ESPN on Shaka Smart and James Johnson

This morning’s headlining article over at the ESPN NCAA basketball section features both Shaka Smart (along with a giant picture of Coach Smart) and James Johnson. The article looks at the sometimes confusing and unpredictable career paths of college basketball assistants. “This is one of those professions where you have to be an apprentice for […]

This morning’s headlining article over at the ESPN NCAA basketball section features both Shaka Smart (along with a giant picture of Coach Smart) and James Johnson. The article looks at the sometimes confusing and unpredictable career paths of college basketball assistants.

“This is one of those professions where you have to be an apprentice for a long time before you get your own shot,” Smart said. “I was an assistant for 10 years. There are a lot of guys who’ve done it twice as long or longer, and they’re still in the hunt for that first opportunity.”

And here’s Coach Johnson on the matter:

“One of the things you have to overcome is the fact that you’ve never been a head coach,” said new Virginia Tech head coach James Johnson. “That’s a question, and that’s not necessarily at the big head-coaching [opportunities]. That comes into effect when you’re going after jobs in the smaller leagues.When you’ve been an assistant, they want to know how is he going to be? He’s never been a head coach before. I’d say that’s a question that comes up.”

The article also mentions VCU’s Villa 7 program, which is designed to connect athletic directors and assistants.

This week, dozens of assistant coaches and administrators are meeting at the Nike campus in Beaverton, Ore. The Villa 7, an annual event sponsored by Virginia Commonwealth and Nike, aims to connect aspiring assistant coaches with some of the game’s top decision-makers.

The event, which helped Smart and a multitude of future head coaches earn their first jobs, offers a speed-dating session that helps assistants network and establish those critical relationships.

“It’s an honor to be involved with it. And it’s a great chance to put yourself in a situation where you’ll be in front of some people [who] make the decisions,” said Ohio State assistant Jeff Boals, who’s attending the event this week.

Head on over to ESPN and read the whole thing.

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Ross Catrow

Ross loves his family, Richmond, and beer (in that order). He is the master and commander of the good ship RVANews, and he watches a lot of movies.

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