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WATCH: Texas basketball coach Shaka Smart leads USA U18 national team

“It means a lot to be able to coach a team that represents our country.”

Shaka Smart is doing his best to return the Texas Longhorns to basketball glory, but that’s not all he’s doing. Above, watch Smart as he works his side gig as head coach of the USA under 18 national team, which is competing for the FIBA Americas championship in Chile and went 3-0 in the group stage.

Smart first got familiar with USA basketball though former Clemson Tigers coach Oliver Purnell, and later worked with Oklahoma City Thunder coach Billy Donovan.

It means a lot for Smart to work with the national team.

"I believe we live in a great country and we all want to come closer together," he says. "We want to bridge certain divides, and I think sports can be a really good vehicle for that. I'm just a basketball coach, but the opportunity to work with these guys at the highest level of basketball for their age group is a special thing."

Of course, Smart is also proud to work with the 'Horns -- two new Longhorns, Jarrett Allen and James Banks, are also members of the USA team he coaches. Smart says he didn't know when he accepted the job that two of his future players would be involved, but that's been an added perk of the gig.

"It's been great how it has worked out getting to work with Jarrett and James," says Smart.

The team is practicing in Houston, a relatively convenient location for the 'Horns coach. He's got the national team prepared and ready for battle.

"There are going to be a lot of teams down there that are talented, a lot of teams that have been practicing for longer than us," says Smart. "So we've got to make sure that very quickly we come together around this goal, this mentality of representing Team USA and winning the gold medal."