Shaka: No thanks, Illinois
For Illinois athletics director Mike Thomas, it appears to be on to the next one.
Sought-after coach Shaka Smart informed Illinois he will stay at VCU, a source confirmed today. The fansite Peegs.com reported on its Twitter account that Smart turned down an offer from Illinois.
VCU hasn't commented on the speculation today, but sources indicate the school could release a statement or hold a press conference to formally announce Smart's decision.
Late Wednesday afternoon, the school made it official.
"I am very grateful for the support and belief in the coaching staff and basketball program that comes from the very top of our university's leadership — President Rao, Athletic Director Norwood Teague and the VCU Board of Visitors — well as our phenomenal fans," Smart said. "There are great things to accomplish at VCU and I'm looking forward to building on the successes of our program and university."
The rejection wasn't entirely unexpected. As speculation on Smart's status grew stronger, so did indications he would stay at VCU.