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Shaka Smart: 5 College Basketball Programs He Instantly Improves

Steven MarinoContributor IIIMarch 26, 2012

Shaka Smart: 5 College Basketball Programs He Instantly Improves

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    Shaka Smart is one of the brightest young coaches that college basketball has to offer. After Brad Stevens and the Butler Bulldogs made a Final Four appearance, the college basketball world thought it saw the end of the Cinderella stories.

    The following year, Butler reached the Final Four for the second straight time, as well as another Cinderella sleeper, Virginia Commonwealth University.

    VCU, an eleven seed at the time, reached the Final Four out of the Colonial Athletic Association.

    The VCU Rams, led by 34-year-old head coach Shaka Smart, shocked the world last season when they took down perennial powerhouse Kansas and lost to Butler in the Final Four.

    After last season Smart received a handsome raise, as well as being one of the top coaches to be in the discussion for the next big coaching job.

    With loyalty and determination, Shaka Smart will be a hard get for many programs. With that being said, here is a list of schools that would love to have Shaka Smart as their head coach.

Illinois

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    The Illinois Fighting Illini missed the big dance this season, causing the university's athletic department to part ways with head coach Bruce Weber.

    The Illini's first order of business? Hire Shaka Smart.

    However, Smart supplied another shock to the college basketball world when he decided to stay in the CAA and remain the head coach of the VCU Rams.

    Illinois could have used the presence of this young, rising coach who contains more energy then some of his players.

    Illinois currently has Jabari Parker, the No. 1 overall player in the 2013 recruiting class, favoring the Illini. With a head coaching change, it should be interesting to see how this affects his recruitment. 

Duquesne

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    The Duquesne Dukes are another team that is having a busy offseason—and not because of postseason play.

    Duquesne recently fired their head coach of six years, Ron Everhart.

    The Dukes compete in the Atlantic 10 division, where they tip off against the likes of Xavier, St. Louis, and Temple, all teams that made it to the NCAA tournament this season.

    The Atlantic 10 is looked upon as one of the best conferences in basketball outside of the big six leagues.

    Duquesne could use the knowledge of Shaka Smart to save their basketball program, which could be sinking quick while competing in the competitive Atlantic 10.

UConn

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    Jim Calhoun and the Connecticut Huskies are one of the top basketball programs in the country.

    Coming off a national championship last season, Calhoun and the huskies were ousted in the fist round of the NCAA tournament.

    Calhoun has three national championships on his resume, but the soon to be 70-year-old head coach has been in and out of the hospital in recent seasons.

    Most recently, Calhoun had surgery on his back, forcing him to miss some Big East games.

    If Calhoun can no longer continue to coach UConn, Shaka Smart would be a great fit to ease the pain in transition from losing a hall of fame coach.

Nebraska

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    Nebraska recently fired their head coach of six seasons, Doc Sadler, and hired Tim Miles from Colorado State University.

    Nebraska is known as a football powerhouse, with their basketball team flying under the radar.

    Moving from the Big 12 to the Big 10, Nebraska competes against Michigan State and Ohio State on a yearly basis.

    The Big 10 was arguably the best basketball conference this season and fills one of the spots in the Final Four with Ohio State.

    If Nebraska wanted to get their basketball program out of the rear view mirror of their football squad, they should have gone for the talents of Shaka Smart.

College of Charleston

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    The College of Charleston lost a great college basketball coach this season, when Bobby Cremins decided to step down for good and retire after 31 seasons of coaching.

    Cremins gathered almost 600 wins in his coaching career and was also the head coach of the ACC's Georgia Tech.

    The College of Charleston has been another Cinderella in recent years, beating North Carolina in a regular season game, causing fans to storm the court.

    The College of Charleston has a legacy and tradition that could be appealing for any coach, especially for Shaka Smart.

    This could be another great landing spot for Smart, which could help open more doors for his next coaching opportunity.

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