Here's a quick hitter at where things stand with the Texas Longhorns basketball head coaching search.
Gregg Marshall: Bama Bound?
Yahoo! Sports' Pat Forde was banging the "Marshall ain't interested in Bama" drum over the weekend. It appears Marshall wasn't interested, until he was. The latest is that Marshall is inclined to acquiesce to Alabama AD Bill Battle's request to meet with a suitcase full of hundred thousand dollar bills. Marshall and Battle will reportedly meet in Wichita today, presumably to discuss Kansas weather and FlightAware traffic patterns. And the increasing probability of Marshall possibly coaching Bama.
With regards to Texas, this means one of three things. (1) Steve Patterson is just not that into you, Gregg Marshall. (2) Patterson has leaked a $3M threshold for the head coaching salary, and Marshall is establishing a BATNA. (3) Marshall is genuinely intrigued by the Bama job and Pat Forde was grossly misinformed.
Shaka Smart: The Apple of Patterson's Eye?
College basketball pundits like Jeff Goodman and Kirk "Kurt" Bohls have posited that Marshall and Smart are at the top of Texas' coaching search list. According to a Virginian ABC News affiliate, Smart has emerged as the "leading candidate" for Patterson and Texas. If a local news affiliate uses a hashtag in its video lede (#ShakaWatch2015!), you know it must be fact.
Longhorn followers are skeptical that Smart would actually leave VCU for Texas, as Smart's historical sample size indicates unlikeliness to leave for less than a blue blood gig (see: Marquette lands Smart! ... or nah). It’s the same old story. Steve finds Shaka, Steve loses Shaka, Shaka finds Steve, Steve forgets Shaka, Shaka remembers Steve, Shaka dies in a tragic blimp accident over the Orange Bowl on New Year’s Day.
There also seem to be concerns that Smart's recent NCAA Tournament track record isn't as stellar as Marshall's, or that Smart's style of play is not conducive to the offensive-friendly, Barnes-antithesis that Texas fans are craving, or that Smart's recruiting track record does not indicate that he can land the top-tier talent that Texas should be bringing to Austin. Seriously.
Darkhorse Candidates: NBA Experience Required?
It would be unsurprising if Steve Patterson, ex-NBA Executive, wanted his next head coach to have ex-NBA something somewhere in his moniker. A few names that have been bandied about:
John Lucas, ex-NBA head coach. Last was a head coach before LeBron James played in the NBA. Outstanding grassroots connections in Texas, particularly Houston. Son Jai was a former player and grad assistant under Barnes. Lucas returning to coaching, particularly in Austin, could go about as well as Boyd Crowder returning to a coal mine.
Avery Johnson, ex-NBA head coach. Currently an ESPN NBA analyst. Theoretically outstanding grassroots connections in Texas, particularly Dallas. Son Avery, Jr is currently on scholarship at Texas A&M. No collegiate coaching experience of any kind. Might continually remind you of Kevin Hart, and how much Kevin Hart annoys you despite your teenage son/daughter thinking Kevin Hart is the greatest thing since sliced bread or Dane Cook.
Larry Krystkowiak, ex-NBA head coach. Currently head coach of the Utah Utes. Not currently bandied about as a candidate but seems to fit the Patterson preferred profile. Totally meets tenet three of this interesting John Gasaway article. Coach K nickname already taken, would cause extreme pronunciation problems for Kurt Bohls.