“Shaka’s our coach,” Del Conte said. “Nothing’s changed. We won five of the last six down the stretch, finished third in the conference. We have a good team coming back. Nothing’s changed on my end.”
Smart is 90-78 in five seasons at Texas, arriving in Austin after achieving great success with VCU. But he has never been in Big 12 title contention or won a NCAA tournament game with the Longhorns. Texas has, though, made the tournament twice in four years.
The Longhorns finished the 2019-20 season with at 19-12 overall, which put them in a four-way tie for third place in the Big 12.
Questions around Smart's long-term future in Austin swirled throughout the season, though, before the team's late-season run put the team in better standing.
“I’m big on controlling what I can control, and that’s been my mentality all season long," Smart told the Amercian-Statesman Friday. "If I really allowed myself to get super caught up in everything that was said or written, it would’ve been a very distracted season.
"We have an opportunity in front of us to take a big step, and there’s a ton of urgency inside of our program to do that."
Smart has three years remaining on a guaranteed contact worth $10.5 million.