Shaka Smart calls Coach K’s comments ‘low level’

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RICHMOND, Va. (WTVR) – As the VCU Rams prepare for Friday’s NCAA tournament game against Stephen F. Austin State University, Rams head coach Shaka Smart is making headlines for his reaction to recent comments by Duke University hall of fame basketball coach Mike Krzyzewski.

Following Duke’s win over N.C. State Saturday at the ACC tournament, Coach K lobbied for the Wolfpack to get into the 68-team NCAA tournament field while taking a swipe at the perceived strength of the Rams’ Atlantic 10 conference.

“I’ll get in trouble probably for saying it,” Krzyzewski said. “[I] like the Atlantic 10; they’re a really good conference. I hear people saying there are six teams in there [worthy of making the tournament]. Come on. I mean, they’re good, but put them in our conference and go through the meat grinder that our conference has to go through.”

When asked about the comments during his Monday press conference, Smart fired back.

“I’m not going to take a shot at other people’s leagues. That’s just not the way I was raised by [his former head basketball coaches] Oliver Purnell and [Florida head coach] Billy [Donovan] and people like that. That’s low level,” Smart said.

Click here to watch Coach Smart discuss Coach K’s comments

“Comparing your own league to someone else’s league is like me saying ‘my daughter is cuter than your daughter.’ There’s a level of bias that comes into play that you shouldn’t even make those comments,” Smart said. “Let’s just have a level of respect for each other.”

Smart’s comments seem to contradict what the coach said two years ago about VCU’s conference at the time, the Colonial Athletic Association.

“The reality is if you go by the numbers, if you go by postseason, if you go by even guys going to the NBA, the best programs in the state are in the CAA. It’s really not even close,” Smart was quoted as saying in the Washington Post. Both Virginia and Virginia Tech are members of the ACC.

The conference war of words will ultimately be decided on the basketball court.

Both the ACC and A10 received six bids to the NCAA tournament. N.C. State won its opening round game Tuesday night and will face A-10 regular season champion St. Louis on Thursday night. As for VCU and Duke, they would not match-up until the national title game.

The last time the Rams and Blue Devils squared off in the NCAA tournament was in 2007. VCU won 79-77.


  • Joe

    People that care about this kind of stuff should look into getting a productive hobby.

    Go learn something. Stop living vicariously through “college” athletes that often struggle to write a five page essay.

    • Big Joe

      As a parent of a “college athlete” I find your comments short sighted and stereotypical. You sound like the guy that was always jealous of the kids with brains and a gifted athletic ability. I can assure that people such as myself, my wife, and our family have plenty of interesting hobbies and yet still find the time to feel passionately about our schools athletic programs.

    • MCV87

      If you don’t care about ‘this kind of stuff’, then why’d you take the time to comment? The kind of person that does that (you) needs to get a life.

  • Duke Dookie

    When Shaka wins four national championships, and two Olympic gold medals. His opinion might be worth something. Until then, remember you are just a coach at a small mid-major, ie. a big fish in a small pond. Tech and Boston College are looking for a coach if he wants to put his money where his mouth is…and step up to the big leagues.

    • Justafan

      Hey Dookie and Everet move out of your parents house and watch some college basketball besides Duke games…There are other good teams out there. Looks like Smart made it to the final four at a younger age than Coach K and has many years ahead of him. It’s sad that Coach K felt the need to beg for additional teams to make it to the tourny. ACC is not what it used to be, the bottom half are horrible..maybe you still have nightmares of Eric Maynor driving to the hoop in the closing seconds….

    • Terry

      Duke Dookie: Just for the record, VCU went 3-1 against the “Big League” ACC, including a win over a 1 seed UVA-something your
      little Dookies couldn’t quite pull off in the ACC tournament.

  • Everett Case

    I dunno, Jeff Capel was the man when he was the coach at VCU. He is just a clipboard holder for Coach K now after he bombed out at Oklahoma, so that alone tells me there is a difference between the level of competiton.

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