For their surprising success this year, the ACC-leading Miami Hurricanes have an unexpected catalyst to thank.
Coach Jim Larranaga recently told Jorge Milian of the Palm Beach Post that his team's work ethic was lagging in the summer of 2011, but that changed after the Hurricanes got grilled by Miami Heat star Chris Bosh.
Bosh was playing pick-up with the Hurricanes one day when Larranaga, who was hired in April 2011, asked the Heat big man what he thought of the squad.
"[Bosh] said, 'Your guys don't run the floor [and] they don't work very hard. I barely break a sweat against them. I end up playing on the perimeter taking jump shots because there's no real physicality, no real speed to the game.'" Larranaga said.
Larranaga asked Bosh to share his thoughts with the entire team, and so later in the weight room Bosh spoke up. It's a speech Larranaga calls "the best five-minute talk I've ever heard."
"[Bosh] talked about how disappointed he was that he didn't play better in Game 6 [of the 2011 NBA Finals] and how disappointed he was that they didn't win the world championship and he didn’t want to live with that kind of regret and that he was killing himself during that offseason so that the Miami Heat could win the world championship." Larranaga said. “He said, 'You guys don't work hard enough. You don't deserve the success you'd like to have. You can't compete at the highest level of college basketball with the effort that you're giving.' It was just music to my ears because that was the message we were trying to deliver. Coming from Chris Bosh, it meant a whole lot to the team."
Bosh remembers that day well.
"I just wanted to inspire them to be more competitive and push each other a lot more because the talent that they had ... it was unbelievable," he told the Post. "I think they just needed to know themselves that they had a chance to do well and they had to start working."
Miami basketball fans knew what they were getting when Bosh and LeBron James joined the Heat. But few expected that the professional-level star power would have a trickle down effect on the Hurricanes.