Shaka Smart in BigXII

  • Ok, after reading the Shaka stories on the other site, it gave me pause for consideration. One of the articles used it as an excuse to “rank” the BigXII coaches including Smart. The writers picked him top 2 or 3–which I find incredulous! That’s actually insulting to Lon Kruger, who has been a proven winner at 5 Div.1 schools, not just at 1.

    Oooops–> before we call Shaka a proven winner, we see that he cant even win his own conference the last 4 yrs. So, think further: why is it that there is no momentum after that 15min of fame from 1 Cinderella run, which is what Father Time is proving that it was. Talk about parlaying one’s self into the lap of riches off of catching a blueblood #1 seed off guard (about 30-40% of the reason VCU won–chancing early 3s, and hitting them, which gave confidence, while the majority of the ‘blame’ for KU losing lies in multiple KU-fails in the same game: 2-21 trey shooting (free-the-3?), awful transition-D, too many t.o.'s). But let’s set aside the gamefilm study of that game for a moment, as conventional wisdom at the time suggested that if KU got to play VCU in a best-of-3 or 5 series, it would NOT be favorable for the young shaved-head coach. Remember such talk? It wasn’t only from the KU camp of people just trying to make themselves feel better–it was also said nationally. That KU roster was veteran and experienced, and had only 2 losses all season…it just picked a bad time to have one-of-those 2 left feet outings. When you don’t do all the details of what makes you great…then you aren’t so great. You become beatable. You make an 11-seed look really good. And so we did.

    The peculiar thing, is that game came up in Shaka’s press conf at TX. When asked about how his playstyle would translate in BigXII play, he himself said “well, it did pretty well in 2011…”, referencing that one game. Really? Well, I’d like to point out to the Smart young coach that his playstyle didn’t even win his own LOWLY conference? Why is that, an investigative reporter should have asked? Because, as is the story with press-D teams, once you break it, getting the W becomes a lot easier…his own conference coaches may have solved his 1-trick show, quite possibly. Look at Huggins, who is a far, far better, proven coach than Shaka, who’s press-D actually got solved by Baylor of all teams, and got embarrassed by 20pts at WVa.

    And I remember Shaka’s best team, that Cinderella one that made the Final 4. They got handled pretty readily by their opponent, who spent a few days gameplanning. It wasn’t even close.

    So while I may tip my hat about 30% to Shaka for his gameplan back in that 2011 game, I mostly scowl as I would to a friend towards our own KU team & coach for they have the majority of the responsibility for that L. But that leaves ONE major question: Why did the University of Texas hire Shaka Smart?? Can he recruit?

    Seems to me, that oil-money (WTFrack?) should have gone all-in to get Gregg Marshall, who has done a LOT more in the last 4 years than Shaka.

    SO, now ffwd to 2015-16 season. What begins is the 4-5yr long Shaka experiment at TX, and the testing of the theory of KU playing Shaka multiple times not-being-favorable to Shaka. That will be about 10-15 head to head matchups, if one counts possible BigXII tournament play, and people can keep the tally-mark data: Self vs. Shaka. Wanna place your bets? Man, I sure am itching to…

    Of course, this begets further questions: In a press style, just how much will big Cameron Ridley play? How about Lammert? We know Myles Turner and Jonathan Holmes are gone. Does TX have the personnel to run his style. Hmm, do I hear a square-peg/round-hole discussion brewing down there in TX…?

    I cant get that controversial chant out of my head, when now, in 2015 we think about Shaka Smart: “over-rated…over-rated…over-rated…”

    Now the shoe is on the other foot. Shaka isn’t going to sneak up on anyone. Guys like Self, Kruger, Hoiberg, Huggins, Johnson, Tubby, and ScotDrew’sAssistant(s) will have plenty of prep time for Shaka Smart–> a gauntlet is being prepared. Y’all don’t think Bill Self wants to be first in line to teach a few things? Hell, “redemption” just showed up in Self’s backyard.

    And the University of Texas just made a BIG mistake. Calhoun out of retirement would have been a better bet. Marshall would have been the best bet, and probably worth whatever they’d been able to offer…

    Pull up a chair, this is going to be fun. Im going to bet on the guy with 4 EliteEights, 2 FinalFours, 1 NC game RunnerUP, and 1 NChampionship in the past 7years. People keep trying to count him out, and that’s just disrespectful. Did we forget that the very next season after getting bounced by VCU, KU is in the Final Four, in the NC game, battling it out with KY… Stories of his decline “are greatly exaggerated”, and lo & behold, we got one such town-crier on the chopping block now…front and center…dead square in the crosshairs–BOOM! Shaka-u-lacka-lot…

  • @ralster I’m pretty sure I speak for most KU fans when I say I like Rick Barnes. Even during the seasons when UT was stacked and just as good as KU I never really said “I hate UT” and it was mostly based on Barnes. He was a great recruiter and luckily for KU not the worlds greatest in game coach…but he was always gracious whether his teams won or lost.

