Rick Barnes took the job at Tennessee recently to try to bring the Vols’ basketball program back to where it was during the Bruce Pearl era. Pearl, who was fired when NCAA violations surfaced, had the fans, players, and staff on the bandwagon with a culture change. It worked for Bruce, but what does Barnes need to do to achieve the same success?
It was time for Shaka to go. VCU fans don’t want to hear that, but its true. Shaka Smart had taken the Rams as far as they were ever going to go, a perennial March contender. Now, Smart is the head man in charge at Texas after athletic director Steve Patterson and former head coach Rick Barnes mutually decided to part ways after 17 seasons.
Smart is just 38 years old and has already proven to be one the best coaches in the college game today. In 2011, he took the VCU Rams to the Final Four. Had anyone ever really heard of VCU before then?
Don’t lie, you probably hadn’t.
Smart is inheriting a Longhorn basketball program that greatly underachieved under Barnes, going to just one Final Four back in 2003. Here are five things Shaka Smart will have to do in order to turn around the Texas basketball program.
The Vanderbilt Commodores were a very young team in the 2014-2015 season. In fact, Vandy ranked as the fifth-youngest in all of college basketball. Vandy was able to finish the season with a 21-14 record after sitting at 11-10 at the end of January. But with all of the team’s major contributors returning and the stability under head coach Kevin Stallings, this Vanderbilt team is one to look out for in 2015-2016.