Kevin Durant stumps for Texas coaching candidate after departure of Shaka Smart
The Texas Longhorns men’s basketball team needs a new head coach after Shaka Smart departed to take over the Marquette program on Friday. Former Texas freshman sensation and current Brooklyn Nets star Kevin Durant told Stadium’s Jeff Goodman the Longhorns should go after the head coach of a Cinderella darling.
Russell Springmann has the Oral Roberts Golden Eagles in the Sweet 16 of the 2021 NCAA Tournament. Durant thinks his success at ORU merits a shot at coaching a major program:
Talked to Kevin Durant about the Texas opening now that Shaka is off to Marquette.
KD wants Texas to keep it in the family. I reminded him that Chris Beard was a student at Texas years ago.
Durant said the next guy should bring Russell Springmann back to Austin. https://t.co/G3UtKq4mzX
— Jeff Goodman (@GoodmanHoops) March 26, 2021
Springmann was the man who recruited Durant to Texas. He had been an assistant of Rick Barnes until Barnes abruptly left Springmann off his staff when he took over at Tennessee.
Durant said Springmann’s journey and outstanding track record at ORU is beyond commendable:
“It was tough for him. He was at the highest level and then he’s out of Texas,” Kevin Durant said, via Goodman. “He’s been through a lot, but I think his journey has helped him in a way. I know he’s happy now and that’s what matters.”
“It shows he can recruit at the highest level and also the mid-major and lower level. He knows the game and is persistent. Beyond that, he’s a great person and a friend to me and my entire family.”
Smart built Texas’ program back up in his tenure, with the Longhorns nabbing a No. 3 seed in the tournament. But a stunning loss to Abilene Christian and Smart’s subsequent departure has the Longhorns in need of a new leader.
Perhaps the university will call on a familiar face in Springmann.