VCU students say loyalty drove Smart's decision

RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - VCU students were thrilled — but barely surprised — that Shaka Smart decided to stay.

They kept talking, over and over, about loyalty, certain what the outcome would be even as the story broke.

We originally planned to set up a camera in VCU's Shafer Court and talk to students about the uncertainty surrounding Shaka Watch 2012.

"Shaka Watch 2012? Eh, it's pretty chill," said VCU student Nick Owusu.

Would the highly sought-after young coach stay, or leave?

But thanks to a smartphone and Illinois-based sports writers on Twitter, we had a major development in our hands, faster than almost anyone on campus.

Andy: "Look at that... if that's true, what do you think about that?"

A.B. Baylh (student): "Yeah... that's being loyal to VCU I guess."

As the news that Shaka would stay was breaking in cyberspace, student reaction here on campus was mostly muted, until they got their hands on my phone.

It was passed around like a free ticket to the Siegel Center.

Andy: "Shaka Smart turns down Illinois. I mean, this is just happening in like the last 15 minutes. So... what do you think of that?"

Josh Chambers (student): "I mean, he's a smart man!"

Andy: "So this would be the second year in a row that coach turned down more money at a bigger school. What do you think of that?"

Perla Corona (student): "Well, it just shows that he's proud to be a Ram and he's willing to stick with us and it's awesome."

One by one the story trickled out. The reaction was all the same.

"I think it's great news," said student Deossie Vega.

"That's loyalty," said student Patrick Wilson.

"I think he's just loyal, you know," added student Kara Rademeyer.

Rams fans with even more reason to be excited about the that their team's coach will be a part of it.

"I'm so happy that he's staying here. I feel like it was the best decision he's ever made!" said student Ashley Pence.

Almost everyone I talked to said they were thrilled with the news. Only one guy had to ask who Shaka Smart was. Once I explained, he thought it was good news, too.

According to VCU, Smart has agreed in principle to some changes in his current contract, but those details are still being worked out.

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