When Anthony Grant departed for Alabama, Shaka Smart stepped in and showed VCU basketball fans why he was the right guy for the job. Now Coach Smart enters his sixth year at VCU with the upcoming 2014-15 season.
Why is Smart still the right guy for the job? Because he has been one of the biggest contributors in building the program to what it is today and he continues that building.
VCU basketball has always been the biggest sport watched for students and alumni as the Rams don’t have a football team like most other large universities. With that being said, fans loved their team, but the nation didn’t know much about the university or the basketball program until Smart stormed in and created Havoc. Yes, VCU has had great coaches such as Jeff Capel and Anthony Grant who turned the basketball program around and started building it near its potential, but Smart took it one step further.
It took a young, driven Shaka Smart to come in and to take the program to its full potential. What sets Smart aside from other coaches is his true passion about VCU’s program. Passing offers from big name schools only further proves his loyalty and dedication to the team he is a part of now. The Rams needed to gain national recognition. Smart made this happen. When the Rams got the wild card in 2011, the media buzzed with speculations and hard feelings towards VCU for their entrance into the NCAA Tournament. Smart led that team all the way to the Final Four and showed the nation he meant business.
Smart has the ability to brand a team and to make sure the players thrive on that brand. Shaka Smart’s style has been named “Havoc” and all the players he has live and breathe Havoc. This fire and dedication that Smart has runs through his players, which then excited fans even more. His passion bleeds through the whole program and university which, of course, breeds success.
Moving on to his players, VCU has always attracted fast, scrappy players. Smart’s recruiting abilities also make him the right man for the job. VCU has seen some great players in the past, but Smart doesn’t just have a few great players. Smart has a team full of highly ranked recruits from each class he has recruited. Coach Smart knows exactly what he needs in a player and he is sure to get it in his recruits. Smart’s returning players never give up on fine tuning these skills and when the two come together Smart’s Havoc is born.
It goes without saying that with more national recognition comes more money. Although it shouldn’t be all about the money, it often is. Smart has brought more money to the VCU program than ever before and it shows with the new practice facility being built. Smart turned down a raise this year and allotted it back to his players.
Fans can sleep well knowing that Smart isn’t in it for the money. All the big universities throwing large paychecks at him can back off for now because Coach Smart is a Ram.
Read this article about Smart and his 2014-15 team: