So we have so questions about how the Smart-UCLA story. It seems beyond bizarre.
From what we can glean from numerous reports (linked on our home page posts and all over this site), emails from UCLA connected folks we trust, it appears that Dan Guerrero and his "search committee" had targeted three coaches: Brad Stevens, Billy Donovan and Rick Pitino. We can cross Stevens off the list of the "Final-4." I will give Stevens credit for the class and grace he has shown through this process. Butler is lucky to have him.
We are not going hold our breath for Donovan or Pitino. None of them appears to be realistic gets. Perhaps we move down to second tier (for lack of better word) candidates such as Greg Marshall who has been toiling at mid-major for more than a decade, without ever getting a whiff at a major D-1 job. Hey that is fine. If we get someone like Marshall, while we will give him the same deference we gave Mora (despite expressing our disappointment with the hire), the all-out pressure will remain on Guerrero for once again being an EPIC FAIL.
All that aside, the question remains why didn't UCLA include Shaka Smart in the first-tier of the coaching search? There are lot of questions as to whether UCLA actually made Smart an offer and based on reports it appears the answer is negative.
Why wasn't Coach Smart pursued with the same "tier-1" intensity that was applied to a coach like Stevens? From reports we have read and heard it appears Smart never did an interview with UCLA and instead opted to stay at VCU for a raise of $300k which is not all that much.
So what is going on? Why didn't Guerrero have a plan which included an intense strategic pursuit of Smart?
Does anyone have answers? If you are no comfortable sharing your thoughts and want to go "off the record" feel free to send us emails.