With John Beilein leaving Michigan so late in the year, the Wolverines are going to have to dig deep to find a candidate capable of leading them. One major candidate that has been floated—Oklahoma City Thunder coach Billy Donovan—has reportedly said no, but he did make an endorsement for the job.
According to 247Sports via Ismat Sarah Mangla, Oklahoma City Thunder coach Billy Donovan endorsed Texas coach Shaka Smart for the job. Donovan himself was not interested in the position.
"Michigan did inquire about Oklahoma City Thunder coach Billy Donovan. He isn't interested in the job. But he reportedly endorsed former assistant Shaka Smart as the coach the Wolverines should pursue."
— Ismat Sarah Mangla (@ismat) May 16, 2019
Smart had an up-and-down fourth season with the Longhorns. The team went 16-15 in the regular season and were immediately dumped out of the Big 12 Tournament by Kansas.
But Texas accepted an invitation to the NIT, and finished the year on a five-game winning streak that culminated in an NIT title win over Lipscomb.
The sports book BetOnline has even given Smart 7/1 odds to get the job – tying him for the fifth best among candidates.
Odds on the next Michigan basketball coach (via @betonline_ag)
Juwan Howard 3/1
Billy Donovan 7/2
Bobby Hurley 5/1
Mike White 5/1
Kevin Keatts 7/1
Shaka Smart 7/1
— Chuck Carlton (@ChuckCarltonDMN) May 14, 2019
Smart burst onto the scene with VCU in 2011, leading the Rams to the Final Four in just his second year at the school.
He would lead the Rams to four more NCAA Tournament appearances in a row, along with two conference titles, before being hired by Texas in 2015.
Smart has had somewhat of a harder time translating his success at VCU to success in the Big 12 though.
Outside of this year’s NIT title, Texas has been one-and-done in their two NCAA Tournament appearances with him at the helm.
Will Shaka Smart be the man to replace John Beilein at Michigan?