After a stressful two weeks of what was being called “Shaka watch,” he turns down Marquette. Coach Shaka Smart has decided to stay with VCU under his contract that extends through 2023. Coach Smart is making approximately $1.5 million a season under this contract, and that’s before bonuses for appearances and many other situations alike.
Marquette has been to the NCAA National Tournament a total of 31 times and has been in the tournament for the past eight straight years. The Golden Eagles have been to the final four three times and have won a national championship once as well. In comparison, VCU has been to the National Tournament 13 times and to the final four once.
With these statistics in mind, the big difference is that Coach Smart has built the VCU havoc empire to what it is today. Smart has put his blood sweat and tears in not only training his team to play the different style he envisioned, but he recruited the right players. With all the talk and worry about Coach Smart leaving, it only seemed obvious to avid fans that he wasn’t budging. The way Smart recruited this past summer, and the energy he puts into training the young team he has now should have been a big sign that he wasn’t planning on ditching VCU just yet.
Turning down an offer from UCLA last year was a big deal, or so fans thought. Turning down a Big East school and such a historically successful program such as Marquette was even bigger. Coach Smart has good reason for these denials. He has a young team, which made it to the tournament already. They can only go up from here with more training under Smart. In addition Coach Smart has some serious talent on its way. Terry Larrier, Mike Gilmore, Justin Tillman and Jonathan Williams look to be making up the 2014 class for VCU. Their talent is deep and proven, and they are all the right style of players that Coach Smart can train to wreak havoc on the court.
Unfortunately VCU did lose a great member of their team, Mike Rhoades, VCU assistant. Rhoades assisted Smart in leading the Rams to all four of their last NCAA Tournaments, including their infamous fun to the Final Four. Rhoades leaves VCU to be the head coach of the men’s basketball team at Rice University. Being that he aided VCU in growing and in being successful; he will be a great asset as a head coach at Rice University.
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