VCU v Michigan

Shaka Smart’s new contract at Virginia Commonwealth


In this day and age, job security is seemingly as important as a high-paying job.

For Shaka Smart, he has both at Virginia Commonwealth.

On October 11th, Smart signed a new contract with VCU — different from the one he signed this past March — that enables the 36 year old coach to remain in his current job through 2028. The previous deal went through 2023.

According to Paul Woody of the Richmond Times-Dispatch, Smart’s base salary is $450,000 per year, but his supplemental income increases from $800,000 to $950,000 with the new deal. Furthermore, Smart’s guaranteed compensation is $1.45 million in the first year of the contract and $1.5 million in subsequent years.

What makes it such a unique contract are the many incentives:

In addition to his base salary and supplemental income, the contract states Smart will receive $25,000 per year for university sponsored radio and television appearances.

Smart can be required to speak at or attend events or functions sponsored by the university, the university development office and other affiliated organizations that benefit the university directly or indirectly.

He will receive $25,000 annually for such appearances.

Other potential compensation includes $6,500 for every VCU game broadcast nationally and $3,500 per game broadcast outside the VCU or Atlantic 10 package.

Smart will receive $5,000 for a victory over a member of the ACC — four are on VCU’s schedule this season — and $2,000 for defeating Old Dominion.

If the Rams miss the NCAA tournament but are selected for the NIT, Smart will receive $2,000. He can make as much as $31,000 if VCU wins the NIT.

If the Rams win 20 or more games in a season, Smart receives a $20,000 bonus.

There also are incentives for players’ academic performances. Smart receives $4,000 for each player who graduates by the summer of the completion of his athletic eligibility and $2,000 per player for any who graduate within one year of the completion of their eligibility.

Smart’s new contract sends a message of program stability and reaffirms to prospective recruits and donors that Smart is content at VCU. Recall that his name was continually being mentioned for big time jobs in the past, namely Illinois, Minnesota UCLA, and USC.

Smart became VCU’s coach in 2009 after Anthony Grant left to take the head coaching position at Alabama. In his four years at the helm, Smart has advanced to the NCAA Tournament three seasons, and went to the Final Four in 2011 as a No. 11 seed. He has a record of 111-37 over the four seasons.

No. 14 Cal goes 0-2 in Las Vegas Invitational

Jaylen Brown
AP Photo/Ben Margot
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After midnight on the east coast on Thanksgiving, No. 14 Cal blew a 15 point second half lead against San Diego State, allowing the Aztecs to use a 30-6 run to put away the game and advance to the final of the Las Vegas Invitational. That’s the same San Diego State team had scored 43 points in a loss to Arkansas-Little Rock last week.

Not 24 hours later, the Golden Bears were shredded defensively by the Richmond Spiders, losing 94-90 in the consolation game of a four-team tournament they were considered to be the heavy favorite in.

It’s a disappointing two-game stretch for Cal, who entered the season as a Pac-12 favorite and had looked the part for the first four games of the season.

And the issue appears to be on the defensive end of the floor.

Richmond is a good Atlantic 10 team. Terry Allen and Marshall Wood are high-major big men, Shawn’Dre Jones is a jitterbug at the point and Chris Mooney runs a Princeton-esque system that is very difficult to prepare for without a day in-between games. So it’s not really surprising that the Spiders gave Cal a fight.

But 94 points?

On the heels of giving up 44 points in the second half against the offensively-challenged Aztecs?

That’s a problem, one that I’m sure that Cuonzo Martin is going to address this week in practice. Martin has managed to put together a roster that is build for small-ball, with four talented perimeter players surrounding a first round pick in the post. But that’s not the style that he’s known for. Martin played his college ball at Purdue in the Gene Keady days. He cut his teeth as a head coach at Missouri State in the Missouri Valley. His team’s at Tennessee were known for being tough and physical defensively.

That’s how Martin coaches, which is part of the reason Cal had such hype entering the year.

The talents of Tyrone Wallace, Jaylen Brown, Ivan Rabb, Jabari Bird and Jordan Mathews on a team with a coach that gets teams to defend the way Martin does? It’s no surprise that pundits would be optimistic.

But as of now, they have some work to do defensively if they want to live up to that hype.

Tyler Ulis injured as No. 1 Kentucky beats South Florida

Tyler Ulis, Ky Howard
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MIAMI (AP) Jamal Murray had 21 points and No. 1 Kentucky scored the final 15 points of the first half on the way to beating South Florida 84-63 in the HoopHall Miami Invitational on Friday.

Skal Labissiere added 17 points for the Wildcats (6-0), who led by as many as 31. Charles Matthews scored 11 points and Isaiah Briscoe finished with seven assists for Kentucky, now a winner of 37 consecutive regular-season games and 39 in a row against unranked opponents.

Chris Perry scored 14 points for USF (1-5), which has lost 18 consecutive games against teams ranked in the Top 25. Jaleel Cousins added 12 points on 5-for-6 shooting, and Jahmal McMurray scored 11 points for the Bulls.

Kentucky played the second half without starting guard Tyler Ulis, who departed with a right elbow injury after getting hurt while fighting for a ball loose on the floor.

Kentucky announced after the game that the injury was a hyperextension of the elbow and that he will be day-to-day.

The Bulls were within 27-21 with 6 minutes left in the first half after McMurray banked in a 3-pointer only a few feet away from where John Calipari was standing, and the look of anguish on the Kentucky coach’s face was clear.

It didn’t last long.

The Wildcats scored on seven of their next nine possessions and the game was over by halftime, Kentucky going into the break with a 42-21 lead.

It was a reunion for plenty of people on both benches. Calipari squared off with his former assistant Orlando Antigua, now in his second year leading USF. Antigua’s staff includes another former Calipari assistant in Rod Strickland, plus former Kentucky basketball staff members Mike Malone and Dominic Lombardi.

So the staffs have plenty of familiarity. On the court, there was plenty of disparity. Kentucky finished with a commanding 23-6 edge in points off turnovers and finished with 16 assists to the Bulls’ six.