    Shaka on the other hand appears to be flat our arrogant. He has played KU once and is already making nasty statements about what his “havoc” defense can do to upset the KU dominance in the Big 12. It is going to be different when the pressure is on. This is not VCU where 20 of your games are played against teams no one has heard of. This is Texas. National television. Oil family alums. McD’s recruits. Big 12 teams week in week out. I’d like to see Smart win a few games in the Big 12 before his head gets too big and to me success won’t come soon. The guys coming back are not his recruits and are not prepared for his style of play. Hopefully a few mediocre seasons will not him down a peg or two.

    I could kind of care less about the Big 12 “streak” for KU but all of the sudden I care again. I truly don’t want to see Shaka win our conference. Watching him do a defensive slide on the sideline makes me want to do things that should go without mention.

  • @ralster

    So if Shaka doesn’t get his huge win against KU does he get hired by Texas?

    Does KU make the final four again the next year instead of absolutely willing their way towards that final?

    Did it change recruiting? I don’t know who we lost out on after that game, but did someone maybe decide, ehh, maybe I’ll go somewhere else?

    If we beat VCU in a close one, do we recover from the scare that year and like in 2008, go on and win it all? As I recall, that was a pretty winnable final four.

    Can he win in a place where hoops takes a way back seat to freaking football?

    I welcome new coaches in our league. I believe that we need a competitive rival that each year is a near equal to KU.

  • @ralster That was a real “Richard” comment that Smart made. One upset qualifies him to make a comment like that. What a Richard. That said, I feel like an outlier, but I think he will do well. I know the recruits he got at VCU were mostly under the radar. But, there is a lot of talent at UT and I think a younger, energetic guy will get his share. The question, of course, is will he continue to recruit the same type of player for his style, or will he tweak his style when he has a chance to recruit a player, like, for instance, Ridley. I think, either way, he will get good players and be successful.

  • @Hawk8086 You mean about beating KU a few years ago in San Antonio?

    I felt like that was a true statement. No malice intended by Shaka. BUT can he beat us twice? Can he come to AFH, the toughest place in div 1, and come out with a win? Because that is what it will take to knock KU off the big boy hill. Huggy couldn’t do it.
    That would imply that Shaka is a better coach than Huggy, and I just don’t see that.

  • @ralster

    From a pure basketball perspective, your post was right on. Gregg Marshall was the right pick for coaching.

    Picking a Texas coach is a lot more than just picking the guy who can best build a winner. There is all the other stuff in Texas. First being the personal appeal of the coach.

    I’m not sure what Gregg Marshall’s political position is, but Texas even gambled on Shaka knowing he’s a complete Obama follower and campaigner over Marshall. I seriously doubt if Marshall campaigned for Obama. Texas is not an Obama State by a long shot. That means there were personality conflicts with Marshall that could not be overcome, even when compared to a leftwing Coach.

    If that last paragraph sounds nutty. Well… it is. But it’s Texas. Ever wonder why they’ve basically sucked so much the last decade in basketball and football while maintaining the very best athletic program and media outlet?

    So while on paper it looks like they blew it because they could have had Marshall… imagine forward to a situation where Marshall or his wife make a reaction that rubs Longhorns wrong. That is their worst case scenario, not picking a coach who might not have as good of Xs and Os. Read about Marshall’s tough love background. He isn’t cut out to be a Longhorn. Let his Cinderella story continue in the natural path it is taking. Texas and Marshall don’t mix.

  • @drgnslayr

    So Shaka is an Obama fan.

    I can count on one hand the Obama bumper stickers I’ve seen in Houston. I’m sure there are closet fans, but everyone I know thinks if he isn’t on the wrong side of an issue, he is asleep at the wheel.

    Austin however is has a lot of liberals. (Not that we don’t have liberals in Houston politics.). Anyway, most of Longhorn nation is conservative so Sharka will have to walk the line. Not sure he can or even cares.

    He sure slammed KU with that Big 12 comment. Makes me hope he gets kicked in the teeth right out of the gate.

