The 37-year-old coach has been a hot name in college coaching searches since taking the Rams to the Final Four in 2011, but he's turned down all of those overtures. Will he turn down the Longhorns, as well?
Since some consider Texas to be a top-10 coaching job in the country, perhaps there's more appeal to coaching in Austin than taking the Maryland, NC State, Marquette, Illinois, or Wake Forest jobs he passed on. Actually, the Longhorns job may be among the absolute best in the country:
Asked a D-I basketball coach why Shaka Smart would accept Texas offer after turning down UCLA. "Because Texas is a top 5-6 job."— Ryan Autullo (@AutulloAAS) March 31, 2015
On Sunday, a Richmond television station reported that he was the top candidate for the position athletic director Steve Patterson now has to fill after parting ways with longtime head coach Rick Barnes. And Jerry Meyer of 247Sports reported on Monday evening that Smart is "likely to accept" the job if or when it's offered to him.
However, the Virginia Commonwealth athletic director said that no school has requested permission to talk to Smart -- so the report from earlier in the day is either false or Texas was speaking with Smart's agent or some other person connected with him.
Here's the primer on Smart:
Smart's teams are mostly known for Havoc defense, a full court press scheme hellbent on forcing turnovers in the backcourt. He's also become an impressive recruiter in recent years, landing VCU three freshmen in the ESPN top 100 in the class of 2014 and two more in the class of 2015.
Smart's system would bring a new look to Texas from the one it had under Rick Barnes. Texas typically targeted massive centers like Cam Ridley and Myles Turner under Barnes, while Smart might look to fill the roster with more fluid athletes.
If there's one major knock on Smart, it's that he hasn't been able to replicate the success he experienced in 2011, losing to lower-seeded teams in each of the last two seasons.