MILWAUKEE — With Shaka Smart's recent contract extension, Marquette feels Golden Eagles basketball will continue to soar.
"If you've reached a spot where you're really confident you've got the right person identified, you move on it. At least I believe that's the right thing to do. And in many ways? This was one of the easier decisions I think that I've had to make in my time here," Marquette Athletic Director Bill Scholl says. "Obviously went through a search two years ago. Blessed to have had Shaka come up through that search and take this job. And two years later you just feel even better about it all."
Some feel MU would be even better if Olivier Maxence-Prosper hadn't declared himself for the NBA draft and gone to the Dallas Mavericks. Smart doesn't feel the same.
"We owe it to them to be a thousand percent supportive of them in whatever process they want to follow," Smart says. "Let's be honest. Even if Marquette may be the be-all and end-all for some of us, it is not the be-all and end-all for a basketball player that has aspirations to be in the NBA. And so our job is to make sure that we make our guys' dreams and goals our dreams and goals."
So are the goals of more titles and being an NCAA championship contender realistic?
"We all love the fact that the world now thinks that we've got a really great program and we're at the high level," Scholl says. "We all enjoy that. We also understand that it puts a bit of a target on your back and maybe life's a little trickier when you have that target on your back. But I would certainly be, rather be getting these kinds of notices than not have people, you know, we're not ranked. Nobody expects anything out of us. None of us want that. We want people to think that we've got an elite program and that year in, year out. We're going to be competitive."
Marquette's season begins Monday, Nov. 6 when the Golden Eagles host Northern Illinois at Fiserv Forum.