VCU coach Shaka Smart is a quote loving savant.
I would have said "fool" instead of "savant" except there's not one thing foolish about the young coach for the Rams. He values education, holding a history degree and a master's in sociology.
He appreciates well-crafted quotations and has collected 110 pages of them. Someday, I'm hoping Stan Silliman quotes will be in his collection. Here's a couple:
"It's never smart to bet against a guy named Smart." - Stan Silliman
"Motivation is 50 percent inspiration, 50 percent perspiration and 50 percent exaggeration." - Stan Silliman
Shaka has taught the value of sharing the ball (as a player he led his high school and college team in assists) and a team oriented pressing defense.
In the NCAA tournament, these principles helped his Rams from the Colonial Athletic Association to defeat a team from the Pac-10 (USC), the Big East (Georgetown), the Big Ten (Purdue), the ACC (Florida State) and the Big XII (No. 1 seed Kansas).
"His team has more tournament wins than any other team in the Big Dance." - Stan Silliman. That's a nice quote, albeit factual. Surely, Mr. Smart will add this to his collection.
You appreciate how much Shaka Smart values education.
He had a chance to go to Harvard but turned it down to attend Kenyon in Ohio where he was magna cum laude in history. Then he became an assistant coach at California University in Pennsylvania while he got his masters. If you're confused by there being a California University in Pennsylvania, then put yourself in Shaka's shoes. He went to high school in Oregon, Wisconsin. You know what I always say?
"What doesn't confuse you makes you smarter."
Another quote worthy of book insertion. Here's another one and this one is not by me but it does belong in the confusing category: "I think the whole reason for my life is in there somewhere."
That was from the chantilly chanteuse, Chaka Khan, famous songstress and lover of education, herself. Also she shares a homophonic first name with the coach which makes me think he might appreciate her education quote: "Getting a degree, being on Sesame Street... those were like real accomplishments to me."
As the young coach guides his team into the Final Four, he'll be there sporting the tiniest paycheck of the remaining coaches. Calhoun and Calipari will not chuckle at Shaka's salary but they will pull down more in a month then he collects all year.
For this reason we felt Shaka Smart deserves our adoration. He's not just an underdog; he's an underpuppy.
His Rams have shown they deserve to be here. For what they might lack in size and muscle, they make up with in teamwork and smarts and good shooting.
Even though Butler is the Hoosiers, the Rams are more the Hoosiers. For all the years Shaka spent studying Roots his team deserves our roots.
They're in the Big Dance and should inspire our love. And who better to belt out love lyrics for the Rams about dancing in the Big Dance than love lyricist, Chaka Khan. Especially when you think those other guys might be hotter. From "I'm Dancing For Your Love." Show 'em Chaka:
I see that guy you're standing near
I know you think he's fine
He gets you hot with his dancing gear
But you ain't had none of mine
Do you see what I mean? Stay true to Shaka. You'll be tempted to bet on the big boys but Chaka straightens you up. And in this next song "I Feel For You" the one where she mentioned her own name 118 times, Chaka Khan explains why you should stay on the Rams bandwagon. Hit it, Chaka:
Baby, baby when I look at you
I get a warm feeling inside
There's something 'bout the things you do
That keeps me satisfied