If there were any NC State or Missouri fans who still had doubts whether their schools should take a run at plucking Shaka Smart from VCU, this video from Friday's practice might change their minds.
The 33-year-old coach participated in what VCU calls the "iron man drill," stepping up to take a charge on 6-foot-7 Reco McCarter, diving to save a loose ball that was going out of bounds and then sprinting to the other end of the court to corral another loose ball. He punctuated the sequence by jumping around in the middle of all his players, getting them excited for Saturday's game.
Even though Smart's motivational technique wasn't enough to propel VCU past Butler on Saturday's national semifinal, that show of energy and charisma is an example of why he'll likely be the most coveted coach on the market this spring. Can anyone imagine Roy Williams, Jim Calhoun or Mike Krzyzewski taking part in the "iron man drill" during practice?
VCU certainly isn't naive about the interest in its head coach likely to come from every major-conference program with a big budget and a vacant head coaching job. Not only has athletic director Norwood Teague told reporters he will be aggressive in making Smart a competitive offer to stay, VCU fans have launched a "Save Shaka" campaign in hopes of raising money to keep Smart.
Keeping Smart will only become more difficult as word of his enthusiasm and accomplishments spreads.
Upon seeing video of Smart from Friday's practice, Missouri guard Kim English tweeted, "Please CBS.. Get that clip of Shaka Smart taking that charge on YouTube."
Sounds like a guy who's hopeful he may have just seen a clip of his future coach.
- Shaka Smart