According to Pete Thamel of Sports Illustrated, Virginia Commonwealth University and head basketball coach Shaka Smart are in talks for a contract extension. The 35-year-old Smart has been at the head of the VCU program since 2009.
Even as potential destinations arise, Smart is better off at VCU than his current alternatives.
With openings at UCLA and the University of Minnesota, there has been reasonable speculation that Smart could take over at one of the two major programs. The latest development, however, seems to have put an end to that hype.
If all goes as planned, the Rams will keep their man in town for the foreseeable future.
Sorry, UCLA. VCU is working on an contract extension to keep Shaka Smart. Should have an agreement soon.— Pete Thamel(@SIPeteThamel) March 26, 2013
As intriguing as the other offers may be, it's hard to blame Smart should this deal go through.
Not only has Smart achieved significant success at VCU, but he's in position to reach even greater heights. Keep in mind, this isn't your average mid-major team.
The Rams have become a national power.
The Virginia Commonwealth Rams have now made three consecutive NCAA tournament appearances under Coach Smart. In 2012-13, VCU went 27-9 and made it to the round of 32.
Four of VCU's five leading scorers are expected to return next season.
Troy Daniels and point guard Darius Theus will both be missed. With that being said, Smart has depth on his roster to fill every void left by a departing player.
So why leave a squad with such a bright future ahead of it?
Ben Howland led the UCLA Bruins to three Final Four appearances and a Pac-12 conference title in 10 seasons with the program. Even still, the Bruins decided to part ways with Howland and fired 55-year-old.
That beckons one very simple question: If Howland was fired after such success, why would Shaka Smart want a job with no security?
UCLA has a larger reach than VCU when it comes to recruiting, but that's not the only factor worth considering. Smart would enter a situation in which a majority of his recruits would likely adopt the one-and-done mentality.
Between the job insecurity and the tendency of UCLA recruits to leave after one season, Smart has no reason to end up in UCLA.
As for the Minnesota Golden Gophers, they've been rumored as a potential candidate to land Smart. With that being said, the presence of former VCU Athletic Director Norwood Teague will not offer the same job security as the Rams.
Smart is in prime position for success and longevity. Why jeopardize that for the sake of a big-name program?