On the early morning of Feb. 25, 2020, Shaka Smart was still a male without hair or the inviolable guarantee that he ‘d be doing his task in another month approximately. He was the men’s basketball coach at Texas, yes, riding over to the Longhorn Network studios to tape his weekly program, bantering with host Lowell Galindo about bringing “the juice” for the episode, and in fact feeling quite excellent about 3 straight double-digit wins versus Huge 12 teams. All that did, however, was dump some water on a simmering disaster. There was still a little smoke thanks to the battles preceding it. Texas back? Not rather. Not completely.

As for Shaka back? Well, as we walked into his workplace following his tv responsibilities, that was basically the subject of conversation. I ‘d spent the season visiting Texas for The Athletic, going behind the scenes in what we figured would be a declarative year for a coach once considered a can’t-miss out on hire. What I had actually seen ran the …