    And I liked Rick Barnes-he was a classy guy. Still Football is king at UT and when suffering in that arena, basketball gets more attention.

    I sure wish the big12 would have won more games this March. We need to perform a lot better next year and as for Sharka I hope we take him down every time we play.

  • image.jpg

    This is why they picked him, he’s a great slogan for tshirts.

  • If I’m Self I’m putting that comment on the wall for next season.

    You know the media for at least a few years will talk about 2011 instead of the actual game being played.

    If the shot clock gets switched to 30, coach better start preparing his offense accordingly especially with 2 pressing teams in the fold now.

  • @BeddieKU23 trying to see that as positive. I’ve said before my uni friend has our score framed in his office, we are everybody’s Super Bowl. Now that includes WSU. Next year will be interesting w/Texas. Can’t wait!

  • @Crimsonorblue22 Championships are hard to come by and worthy of framing. Framing one game or printing T-shirts for one game is just a JOKE. Tell them I said so.

  • @Lulufulu Even though it is true…it is still a Richard comment…for all the reasons you mentioned…he only did it once…can he do it more?


    (Note: All fiction. No malice. )

  • @jaybate-1.0 it will be a new challenge for Smart to get the high elite, one-year players to buy Into his defensive based coaching philosophy, imho. These kids want a one year pit stop to showcase offense. That being said, Cal seemed to get this group to buy into defense.

  • @Blown

    Stumpy Miller appeared to adapt to the change within one recruiting season with the apparent help of the Nike-agent complex. Within two, and without an NCAA ring to his name, or an 82% W&L record for ten years, and without having coached at a major before UA, Stumpy appeared able to beat Bill Self out for Kaleb Tarczewski.

    Shaka Smart is Stumpy Miller with more brains, and some feisty charisma. Texas is in a state with 30 million persons to bag Nike AAU power team players in, and UA is in a state with 6.5 million persons to do the same in. Texas has unlimited monies, even without Nike largesse. UA has limited monies. Both coaches came to their Nike majors from EST mid majors.The scales tip to Shaka IMHO and Stumpy has dominated the Pac 12.

    Nike has apparently taken control of the ACC with Nike-Duke and the SEC with Nike-UK. It appears to be splitting the Big Ten three ways with adidas with the following teams: Nike-MSU and adidas-Wisconsin and adidas Michigan.

    Nike appears to be splitting the Pac 12 with adidas with the followig teams: Nike-UA and adidas UCLA.

    The Big 12 is the last power conference that Nike lacks a decisive player in. adidas-KU owns the Big 12. That apparently cannot be allowed to continue, or the dominant oligopolist would appear to have no clothes. Nike-Texas apparently has to be made into a program that at least splits the Big 12 with adidas-KU.

    I just don’t see Shaka and Nike-Texas having any trouble at all doing in the B12, what Stumpy Miller and Nike-UA have done in the Pac 12 in about the same amount of time, maybe even sooner if the dump trucks really start rolling in in earnest.

    Cal is an average coach and he has been able to dominate the SEC with his 5 stack in 2012,ascending stacks reaching a 10 stack this season. We know Cal is an avergae, maybe even a below average, coach, because with 10 draft choices, and the refs giving UK the game the entire last ten minutes of the Nike-UK vs. adidas-Wisconsin game, adidas-Wisconsin with one draft choice–Frank Kaminsky–beat Nike-UK. Bo Ryan is a good coach. He beat a 10 stack with a 1 stack.

    You don’t have to be a very good coach to win big with big stacks. You just have to be adequate. Cal is adequate. Stumpy is adequate. Shaka can be adequate. He can probably be better than adequate.

    KU fans should be worried about that, unless Self and adidas-KU find someone willing to counter-stack KU, however this stacking is finally one day understood to occur.


  • Bring it Shaka. You ain’t at VCU anymore my friend. Welcome to the B12. I hope the guys heard what Shaka said at his presser.

    I hope the recruits heard it too. They need to understand that when a B12 coach or player makes a comment like Shaka, it’s time to take him to court, Kansas style. Shaka thinks he’s going to pick up where he left off in 2011? LOL I wish the team could hear and watch Rio and Collins when they played Jay Wright and Nova and destroyed them. I loved it when Rio went to Wright and said, “Watch this…” He then alley ooped to Shady for a dunk. Collins told Wright to “sit down.” Oh how I wish we had players that could talk, play, and win like that especially against Shaka and UT.

  • @Crimsonorblue22 B12 title still goes through Lawrence Shaka.

