By Joe Henricksen

Shaka! Shaka! Shaka! Please, Shaka!

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By Joe Henricksen

The Shaka Saga: Day 3

I take a scene out of the classic comedy "Dumb and Dumber" and insert the two focal points of the Illinois wooing of the VCU head coach ...

Mike Thomas: What do you think the chances are of a coach like you and program like ours ... ending up together?
Shaka Smart: Well, Mike, that's difficult to say. I mean, we don't really...
Mike: Hit me with it! Just give it to me straight! I came a long way just to see you, Shaka. The least you can do is level with me. What are my chances?
Shaka: Not good.
Mike: You mean, not good like one out of a hundred?
Shaka: I'd say more like one out of a million.
(pause)
Mike: So you're telling me there's a chance ... YEAH!

Does the Shaka and Mike Thomas discussion this week resemble Lloyd Christmas courting Mary Swanson back in the 1990s? Is this how the Shaka and Illinois saga goes down? Come on, Shaka! Just give MT a chance! That's all he wants.

As serious as all this is for the Illini faithful -- and I do hope Shaka Smart changes his mind and fills the dream of Illini fans everywhere because he is the best man for the job -- can't we still have a little fun?

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11 Comments

Why "change his mind"? Has his mind been made?

Still thinking no Shaka, Joe? Starting to look a little better on that front, IMO.

This Shaka search has been a waste of our time. But can't say you didn't warn us days ago Joe. Please, no hope? Nothing? Give me something. And if not give me the next Illini coaching tidbit.

I could have saved a lot of time and anxiety over last week if I had just listened to your sources and words of wisdom Joe on all this Shaka stuff. Boy oh boy. Whose next?

Here is the thing Joe...Illinois thinks way too highly of itself as a job. Its a good not great job, possible to be a great job but that's the hook. You got guys with good jobs contemplating why should I leave a good job for an as good a job or more difficult job. Its a hard job too, even Bill Self said so, I heard him once say its tough to get inthe top 5 in the conference on a consistent basis....Michigan State, Indiana, and Ohio State are much better situations, plus you have Michigan which should be a powerhouse and Wisconsin / Purdue which are always tough. Kids in this state as a whole do not grow up dreaming of being an Illini as they do in other states. There is no loyalty to the school like other states have to their state school....how many alums in Chicago and the suburbs alone are from other Big Ten schools and have loyalty there. Drive around a suburb or in Lincoln Park in football season and see all the different college flags hanging. Top that with the city kids who just want to get out of Illinois and then there are the McDonald's American type players top kids who want to go to the Dukes, Kansas, N. Carolinas, Michigan States, etc. Its just a tough job for someone to leave a good situation for. when Self came here a decade ago Tulsa wasn't paying him what VCU is paying Smart or Butler Stevens for that matter. Times have changed and you just can't expect high profile guys to jump to take this job when its at best the 4th best job in the conference.

I'm going to give it to you Joe. I've read dozens of reports. And you only one that went with No Shaka and stuck with it through the whole process. And I bet you took some s$#t for it!

So give us your next tidbit dude! Dang. Should have listened.

Joe, you were right on from the start. It is amazing the sources that you have. We all should know better than to question you. You really do have the inside information on so many issues. Nobody does it better. The other evaluators should stop fighting you and jump on board. Keep up the great work.

@Hoopdirt, I am not following your logic. What, in your mind exists, in East Lansing or Bloomington or Columbus that doesn't in Champaign? What is there to preclude U of I from being a top tier program if they bring in the right coach, so to speak? In my mind Michigan State is good because of Izzo, the coach, conversely the same with Ohio State and Indiana. The schools brought in the right coach who was good enough to elevate the program. Keep in mind that Indiana has been really bad from the time Bobby Knight until recently, they weren't good at all under Davis and Sampson and Crean just got them back on track this season. Another example is Wisconsin, they are good because of Bo Ryan. I recall years they were at the bottom of the conference prior to his arrival in Madison.

So here it is, that job is as good as the coach. There is nothing that goes on in other places that wouldn't or couldn't go on here if U of I hires the right coach to elevate it to that level. Again, is Butler good because it's in Indiana or because Brad Stephens elevated that program?

And lest we not forget that Illinois was a perennial top 20 program under Henson, Kruger and Self.

Also, I'm curious to know if you still think Smart isn't qualified to coach in the Ten after seeing VCU in the tourney?

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This page contains a single entry by Joe Henricksen published on March 20, 2012 1:09 PM.

Elite programs stand out in Peoria was the previous entry in this blog.

Where does Illinois hoops program rank? is the next entry in this blog.

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