Shaka Watch 2012

March 19, 2012

B1G, B1G Hoops, Ill, Illinois Hoops

Illini fans have been in a breathless frenzy since VCU’s loss to Indiana in the second round (now the idiotically named third round) in the NCAA Tournament. Following the firing of Bruce Weber, it’s become increasingly obvious that any hire outside of VCU’s Shaka Smart will be seen as a letdown by Illini faithful. As reported by Dan Bernstein on 670 the Score today, Smart is Illinois’ AD Mike Thomas’ “plan A, B, C, D, and E.”

All this is well and good, but it really sets up for monumental disappointment if Smart decides to keep his current $1.2 million a year and home in Richmond. The reality is that while Illinois definitely seems to be in the running for Smart, fans need to realize that other good options do exist. Memphis’ Josh Pastner, Kansas St’s Frank Martin, and certainly Marquette’s Buzz Williams would all be excellent candidates. For now though, it’s all Shaka, all the time in Champaign. Popular Illinois message board had blood pressure high with reports of a flight from Dulles International to Champaign today. Seriously.

Beyond the hype, however, it does appear that Mike Thomas is doing his due diligence on Smart, and then some. The Chicago Sun-Times reported today that the Illinois AD is all-in with his efforts to pry Smart from VCU. Reports have also surfaced that Illinois is willing to double Smart’s salary, and that seems to be an excellent starting point. Here’s hoping it works out, but for now let’s all take a deep breath.


About jml16

Covers the University of Illinois. Cubs, Packers, Bulls and Illini fan. Illinois Alum. Currently in enemy territory studying at Northwestern Law.

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3 Comments on “Shaka Watch 2012”

  1. Tony Says:

    Doc Sadler is available.


  2. jml16 Says:

    And that’s that. No Shaka for the Illini, and embarrassing talk on all the ESPN shows today about how we couldn’t land him.


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