Photo courtesy of UConn Athletic Department/Bob Stowell.
By David Cordova
Being a redshirt is a common theme in college basketball in the present time. A redshirt is a player who has transfers into another school, but has to sit out a year due to NCAA regulations. That can be something that is either very frustrating to a player or something that can be motivational.
For Terry Larrier, waiting has been accustomed to ever since transferring into the University of Connecticut a couple of years ago. But it has also been very beneficial. The 6-foot-8 redshirt junior forward is one of the most highly-skilled and versatile players on the Huskies’ roster. He shows a lot of athleticism and guard skills at his height and can cause havoc if left to his own devices when he has the ball.
But if you ask him what his motivation to be successful is, his reply would be. “Just where I come from. I come from the Bronx. My family, and I put in so much work to get here, so I’m not gonna stop, I’m gonna keep working hard until I get to the ultimate goal.”
Also being from The Bronx has also made him the player and person he is today. “It means a lot, it’s a tough city, you know, if you can definitely make it out, you should definitely take advantage of it and make something out of it.”
In his younger days, he played for the Team SCAN AAU program, which is now known as the PSA Cardinals. On that team, were two players who are now in the NBA: Chris McCullough, who is now in his third season with the Washington Wizards and Cheick Diallo, who is now in his second season with the New Orleans Pelicans.
When asked about his days with Team SCAN, Larrier replied, “Playing for Team SCAN was great, great group of guys, they’re my best friends ’til this day. The coaching staff is great, I still keep in contact with them. I’m just thankful for those guys and the program.”
Larrier started out high school at Sacred Heart High School in Yonkers, and then went to John F. Kennedy High School in the Bronx and then finished out high school at The Phelps School, a boarding school in Malvern, Pennsylvania. A common theme in New York City is that the a lot of top-tier basketball talent leave the city to go to these prepatory schools in order to better prepare themselves for the rigors of college, whether it be academics or athletics.
When asked if the prep school life helped him, Larrier replied, “Yeah, definitely, there’s a lot of distractions in New York, it helped me get away from everything and just focus on basketball & school.”
Larrier was a top-50 recruit in the Class of 2014 and had offers from over thirty schools, including Florida, Florida State, Seton Hall, Miami and UConn. But in the fall of 2013, he committed to Virginia Commonwealth University. In his lone freshman year at VCU, he averaged 6.6 points and three rebounds per game and made the A-10 Preseason All-Rookie Team.
When asked about his time at VCU, he replied, “VCU was great. I got to be coached by a great coach in Shaka Smart. The fans were great, the school was great, but I had to move on to a new chapter and now I’m here at UConn.”
The following season, he decided to transfer to UConn, a program who had once recruited him in high school and was a year or so removed from their fourth national championship. When asked why he decided to become a Husky, he replied, “My relationship with Coach [Kevin] Ollie from high school. We had a close relationship then, it was just the right fit.”
But unfortunately, he had to sit out a year, due to NCAA transfer rules. But last season, he was finally ready to put on the Husky uniform. In his first game with UConn, he scored 19 points and seven rebounds against Wagner College. Also, in his first three games, he averaged 13.5 points and five rebounds per game.
But when all was going good, a major setback came striking. In his fourth game with UConn, on November 21st against Oklahoma State in the Maui Invitational in Hawaii, Larrier tore his ACL with 12:30 remaining in the first half of the game. That would be the final game of his sophomore season with the Huskies.
When asked about how he felt about his season being cut short by injury, Larrier replied, “Sometimes things happen. It’s unfortunate, but you know you can’t dwell on it. You just gotta move on from it and now I’m playing the game that I love.”
Fast-forward a year later, Larrier is back in action and picking up where he left off. In the exhibition game against Division II power Merrimack College, Larrier scored 17 points for the UConn and led them to a 79-63 win.
When asked about Larrier, Coach Ollie replied, “I’m just glad that the ball is going in for him, he’s doing a great job, coming in and working. Every step, he’s just getting better and better and better and we’ve got to understand, he hasn’t played in two years, so we just want to make sure that we take it easy on him and don’t put too much pressure on him. We just want him to take his time and good things will happen for him.”
Now that he is a redshirt junior, he is looking forward to having a big season and hopes to stay healthy. “I think this season will be really good,” says Larrier on his thoughts of the upcoming season, “We have a good group of guys, I think we’re going to shock a lot of people and I can’t wait to get it started.”
Another thing for Larrier to look forward to this season is a trip to the World’s Most Famous Arena, Madison Square Garden, in New York City on December 5th, when UConn plays Syracuse as part of the Jimmy V Classic. The game will be a sort of homecoming for Larrier, as he will be playing front of his beloved family and friends.
“Really excited, I get to play back home, my family and friends get to come see me, and just playing in the Garden, that’s a legendary arena, so just playing in there, you gotta be hype.”
And after that, all that’s left for Larrier is, “Get my degree in May and go from there.”
Highlights of Terry Larrier:
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Courtesy of TCF15.
Courtesy of TCF15.