Things New Marquette Coach Shaka Smart Can Do To Make An Immediate Impact
Shaka Smart is taking over Marquette’s basketball program. The news broke on Friday that Smart will be the head coach of the Golden Eagles. He arrived in Milwaukee yesterday, and he will meet with the media Monday. Smart is a home run hire for Marquette. A guy that I did not consider on my list considering he was at Texas, a much bigger institution. Marquette isn’t a step down for Smart, rather a different lifestyle back in his home state. Smart can win here and he can return Marquette to what they had with Buzz Williams. What are the type of things that Smart could do? Glad you asked.
1. Try to convince Garcia, Carton, and Lewis to stay – From all that I can see, it appears that all three might be on their way back to Marquette. If that’s the case, the Golden Eagles are set up for a great year one under Smart. Now if they decide to transfer or go pro, that’s completely understandable. But you have to think Lewis and Garcia especially should think long and hard about staying. Garcia got offered by Smart in his recruiting days, so, there’s a relationship there. For Lewis as well as Garcia, there is the chance to be developed by a coach that has had multiple NBA lottery big men. That has to be alluring and it’s also exciting as a Marquette fan.
2. Check in on the recruiting class Marquette has in 2021 – Golden Eagles had three recruits for next season. Jonas Aidoo, Kameron Jones, and Stevie Mitchell. My guess is Smart will be all over Aidoo. He is a top 100 player and again, Smart has been able to make NBA big men. The resume is there. It would be hard to see Aidoo passing that up. Not sure if Mitchell and Jones will fit into what Smart wants to do with his team. Another option could be David Joplin. The 6’5 forward committed to Texas and is from Brookfield, Wisconsin. Do you think he wants to stay home instead? It will be interesting to see what Smart does here.
3. Unlock Marquette’s potential on defense – I’m fascinated to see what Smart will do for defense. Is he going to head back to the havoc style? Or will he stick with what they’ve done in Texas? Regardless, it will be an upgrade from Steve Wojciechowski. Wojo’s defenses have been so so bad. Marquette is going to dig in on that end for the first time in a long time. They have the talent to be good defensively.
4. Bring back the excitement in Marquette basketball – I’ll be honest this was the first year in a long, long time where I was just out on Marquette. Wojciechowski drained me of fun and excitement. Most fans felt this way as well. Now, there’s a real chance Smart can bring Marquette’s fan base from the grave and fill up the Fiserv Forum assuming all goes well with vaccines and such. People were fired up in a way I hadn’t seen in some time with Marquette the last few days. It’s great to see.
Let’s go Shaka and let’s go Marquette.