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Havoc's Impact (article by Chris Flanagan)

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submitted Today, 12:06 PM in Texas Longhorns Basketball By Chris Flanagan

Deloss Dodds famously said, "We are the Joneses," and that bravado emboldened critics of the Texas Longhorns program. Even without Dodds’ quote, there is no shortage of people who revel in the misfortune of Texas athletic programs.

Being a target of other fans’ ire comes with the territory of being a very large program. As much as the burnt orange faithful enjoy the advantages of being a heavyweight in college athletics, there are even more folks that like to tear down the monster.

On Thursday, the monster reminded everyone why it is both loved and reviled. The Texas basketball program did something that others, including hoops blue blood UCLA, could not do; hire Shaka Smart. The hire reinforced that Texas is the 'Joneses'.

What will Shaka Smart bring to Texas? High-pressure defense and relentless recruiting.

Rick Barnes was a good recruiter and recruiting was improved over the past two seasons. However, Barnes still was not at the level he was when he first took over the program.

At VCU, Shaka Smart recruited and signed eight 4-star players, many of whom were recruited by programs like North Carolina, UConn, and other major programs. Now Texas has a coach that will doggedly pursue the biggest names in recruiting.

The â€˜havoc’ defense that Smart coached at VCU employs multiple full court presses, resulting in the Rams being ranked near the top of steals and turnover margin every year. Smart’s defensive style helped VCU win multiple conference championships.

Rick Barnes is a defense-first coach, but used a completely different style than what Smart brings to Austin. Expect Texas to improve defensive presence in the transition from Barnes’ style to Smart’s ‘havoc’.


Expectations for Smart at Texas are already mountainous, even though he hasn’t been formally announced yet – when a coach is very successful at a previous stop and then goes to a program that demands excellence, such is the natural order of things. The danger for Smart is that there are Texas fans already believing a national championship is on the horizon for the Longhorns. Contrast that with the reality that Smart has not gotten past the first weekend of the NCAA tournament since going to the Final Four in 2011.

Whether Smart provides results at a level that appeases Longhorn fans is the central question. At UT, the resources are plentiful, and Smart will add his energy and charisma. For now, that will be enough….emphasis on “for now”. 

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