Shaka Smart builds his ideal version of a program at Marquette – The Athletic


MILWAUKEE – Ten minutes before the set training time, the male basketball players from Marquette cross the floor of the Forum Fiserv diagonally, bound for the tunnel in the far northwest and the changing rooms beyond. The new head coach follows. He’s about to get to work in this arena for the first time in this capacity, checking his notes and wearing a blue T-shirt with LOST IN THE FIGHT engraved on the front. These four syllables alone resolve the question that has been dragging on for a few months now, for who knows a little about everything that happened before today: No, this is not the reinvention of Shaka Smart.

Moving, of course. A recalibration, in a way. But this mantra on this team gear is nothing new, it was brought up a few years earlier about 1,200 miles south of here, and carried to the shores of Lake Michigan a few years ago. month. This tagline is Smart’s four word statement on how he will do the job of a college basketball coach, living proof of his approach. Taking the Marquette concert is inevitably a life change. Hang a listed house. Redecoration of an office and exercise room. Build a team and a list, and so on. A job change doesn’t necessarily change who is in the job or what they do best to be successful.

He can however remind them.

Over the next half hour, before the fans enter the public part of the practice, a very Shaka Smart practice takes place. When a group hangs out on the ground after a rep against the Boy Scout team, a reply from the head coach follows: Don’t go. Sprint. When Smart wants ball pressure, he yells for Heat! again and again. To start another exercise, Smart holds the ball and barks Marquette! and its players respond in unison with Defense! and slap the ground before he throws the boulder in play and the Golden Eagles come close to their marks. Everything is canon.


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