VCU Rams: don’t blink

Don’t blink. VCU’s moving at light speed. In the past week, VCU extended Coach Smart’s contract through 2028, VCU earned a #15 preseason ranking, and Troy Daniels signed with the Houston Rockets.

Shaka Smart’s Contract

On Friday, the Richmond Times Dispatch reported the details of Coach Shaka Smart’s contract. The deal, which was signed on October 11th extends through 2028, is extremely lucrative.


  • Annual base salary — $450,000
  • Supplemental Income Payment — $950,000 (increases to $1 million in year 2)
  • Deferred compensation — $60,000
  • Radio and television participation — $25,000
  • University speaking engagements — $25,000
  • Total: $1,510,000

The contract includes up to $356,250 in bonuses related to the NCAA Tournament, $5,000 for beating an ACC team, $2,000 for beating ODU, and $20,000 for a 20+ win season. He will also make money based on TV appearances, attendance, and the academic performance of athletes. The deal is rounded out with a $10,000 clothing allowance, a car, and country club memberships.

While the deal is exciting and 2028 seems like a lifetime from now, the contract doesn’t do much to legally keep Smart at VCU. If Smart leaves after this season, he will have to pay VCU $600,000. For every year he stays, that number decreases by $100,000. It was $700,000 in his previous contract which means he has less financial incentive to continue turning down other offers. Either way, that number is insignificant if Smart decides to leave VCU because the salaries he has been offered by other institutions are closer to $3+ million.

The good news is Smart has stayed at VCU for reasons other than money. He appears to be happy, and every year his team improves. It’s tough to walk away from a 12-seed in the NCAA Tournament, it’s tougher to walk away from a 5-seed in the NCAA Tournament, and it will be really tough to walk away from a team that is a national title contender.

Preseason Rankings

The USA Today Coaches Poll was recently released, and VCU earned its first ever preseason ranking in the publication. Saint Louis and La Salle both earned votes but fell short of the top 25.

  1. Kentucky (16)
  2. Michigan State (3)
  3. Louisville (10)
  4. Duke (3)
  5. Arizona
  6. Kansas
  7. Syracuse
  8. Florida
  9. Michigan
  10. Ohio State
  11. North Carolina
  12. Oklahoma State
  13. Memphis
  14. Gonzaga
  15. 15. VCU
  16. Wichita State
  17. Marquette
  18. Oregon
  19. Connecticut
  20. New Mexico
  21. Wisconsin
  22. Notre Dame
  23. UCLA
  24. Indiana
  25. Virginia

Troy Daniels Joins Houston Rockets

After turning down a deal to play in Australia that would have been worth close to six figures, former VCU sharpshooter Troy Daniels signed a deal to play with the Charlotte Bobcats. After one game he was cut, but Daniels is far from done pursuing his NBA dreams. Daniels will join The Houston Rockets, a team that has title aspirations and a roster that includes Dwight Howard, James Harden, and Jeremy Lin.

With only two preseason games remaining, the Rockets now have 18 players on their roster. According to the collective bargaining agreement, their active roster needs to be cut to 13 players by October 28th. Daniels is fighting an uphill battle, but a spot on the NBA D-League Rio Grande Valley Vipers would give Daniels time to develop and more exposure to NBA scouts. The way Troy Daniels shoots the basketball, anything is possible.

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Aaron Williams

Aaron Williams loves music, basketball (follow @rvaramnews!), family, learning, and barbecue sauce.

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