Gophers Need to Be Sure Shaka is the Right Guy
The dust is settling after Tubby Smith was fired as the head basketball coach at the University of Minnesota on Monday. Athletic Director Norwood Teague will conduct the search to find a replacement. This will be Teague's first hire since taking over for Joel Maturi last summer. Teague was the Athletic Director at Virginia Commonwealth where he hired up and coming head coach Shaka Smart.
Smart may or may not be interested in the Gopher job but the feeling is that his connection with Teague may be enough to get him in Minnesota. Smart reportedly turned down Illinois last off season. VCU was very successful this season finishing with a 27-9 record. VCU was blown out by Michigan in the 3rd round of the NCAA. Smart's "havoc" style is exciting but will it work in the Big Ten? The up and down style hasn't never worked in the Big Ten. The talent is too high and teams like Wisconsin tend to dictate tempo.
The Gophers should look for 2 main characteristics when deciding on a new head coach, player improvement and an offensive plan. Tubby biggest downfall was players never improved on his watch and the team lacked a half court offensive plan. Shaka has succeeded in the Atlantic 10 but I'm not convinced he can in the Big Ten. Dan Monson did well at Gonzaga before getting the job here. It takes a certain type of coach to succeed in the Big Ten. Tom Izzo and Bo Ryan seem to succeed with a tough style of play. I'd like to see the Gophers find a coach who can make more with less.