  • To be precise, I/we/Self should welcome the opportunity to play Shaka or anyone, anytime, anywhere. As in the original post, redemtion just walked thru our bigXII door.

    One W by KU over Shaka, & the press wont have that 2011 storyline. Simple.

    We have the guards to handle the press. Self will say all the right things, beginning with his ‘no comment’ (allowing Shaka to dangle in the breeze w/his comment).

    Notice Shaka said his style did ‘pretty well against the BigXII in 2011’, thus unwittingly antagonizing the ENTIRE conf…how smart was that!!!

  • @Hawk8086 Nah, Shaka is gonna get shell shocked the first time he comes into AFH!!! That place is going to break ear drums with its decibel levels.

  • @Lulufulu No question, that will be one of the big differences between the A10 and the Big 12…having to come to the Phog every year. But, I believe in the long run he will do well at UT.

  • Shaka inherited a stacked team from Grant when he met KU. Same may happen his first couple of years at Texas. After he ran out of Grant’s recruits, a weak conference allowed him gaudy win/loss records. Not a fan.

  • Respectfully, I think some of you are underappreciating Shaka’s success. IMO it was a very interesting hire with high upside. It’s possible he flops. But it will take at least 3 years before we can say that and this upcoming year should be a free pass.

  • @ralster

    I believe you post is spot on.

    Smart has milked that magical run for all it is worth and he has not shown that he can duplicate it, even in his own not-so-major conference. His frantic style of play has won the tournament only once (Arkansas) a long time ago when it was so new that coaches did not know what to expect and after that it has not done much of anything…ask Mike Anderson how it has worked out for him.

    Marshal would have been a much better choice but he has one year left of really good playersat WSU and he probably saw that Texas will never support BBall the way the do FBall, as shown by all those empty seat even when KU comes to town; in some games, the arena is not even one third filled. Also, I believe the current arena is scheduled to be torn down and a new one built so the next year or two they might be playing in make shift location which not conductive to recruiting or getting fan interest. Marshall is aiming for big name BBall program.

  • @JayHawkFanToo Marshall wasn’t asked.

  • @jaybate-1.0 My only points of discussion are that with the ShoeCo. angle on recruiting, not much is changeable, really, as Barnes/TX already got great recruits, & TX already a Nike school. Thats the only reason Barnes fired: didnt do enough with his recruits.

    Personally, I agree with many KU people that Barnes was a good guy, never a jerk. I had no problem with Rick Barnes. He just never hammered his teams hard enough to forge a tough identity. This season’s let-Isaiah-drive-it ignored the potential on the roster. Turner was unimpressive.

    Regarding Stumpy Miller at AZ “outrecruiting” Self for 7ft Tarczewski–> Man, I’m not so sure. That kid came to AFH, I was there, and he was stone-faced the whole time…either he was unimpressed (then we dont want him), or had already made his choice (ship sailed). Now, additionally see his downward trajectory (not-lotto) at AZ, as a junior!! That kid either didnt want to get yelled at by Self+Hudy, or was just downright LAZY. We have college performance to judge now, use it! That kid has little fire, he was NOT the next Cole Aldrich. Zimmerman seems like the same 7ft stack of pillows, especially btwn the ears (lot to learn, if capable).

    Maybe call it lucky we didnt get Tarczewski?

  • @Crimsonorblue22

    I understand that a lot of the preliminary contacts are way off the record to give both sides plausible deniability. I will guess that he was probably contacted by someone not directly associated with the program and discretely asked i he was interested.

  • @JayhawkRock78

    “Austin however is has a lot of liberals. (Not that we don’t have liberals in Houston politics.). Anyway, most of Longhorn nation is conservative so Sharka will have to walk the line.”

    The heart of Austin is liberal… but the purse strings that finance the show in Austin is 100% tea party conservative.

    Shaka’s affiliation with Obama is on his Wiki page. He will have to be very careful when addressing the purse strings. But Shaka is an intelligent guy who knows how to verbalize.

    I also like Rick Barnes, he is beyond classy. Very hard to stay at the level of class he is and be a college coach.

    Shaka should review Texas basketball file footage. Not so much the player footage… the footage on Barnes. He better keep it as close to the class of Barnes as he can.

  • @truehawk93

    “Bring it Shaka. You ain’t at VCU anymore my friend. Welcome to the B12”

    Right on!

  • @drgnslayr Totally agree about Rick Barnes, classy opponent. Curious how he’ll do at Tenn.

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