MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Sources in Virginia Commonwealth say they expect head men’s basketball coach Shaka Smart to sign a contract extension with the school, spurning potential offers from the Gophers and UCLA.

The new leader of the Gophers will have to be a lot of things, including a quick study.

Former coach Tubby Smith fought a battle for a new practice facility for a long time. But does that really make a difference in recruits’ eyes?

Zach Goring is the head coach at Apple Valley, home of the recently crowned Class 4A state champion boys basketball team.

He coaches the state’s top prize in Tyus Jones and says practice facilities do make a difference.

“When these kids go off and visit, (other schools) have tremendous practice facilities and places they can get into at any hour of the day — lounges, locker rooms, TVs and places to study, and where they can be a group,” Goring said.

But it’s not just facilities that make a player take note. It’s the coach’s personality.

“Being a point guard, that’s something I look at specifically,” Jones said. “Then you look at the type of guys that are on the team.”

And the recruiters keep coming. A family member said North Carolina coach Roy Williams was in town on Tuesday working on Robbinsdale Cooper star Rashad Vaughn.

De La Salle’s Reid Travis keeps accumulating offers – Oregon just jumped into the fray. So whoever takes over at the U of M has to win him over soon.

“Obviously sooner would be a lot better,” he said. “As I go along with my process of recruitment, I want to see who the coach is and build that relationship and go from there. Minnesota is always a school I’ll give a strong interest in.”

But no matter who the new coach is, it’ll be difficult to land any of the big three recruits because their relationships are so entrenched with so many different coaches.

Reid is even more complex, as he’s the state top’s quarterback and is hoping to play both sports in college.


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