Shaka Passes On Champaign

March 21, 2012

Illinois Hoops

Shaka Smart takes a pass on the Illini's very public offer.

Shaka Smart ops to stay in the commonwealth of Virginia:

Illinois struck out on landing the coaching candidate that many in the basketball world called a “home run” option when Virginia Commonwealth coach Shaka Smart turned down a lucrative offer to replace Bruce Weber in Champaign.

Athletic director Mike Thomas now will turn to his second-choice options, which include Alabama’s Anthony Grant and Florida State’s Leonard Hamilton, according to sources. Both are considered to have strong interest in the job.

Illinois also will give consideration to assistants Johnny Dawkins of Stanford and Jeff Capel of Duke.

I saw Twitter chatter asking if Illinois is a top five job in the nation. The better question is: Is Illinois a top five job in the Big Ten?



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2 Comments on “Shaka Passes On Champaign”

  1. jml16 Says:

    Definitely not close to top 5 in the nation, I think most Illini fans view it as historically a top 25 job, a step below the truly great college BB jobs.

    As far as your question about top 5 in the big 10? Come on. Since 1996 (extremely arbitrary start date) here’s how the Illini stack up:

    Second in wins- 367 (Mich St. 393)
    Most 20 win seasons- 13
    3rd most NCAA Appearances- 12 (Mich St. 15, Wisky 13)
    One of Four teams to make a NCAA Title game
    And, Illinois has the second most tournament wins All-Time- 29 (Indy 35)

    Clearly a top 5 team. The past season was a debacle, no doubt about it. But Illinois is still a great job (not elite) and Shaka passing on it speaks more to his desire to stay at VCU than Illinois not being a good place to coach.


    • Tony Says:

      That doesn’t mean they aren’t good; instead, it just asks whether it is a destination job with the amenities/support/tradition needed to succeed.

      I think the CBS guys had it as: Indiana, Ohio State, Michigan State and then some combination of Wisconsin/Purdue/Illinois/Michigan.


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