Jim Larranaga hopes Miami basketball Final 4 run increases South Florida interest

Mar 31, 2023; Houston, TX, USA; Mandatory Credit: Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports
Mar 31, 2023; Houston, TX, USA; Mandatory Credit: Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports /

The Final Four runs by the Florida Atlantic and Miami basketball teams have created a lot of publicity for hoops in South Florida. Miami head coach Jim Larranaga hopes the Final Four runs by the Hurricanes and Owls motivate young athletes to play basketball and make it their primary sport.

Earlier this week Larranaga spoke about how South Florida has traditionally been an area that is heavily recruited for baseball and football. The top recruit in the 2025 class is 6’9, 215-pound power forward Cameron Boozer. Boozer attends Miami Columbus and is the son of former NBA All-Star and Olympian Carlos Boozer.

Miami is one of five schools that Boozer is currently considering per 247 Sports with Arkansas, Duke, Florida State and Michigan. A commitment from Boozer would continue the legacy the Miami basketball program has set over the last two seasons. Boozer’s twin Cayden is an elite 2025 shooting guard.

Cayden Boozer is the 31st-ranked player in the 2025 class, the seventh-best shooting guard and fourth in Florida. Miami has no players from Florida on its current roster. Florida Atlantic has six players on their roster from Florida, but only two are from South Florida. Growing the game in South Florida helps both programs.

"“As far as I’m concerned, I hope every 8- to 18-year-old that’s still growing and trying to find a school, I hope they follow FAU and Miami during this Final Four and decide, I’m going to play, basketball is going to be my primary sport…We have a lot of young players in Coral Gables and Miami that are going to be very highly recruited….And this only enhances it.”"

Chris Damond quoted Larranaga in the Miami Herald above. The last comment from Larranaga was likely thinly veiled to the Boozers. Combo guard Alex Lloyd from Fort Lauderdale Westminster Academy is the only other 2025 recruit in the top 75. Ten of the top 100 players in 2023 are from Florida, but none from South Florida.

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The impact of the runs from FAU and Miami will take a few years to pay off. Miami has proven over the last two seasons it can be an elite basketball team nationally. The Hurricanes’ seven NCAA Tournament wins in the last two seasons are tied only by Kansas with no one else having more than six.