The Illinois Fighting Illini fired head coach Bruce Weber on Friday morning and their first choice for a new head coach appears to be VCU's Shaka Smart. Smart, who has been the head coach of the VCU Rams since the 2009 season and burst on to the scene when VCU made the Final Four in 2011. Smart appears to be leaning towards taking the Illinois job, according to a report by Dan Wolken of The Daily.
Sounds like Shaka is going to take Illinois or is leaning that way, from what I hear.— Dan Wolken (@DanWolken) March 9, 2012
As mentioned, Smart put his name on the map by making the Final Four in 2011 with VCU in just his third season as the head coach, having spent time prior as an assistant for Florida, Clemson, and Akron. After having lost the majority of the team that got to the Final Four in 2011, Smart once again has the Rams in the NCAA Tournament in March after winning the CAA tournament.
For more on Shaka Smart and the Illinois basketball coaching search, visit SB Nation's Illini blog Hail To The Orange.