'm really into the sports science stuff," he said. "Seeing how someone measures the amount of force that Blake Griffin goes with when he jumps, all that kind of stuff really interests me. Maybe that's something I can get into after basketball, but right now I'm just focused on that part of it."