Smart takes over at Texas

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

— Big 12 basketball Media Day notebook. ...

New Texas coach Shaka Smart was coach at VCU in 2011 when the Rams beat KU in the Elite Eight, 71-61. A reporter referenced it to being a “nightmare” for KU coach Bill Self.

“First of all, I’ve had a lot of bad nightmares. I wouldn’t say that’s the worst ever,” Self said. “That’s one of many we’ve had.”

Smart replaces Rick Barnes, who is now at Tennessee.

“I love Rick Barnes (former UT coach). I loved to compete against Rick’s teams. We’ve had some epic battles over the years,” Self said. “At the same time I was very happy for Shaka. He’s a good coach, good guy. I think he’ll bring energy, enthusiasm to the Longhorns. I think they’ll continue to be very good. It’s a positive for our league to have a guy like Shaka.”

Of his first Texas team, Smart said: “We have one of the more experienced teams around, not just in this league, but I think around the country. At the same time, there are a lot of experienced teams in this league. But sometimes guys that have been playing for a while maybe have a certain way that they think is going to create success for them. A big part of a coach’s job, I learned this from Billy Donovan, is to clearly define and hold accountable what goes into winning. So that’s our job as coaches is to get these guys to understand what we feel is going to go into our team being successful and our guys individually having success.”

Nice pants: West Virginia coach Bob Huggins wore Mountaineer pajama bottoms to Media Day

“I had to do a little speaking thing at graduation, and President (E. Gordon) Gee came in with a pair of pants on like this, and I thought, ‘Boy, that’s a great idea for Media Day.’ So I ordered me a pair,” Huggins said. “He wore one gold and one blue sneaker though, Chuck Taylors. I didn’t go quite that far. But I don’t have the bowtie either. He had the bowtie on as well. Kind of sets the trend for fashion in our state.”

Prohm speaks: New Iowa State coach Steve Prohm has taken over for Fred Hoiberg in Ames: “Obviously we’ve got a lot of expectations, but that’s a good thing. That’s a credit to what they’ve done over the last several years. The job Fred did, the job this senior class has done. They won a lot of games. Georges (Niang) and Naz (Long) have an opportunity to be the winningest players in the history of the school at Iowa State, and that’s an unbelievable achievement to be a part of something like that,” Prohm said.

Self on the scandal that is brewing at Louisville involving a former assistant coach reportedly bringing in exotic dancers to meet with recruits and players: “I don’t know details or so-called facts. I do know it’s sad. It doesn’t shed a positive light on our sport at all,” Self said.

Self did say it’s possible for a head coach like Rick Pitino to not know everything a player or staff member is doing at all times. “I think at a Sprint, Verizon, ATT, whatever major companies there are, I bet their CEO has some employee sometimes do something that goes against company policies even though they’ve been educated over and over what they can and can’t do. Still yet the CEO is ultimately responsible. Sometimes the coach gets a bad name for stuff people assume they can control when in all honesty we go to unbelievable lengths to make sure we do it (educate).”

Self on new rules to prohibit use of hands on defense: “I’ll be shocked if we don’t have multiple games this year where there are 60 free throws shot. ... Fans will have to be patient, too.”

KU’s Perry Ellis on freshman forward Cheick Diallo: “He’s getting better and better each practice. He’s working hard, willing to learn, getting extra time in before practice to learn stuff. He is altering shots around the rim which is big.”

KU’s Hunter Mickelson is one, polite gentleman: “Hunter calls everybody ‘sir’ or ‘yes maam,’’’ Self said. “Hunter was late to my house the other day for a non-important event. He had to buy a new battery or something (for car). He’s five minutes late. He could have been 45 minutes late and it didn’t matter. He felt so bad he was not there on time. He’s such a good kid. Everybody loves him.”