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Texas Longhorns coaching search: Focus still on Shaka Smart

There may not be any major movement on Wednesday in the Texas coaching search.

Shaka Smart
Shaka Smart
Amber Searls-USA TODAY Sports

All of a sudden, it's all quiet on the Texas Longhorns coaching search front with athletic director Steve Patterson reportedly in Austin and a search firm seemingly handling most of the vetting as the Horns seek to replace longtime head coach Rick Barnes.

So where is the attention focused?

Kirk Bohls of the Statesman believes that VCU Rams head coach Shaka Smart is still the focus of the ongoing search, as does Chip Brown of Horns Digest. It's not clear why there is so little movement at this time, but one fact does stand out about Texas' pursuit of the 37-year-old coach -- Smart is at least considering the job, because if he wasn't, he would have already publicly turned it down.

In fact, several other targets have already done so, including Villanova Wildcats head coach Jay Wright and Virginia Cavaliers head coach Tony Bennett. And, of course, there was the Tuesday talk of Texas gauging interest in Boston Celtics head coach Brad Stevens, which Brown confirmed on Wednesday. There haven't been any public denials from Stevens or his camp, but let's be honest here -- Stevens isn't leaving the Celtics for the Longhorns.

Progressing more deeply into the silly realms of the search leads to former NBA coach Avery Johnson, whose name was floating around on Monday and Tuesday. The apparent source? None other than silly Texas mega-booster Red McCombs. And wanting Johnson as the next Texas basketball coach is so perfectly McCombs -- fans may recall that he touted former NFL coach Jon Gruden for the Longhorns football opening and Johnson is cut from a similar mold as a former professional coach with little college experience. Actually, Johnson has even less college experience than Gruden having never worked at the college level at all, though unlike Gruden, Johnson apparently has actual interest in the Texas job.

Fortunately, Texas has not reciprocated that interest, according to Mike Finger of the San Antonio News-Express, and seems unlikely to do so even if things go sideways with Smart -- the biggest positive with the Johnson rumors is that Patterson already has experience ignoring McCombs during a coaching search.

So all indications are that Texas is in a holding pattern with the young VCU head coach. Perhaps the search firm is merely doing due diligence on other candidates until the Longhorns decide to try to set up an interview or extend a job offer to Smart. If either one of those things has happened, it's not yet public knowledge.

As for a timetable, the lack of apparent progress has sources telling Bohls that nothing may happen until Thursday or Friday. Right now, that seems accurate unless things suddenly progress more quickly than anticipated on Wednesday.