[Updated on March 30, 2015 6AM CDT, with plenty of new nonsense.]
The silliness has begun. With the Texas head basketball coaching spot now formally open, rumors and reports are circulating around just who might be taking the job.
A Richmond, VA TV station is reporting that "a source close to the Texas Longhorns basketball program" has indicated that VCU head coach Shaka Smart is Texas' top choice to fill the now open head coaching spot.
Not to be outdone, a different Richmond, VA TV station is reporting that Wichita State's Gregg Marshall is actually the true leading candidate for the Texas coaching position.
CBS-6 Sports has learned from multiple sources that Wichita State's Gregg Marshall is the leading candidate for the job at Texas.— Sean Robertson (@CBS6SportsSean) March 30, 2015
There is nothing better than silliness associated with two Virginia television stations cultivating sources within the world of Longhorn athletics. This is sure to go well for them.
There is presumably more than one person running around serving as a source close to the Texas basketball program, each with a different take on who Texas' top candidate might be. These reports appear to be split between Smart and Marshall. This is consistent with what was tweeted by Gary Parrish of CBS Sports.
Top two candidates at Texas are Gregg Marshall and Shaka Smart. Different sources rank those two in different orders. But those are the two.— Gary Parrish (@GaryParrishCBS) March 28, 2015
Meanwhile, another rumor out of the department passed along by Brian Davis of the Austin American-Statesman suggests that Texas AD Steve Patterson may be considering hiring someone from the NBA.
Just heard that Texas AD Steve Patterson may be looking toward an NBA person. Do not dismiss this as a concept.— Brian Davis (@BDavisAAS) March 30, 2015
Of course, previous indications were that Wichita State head coach Gregg Marshall was interested in the job. Yahoo's Pat Forde reported that sources were indicating that Marshall wasn't really interested in looking at an offer to fill Alabama's open position, and only had eyes for Texas. Sports Illustrated writer Seth Davis disputes this claim.
I spoke w a knowledgeable source yesterday who said Gregg Marshall was "shocked" to read reports that he has zero interest in Alabama.— Seth Davis (@SethDavisHoops) March 30, 2015
This could again be simply a difference of different sources with different stories. Or it could reflect a shift in Marshall's thinking. If it is the later, the budget associated with the Texas position could be a factor.
Yesterday, Kirk Bohls tweeted out information about the likely budget for Texas' hire.
Still hearing Texas will try to hire a new basketball coach for no more than $3M a year.— Kirk Bohls (@kbohls) March 29, 2015
Given Gary Parrish's report from a week ago that Alabama is probably going to start at a floor of $3MM per year to pursue Marshall for its open position, I don't know if I should take this as an indication that Texas is headed in a different direction, Marshall is using Alabama as a kind of stalking horse to try to raise Texas' budget for his eventual offer, or if this is all just pointless chatter. It is probably just pointless chatter.
Bohls also reported that (unsurprisingly) Texas recruit Eric Davis (of Michigan) is having second thoughts about traveling across the country to play for an as yet to be named coach who didn't recruit him.
I'm told that Texas incoming freshman guard Eric Davis from Michigan having some second thoughts about Longhorns. Haven't heard from him.— Kirk Bohls (@kbohls) March 30, 2015
Obviously things can change quickly once a new head coach is named, but right now I wouldn't bet on Davis to ever appear in a game for the Longhorns. It seems unlikely that a kid would travel so far away to play for someone who wasn't the coach that he signed up for.
We will continue to follow developments in Texas' search for a new head basketball coach.