Jump to content

Join Our Community

Are you a fan of the Texas Longhorns? Registration is FREE and EASY. Join the discussion!
Sign Up for FREE
Sign in to follow this  
HornSports Staff

Naming names (Chris Flanagan on UT's hoops candidates)

Recommended Posts



submitted Today, 05:42 PM in Texas Longhorns Basketball By Chris Flanagan

The race for Texas's new head basketball coach is on, and is replete with rumors on coaches that are and are not going to be part of the search. Here are the favorites, longshots, dark horses, and my pick for the next Texas men's basketball head coach.:

The Favorite: Shaka Smart

If reports are true that the Texas Longhorns want to have the position filled within a week, Smart’s name is at the top of the list. Coaches and athletic directors often attend the Final Four, and my guess is Steve Patterson will be in Indianapolis, as will Smart. While there, it’s not a stretch to think that Patterson interviews, negotiates, and reaches a decision on who he wants to be the next head coach.

The Darkhorses: Larry Krystkowiak; Archie Miller; Billy Donovan; Chris Mack

Krystkowiak has gone from 6 wins in his first season as Utah head coach to the Sweet 16 in his fourth season. He also has NBA experience so Patterson might rate that highly. Archie Miller is definitely getting a look but might be better placed in the longshot category.

Billy Donovan makes sense for many reasons: he is relatively young (49), and has been with Florida for nearly 20 years…it’s not too farfetched to think Donovan might be looking for a change.

However, he is one year removed from the winningest season at Florida (36 wins) and he will go down as the greatest coach in Florida history. I have doubts that Donovan would leave that behind and try something new. You miss 100% of the shots you don't take, so I bet Patterson makes a phone call but Donovan stays at Florida.

Chris Mack is a Xavier Alumni who has sustained what Sean Miller built while coaching there, but questions surround whether Mack can build a perennial power in a power conference on his own. I do not have those reservations.

Chris Mack has the same amount of NCAA tournament appearances as Shaka Smart (5 in 6 years) but he guided Xavier from the Atlantic-10 to the Big East seamlessly by making the NCAA tournament in Xavier's first 2 years in the conference. That is quite impressive.

Longshot: Brad Stevens

This is thinking outside the box but it could make sense. Brad Stevens is in Boston but the Celtics are bad. Considering that the Celtics are in playoff contention, the Eastern conference is even worse.. In Stevens, you have a coach who left Butler and is likely going to be fired in the next 2 years. He represents UT's chance to get Rick Pitino 2.0, and would probably stay in Austin and build a national title contender.

Who will win the race?

Shaka Smart.

Shaka Smart is a great coach who has sustained tremendous success at VCU since the team’s final four appearance. Smart is only 38 years old and could be viewed in Austin much the same way that Billy Donovan is in Gainesville. Bottom line is that Smart is comfortable with less of the spotlight (read: Texas is a football school), and would be attracted to UT’s resources and access to a great recruiting base.

Smart is a high energy personality, and his team emulates that personality. His "Havoc" defense consistently is one of the best in the nation: between 2011-2014, VCU ranked #1 nationally in turnovers and steals forced per possession. The Longhorns biggest flaw this past season was the inability to create turnovers that sparked the transition game. That would never be a problem with Shaka Smart. 

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

I'm not anti shaka, but his sustained success since his final four is no trips to the second weekend for four straight years.


That's what got the last guy fired


That's a significant flaw. Although I would suggest that its reasonable at a mid-major but you're right. 


I would say that Rick Barnes got fired for not living up to expectations but consistently doing it. Its been 7 years since Texas made it to the second weekend. Also, Rick Barnes had no legacy to insulate himself from criticism. 


Duke had not been to the final four since 2010. That 4 seasons until this season that had occurred. But Coach K has some insulation. 


Roy Williams hasn't been to the FInal Four since 2009 and he has missed the tournament once and only gotten to the second weekend 2 times since 2009. He bought himself some insulation with 2 NCs. 


Rick Barnes bought himself insulation with a final four and a couple of big 12 titles and national POY winners. That insulation ran out this year. Roy Williams might be in that same spot in a few years if he doesn't start to win big again but he has bought time. 



Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

Sign in to follow this  

Franchise Quest

  • Latest Posts

    • He's a player of note at the Senior bowl this week.
        OT Desmond Harrison, 6’6, 313 lbs, West Georgia

      What a surprise? Another small school prospect but you’re going to have to get creative in this class of offensive linemen. Harrison was actually a former Longhorn but failed drug tests got him dismissed by then-coach Charlie Strong. Harrison really played well for the Wolves and he’s got a lot riding on this opportunity. He’s got NFL size, quickness, athleticism, and length.

      Harrison is better developed than a lot of offensive linemen in this draft and could really see his draft stock soar with a solid Senior Bowl performance. He’s seemingly put his problems behind him and is currently projected as a second-round pick with potential to move up the boards.

    • Kinda hope Leon goes to aggy. He would fit right in.
    • The hate is strong with this one....
    • I think Neon Leon is telling Overshown he needs that "win or lose" attitude to play for Texas.
    • Another tweet that I don't get. Am I just dense or what?......Wait. Don't answer that.