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Tuesday, March 1, 2016

Shaka Smart: KU’s Big 12 streak ‘unheard of’

Kansas guard Frank Mason III (0), left and Wayne Selden Jr. right, come off the court after an 86-56 win over the Longhorns Monday, Feb. 29, 2016 at the Frank Erwin Center in Austin, Texas.

Kansas guard Frank Mason III (0), left and Wayne Selden Jr. right, come off the court after an 86-56 win over the Longhorns Monday, Feb. 29, 2016 at the Frank Erwin Center in Austin, Texas.

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— Texas coach Shaka Smart, even before suffering an 86-56 defeat at the hands of perennial Big 12 juggernaut Kansas, spoke highly of KU’s winning 12 straight regular-season league titles.

“It’s unheard of actually at this level,” Smart began. “You look at a team like Gonzaga that’s been so dominant in their league (West Coast Conference). You are talking about the Big 12, which the past few years has been the best league in the country RPI wise and has had 70 percent of its teams in the NCAA tournament.”

Smart continued: “It’s a terrific run they’ve been on. I think the credit goes first and foremost to coach (Bill) Self and his staff. They are the ones that are the constant over that 12-year period. They’ve had really good players over those 12 years. Those guys have bought into the staff’s plan. They have an expectation they are not just going to win but do the things that go into winning.”

Smart elaborated on those expectations: “Everyone wants to win, but are you willing to do all the little details and all those things that go into winning? Frank Mason does that. Perry Ellis does that. Once players move on that mindset is pervasive in the program.”

Smart was asked if it’d be better for the league if KU was knocked off its throne.

“It’d be better for everybody else in the league,” he said with a laugh. “Certainly it’d be better for the other nine schools if one of us could jump up in there and break that streak, but I don’t think it’s bad for the league at all.

“Kansas is one of the best programs in the country,” Smart said, “so it’s not like you are talking about someone who does not represent the league at the most elite of levels.”

Smart on Perry Ellis: “I think he deserves way more attention nationally than he gets. I think Buddy Hield is the best player in the country. He’s obviously the best player in the conference. I think Perry is as difficult a matchup as anybody in our league.”

Texas home finale: UT seniors Demarcus Holland, Javan Felix, Cameron Ridley, Connor Lammert, Danny Newsome and Prince Ibeh were honored before the game as part of Senior Day.

“Our seniors have put a lot in this program, been through ups and downs,” first-year UT coach Smart, who took over for Rick Barnes, said. “I’d say more ups than downs. They’ve faced their share of adversity and have I think grown from it.”

Before the game he said he hoped Texas could, “create an experience this evening they can look back on the rest of their life with a lot of pride. It’s what it’s all about.”

— See what people were saying about No. 1-ranked KU’s Big Monday game at Texas during KUsports.com’s live coverage.


More news and notes from KU’s dominant victory at Texas


By the Numbers: Kansas 86, Texas 56

By the Numbers: Kansas 86, Texas 56

Comments

Chad Harris 3 years, 8 months ago

This team played their hearts out, they were just having fun last night. When Perry scored his 10th point, did anyone else see him stick his tongue out? Perry is on another level this year. He is attacking an straight up abused anyone covering him last night. The Jamari dunk was the best dunk of the season, that was just unreal.

I feel like KU has so much momentum that will carry them deep into March. This team has something to prove and they are all playing together. Let's finish KU and bring the championship back to KU.....ROCK CHALK!!!!

Harlan Hobbs 3 years, 8 months ago

It's taken some time, but I will now admit to being a fan of Shaka Smart. He's a quality coach with an extremely bright future. Now that he is at a potentially premier program, his recruiting skills will be more on display. His overall success at VCU already proved that he can coach.

Jeff Coffman 3 years, 8 months ago

A very overrated coach. His team is inconsistent. This is a coach that has never once won a conference championship. He inherited a solid team, I'm not sure his style of offense will sway top recruits over a long haul, and he adjusted significantly this year just to keep the team moving forward. I do realize there are successful coaches that do run this style and do acquire talent (some with national championships Pitino come to mind). However, I really don't think he has proven himself consistently. My bold prediction is that KU will have more conference championships during the Self/Smart overlap than KU will have losses to Texas over that timeframe. Current 1 CC and 0 losses.

Cameron Cederlind 3 years, 8 months ago

Before the game he said he hoped Texas could, “create an experience this evening they can look back on the rest of their life with a lot of pride. It’s what it’s all about.”

Oops

Kent Wells 3 years, 8 months ago

"We have them surrounded" - General Custer

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