Shaka Smart: Something to say about loyalty

His time will come.

Yes, he will move on to a powerhouse.  It is a matter of time.  It’s not time yet. 

He is young, dedicated and above all, loyal. 

It is a trait that was never learned by some.  Others are so passionate about what they do and grateful to those who have mentored them, nurtured them, helped them along their way, that they can be loyal to a fault.

Can you truly learn to be loyal?  I am not sure.  I think it might be something in your DNA, something innate, you either got it or you don’t. 

And then there’s Shaka.

Illinois came a calling with 2.5 million or so a year.

He opted out of the big money, the big school, the big opportunity (at least for now) because he has some unfinished business at VCU.  

It’s a house that Shaka is building, one brick at time. 

What he has done for this program in just a few years cannot be denied. He has put his blood sweat and tears into it. He is building a program from the grass roots up, a program still in its infancy.  His underclassmen are players he recruited.  He saw something in them; something that he has.  Word will soon be out, he will be the draw, young players will want to play for him, want to be coached by him, and want to experience the “havoc”.  

It speaks to his character.  Never a disparaging word about his opponents or his players, he exemplifies sportsmanship.  

He did this year what no one expected.  They thought last year was a fluke. Though ousted in a close game after a few crucial missed free throws against the Hoosiers, he is not done.  He’ll be back.  He believes in his coaching and his young players’ potential.

Loyalty: a feeling or attitude of devoted attachment and affection.  I am a sucker for it. 

We don’t see much of it any more.

Colleagues are quick to throw one another under the bus to get ahead on a daily basis in every profession; selling out for the big bucks or to make themselves look better.  Then you have those people who are not loyal for other reasons, those that really want to do the right thing but who over compensate so they are not perceived as showing favoritism or in some cases, nepotism.

Some will say it was a bad move on his part and for his coaching career to not take this opportunity.  He will likely need to win his conference every year to make it to the big dance.  Yes, big schools will come calling again.  Shaka knows this.  He also knows deep down it is not his time.  No, it is not his time to move on.

If I were a returning VCU player, I would be even more inspired to play for this coach. His actions speak louder than his words.  He has shown his commitment, dedication and his determination.

Shaka Smart embodies loyalty.  That’s what makes him great.



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