UT Head Coach Shaka Smart coaches in the Texas Tip-Off at Gregory Gym on Thursday October 20, 2016. JAY JANNER / AMERICAN-STATESMAN

BEVO BEAT Men's Basketball

LISTEN: Shaka Smart talks Jarrett Allen, Nick Saban, more on Fox Sports podcast

Posted November 8th, 2016


Texas coach shared a number of fascinating insights and stories during a nearly 30-minute interview on “The Sidelines Podcast” with Fox Sports college basketball insider Evan Daniels.

Topics ranged from the recruitment of current Longhorns freshman Jarrett Allen, to his respect for Nick Saban, to a story about working out LeBron James when the Cleveland Cavaliers megastar was in high school.

RELATED COVERAGE: Smart begins 2nd season with young roster, same expectations


“Not only does he give us a big boost in terms of being a talented player, but he also helps us move forward in terms of what we want to be about in terms of what we want to be about as a basketball program,” Smart said of Allen, a 6-foot-11 forward who has been projected by many as one of college basketball’s breakout stars this season.

RELATED COVERAGE: Shaka Smart: Jarrett Allen’s recruitment was ‘unique’

Fox also put out its list of “25 players every fan needs to know entering the 2016-2017 college basketball season,” and Allen came in at No. 21.

Smart also shared some interesting takes on Saban, and how he is using the Alabama football coach’s wisdom with this year’s young Longhorns team. Smart said he doesn’t have a relationship with the five-time national champion, but has followed his career closely nonetheless.

“I’m a big Nick Saban fan,” Smart told the Sidelines. “I follow Nick Saban all the time, and I listen to things he says in his press conferences. And the other day he compared freshmen and sophomores to three-, four-, five-year-old kids. He said when you’re a little kid, you go on from the next toy, to the next toy, to the next toy, and it’s hard to have an attention span.

And really, he’s exactly right. That’s what we’re trying to develop in our young guys, it’s like ‘hey, can you stay focused in wanting to be good at these things you can control.’ Whether it’s playing in a stance or communication or being a good teammate, can you stay focused on those things over a length of time so you can be a good player.”

The wide-ranging interview weaved in and out of insights into the 2016-17 Longhorns, but Smart also shared stories about his time at VCU and his introduction to LeBron James — when James was still at Akron St. Vincent-St. Mary High School and Smart was an assistant coach at the University of Akron.

You can listen to the full podcast in the link above.

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