Originally posted on Fox Sports Wisconsin  |  Last updated 6/10/13
ST. FRANCIS, Wis. -- The son of a Hall of Fame shortstop, Shane Larkin probably should be turning double plays and hitting doubles like his old man. At 5-foot-11, 171 pounds, Larkin probably should be playing shortstop rather than point guard in the NBA. But he's heard all of the questions about his size. Larkin's out to show everyone he can make it as a small point guard, just like Chris Paul, Ty Lawson and Jameer Nelson. "Those are all guys that are small that are out there just killing," Larkin said. "There's no reason, if you can play basketball, you can play basketball. Those guys go out there and do it. They just have to be competitive and believe in themselves. That's just something I've always been able to do." Shane Larkin, who is the son of former Cincinnati Reds shortstop Barry Larkin, gave up baseball when he was 8 years old. A coach at his local YMCA tried to change everything about his swing, telling him whoever taught him to hit didn't know what he was talking about. After that incident, Larkin was all about basketball.At the draft combine in Chicago in late May, Larkin tested as the best athlete at the event. He finished first in the max vertical jump, first in the three-quarter court sprint and fourth in lane-agility. Larkin's 44-inch max vertical was the second-highest ever at the combine, behind Kenny Gregory's 45 12 from 2001. "Just because of my height, I have to be a great athlete to play in the NBA," Larkin said. "Just going out there jumping high and showing my speed is really important."If any franchise knows what it's like to play with small guards, it's the Bucks. Milwaukee has had an undersized backcourt in Brandon Jennings and Monta Ellis over the past year, but Bucks scouting director Billy McKinney doesn't feel undersized guards are a huge issue. "When people talk about size in this league, I think sometimes it's a little, not overrated, but overblown simply because there are a lot of small players that are very effective in this league," McKinney said. "All of those guys are very skilled at their positions. They have a lot of tough fight in them at the defensive end of the floor, competitive spirit, so that makes up for it. Like they say, 'It's not the size of the dog, it's the size of the fight of the dog.'" That being said, the Bucks also don't take the eye-popping vertical jump too seriously, especially at the point guard position. "The vertical is always good, but as a small guy, you aren't going to make your living dunking over guys," McKinney said. "It might help you defensively. It's good to be athletic at any position, but certainly that's not the most important thing when we are looking at a guy like Shane Larkin." Larkin, who was the ACC's player of the year after averaging 14.5 points and 4.6 assists per game in his sophomore season with Miami, has shot up draft boards after his combine performance. There have been rumors that a team in the middle of the first round has made a promise to Larkin that they'd pick him, but the Bucks deny they have made any promises. Picking one selection before the Bucks, Utah is after a point guard and the Jazz have been linked to Larkin. Though he may not be there when the Bucks pick, Larkin is excited about the possibility of coming to Milwaukee. He called the Bucks "a good fit" because he's used to running the pick-and-roll with a stretch four like Ersan Ilysaova and an athletic center like Larry Sanders. "It gives be a lot of excitement just because they don't know where they stand with their guards right now, if they are going to sign or re-sign them," Larkin said. "It's pretty much open. If you can come in here and show them you can play at this level and that you are worthy of the pick at 15, I think they will go out there and choose you at 15. "I didn't expect it to be like this here in Milwaukee, but it's a great city. They say it's a lot like Chicago with less traffic. I can't complain about that." While it's a different sport and an entirely different draft process, Shane Larkin is happy to have his father there to help guide him through the coming weeks, not as a former professional athlete, but as his dad. "He's really just playing dad," Larkin said. "He's just being really supportive. Whenever I finish with a workout, he'll call me to see how it went, if I think I did well, what I didn't do well. He's just been my dad, and he's been really supportive. That's all he really needs to do." Follow Andrew Gruman on Twitter
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