Shaka Smart Reaches out to Former UT Coach

UT's new basketball coach is making himself available to everyone, even those who once held his job.

I got a call from former Texas basketball coach Tom Penders, who wanted to let me know that new UT basketball coach Shaka Smart had reached out to him and to Penders' son, former Longhorn guard Tom Penders Jr., the hoops coach at Clear Lake HS in the Houston area.

"Shaka called me out of the blue and wanted to get my opinion on recruiting and any advice on being the basketball coach at Texas," Penders said. "I joked with him, 'Beware of the politics.' But Shaka is going to be great. I don't think I'm putting any pressure on him when I say I think he's going to be winning big soon in Austin."

Penders said Smart told him he appreciated the up-tempo style Penders employed at Texas and during his coaching career.

"The Texas fans are going to love the way his teams play," Penders said of Smart, who, of course, coaches an up-tempo, full-court style. "The fans loved that style of play when I was there. It's entertaining."

Penders said Smart also reached out to Tom Penders Jr., the coach at Clear Lake HS since 2009, for any advice, including recruiting.

"Shaka also said he wants to honor some of the players from the era that I coached," Tom Penders said. "I just think he's doing a really good job of connecting to the history of the Texas program. That will serve him well."

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