Mar 20, 2012
Sources: Illinois Pursuing Shaka Smart

Chicago Sun-Time, Herb Gould

http://www.suntimes.com/sports/11403066-419/sources-say-illinois-pursuing-shaka-smart-to-be-its-basketball-coach.html

Convinced he needs to land Shaka Smart, Illinois athletic director Mike Thomas is making a no-holds-barred run at the Virginia Commonwealth coach, a source close to the talks said Monday.

Smart has shown solid interest, and money won’t be a stumbling block, said the source, who has spoken with two people involved in the talks.

“They’re going to make damn sure they don’t let him get away, ” the source said.

But another source close to the Smart camp said it is far from a done deal. Smart, who wasn’t interested in major-conference jobs at North Carolina State and Maryland a year ago, intends to consider his situation carefully.

With all but one of his top players returning next season, he’s under no pressure to leave VCU and Richmond, a city he and his wife adore.

“He wants to make sure he doesn’t pull a Dan Monson, ” the source said, referring to the successful Gonzaga coach who floundered at Minnesota. “He doesn’t want to take a big-name job and wind up saying, ‘What did I do here?’ He can probably be gotten, but he’s going to need to be convinced.”

One big issue is getting a handle on Chicago recruiting. While there are many talented players there, it’s complicated recruiting turf because of players’ entourages, academic realities and its tradition of being an open city that’s recruited by schools near and far.

Smart wants to make sure he assesses that situation carefully, the source said, and doesn’t simply accept the view that Chicago makes Illinois a sleeping giant.

As the hottest up-and-coming coach in the country, Smart — who will be 35 on April 8 — can afford to be circumspect. And as a candidate who addresses concerns that Illinois hasn’t had a minority head coach in men’s basketball or football, he’s even more attractive.

Sources: Illinois Pursuing Shaka Smart

Chicago Sun-Time, Herb Gould

http://www.suntimes.com/sports/11403066-419/sources-say-illinois-pursuing-shaka-smart-to-be-its-basketball-coach.html

Convinced he needs to land Shaka Smart, Illinois athletic director Mike Thomas is making a no-holds-barred run at the Virginia Commonwealth coach, a source close to the talks said Monday.

Smart has shown solid interest, and money won’t be a stumbling block, said the source, who has spoken with two people involved in the talks.

“They’re going to make damn sure they don’t let him get away, ” the source said.

But another source close to the Smart camp said it is far from a done deal. Smart, who wasn’t interested in major-conference jobs at North Carolina State and Maryland a year ago, intends to consider his situation carefully.

With all but one of his top players returning next season, he’s under no pressure to leave VCU and Richmond, a city he and his wife adore.

“He wants to make sure he doesn’t pull a Dan Monson, ” the source said, referring to the successful Gonzaga coach who floundered at Minnesota. “He doesn’t want to take a big-name job and wind up saying, ‘What did I do here?’ He can probably be gotten, but he’s going to need to be convinced.”

One big issue is getting a handle on Chicago recruiting. While there are many talented players there, it’s complicated recruiting turf because of players’ entourages, academic realities and its tradition of being an open city that’s recruited by schools near and far.

Smart wants to make sure he assesses that situation carefully, the source said, and doesn’t simply accept the view that Chicago makes Illinois a sleeping giant.

As the hottest up-and-coming coach in the country, Smart — who will be 35 on April 8 — can afford to be circumspect. And as a candidate who addresses concerns that Illinois hasn’t had a minority head coach in men’s basketball or football, he’s even more attractive.






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