COLORADO SPRINGS, COLO. – In just a over a week, the 2011 USA Basketball Men's World University Games National Team Training Camp will get underway in Colorado Springs, Colo. While the red, white and blue will be the most popular colors of choice, black and gold may not be far off.
It was announced today that VCU Head Coach Shaka Smart will join rising senior Bradford Burgess during the week-long stay at the U.S. Olympic Training Center.
Smart was selected as one of three court coaches to assist during training camp. He will be joined by Tony Bennett of Virginia and Sean Miller of Arizona.
"I'm excited about being a part of this process and getting the opportunity to be around some high-level coaches and a roster of terrific players," Smart said. "Most importantly, it's great to have the chance to accompany VCU's own Bradford Burgess along on his quest to represent our country."
Burgess was among twenty-two of the top collegians previously confirmed to participate in the training camp and contend for a spot on the 12-man roster that will represent the USA at the 2011 World University Games men's basketball competition Aug. 13-22 in Shenzhen, China.
At the age of 34, Smart is one of college basketball's 10 youngest Division I coaches. No one would know that based off of results, though.
In two seasons at VCU, Smart is a stellar 55-21 (.724 winning percentage), capturing the College Basketball Invitational title in 2009-10 and advancing the school's first-ever Final Four in 2010-11. In two seasons, Smart is 10-1 in postseason games.
In his first year as a head coach at VCU, Smart turned heads, winning 27 of 36 games. But no amount of first-year success would compare to his sophomore campaign, in which Smart's squad tied a program record with 28 wins and advanced all the way to the NCAA Final Four.
Prior to this past March, no VCU team had ever won more than one game in the NCAA Tournament. This team won five, captivating the nation as it became just the third No. 11 seed to ever advance to the national semifinals.
The Rams finished the season ranked No. 6 in the final ESPN/USA Today Coaches Poll, the highest national ranking ever by a Colonial Athletic Association member.
Smart credits his success to those he learned under as an assistant, which includes stints with Billy Donovan's staff at Florida, Oliver Purnell at Clemson and Dayton, Keith Dambrot at Akron and Bill Brown at California University of Pa.