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Old 04-03-11, 01:35 AM
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Bender Bending Rodriguez, Esq.
Join Date: Aug 2004
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Pablo Torre: Rising star Smart fuels VCU's crazy run with characteristic conviction

HOUSTON -- On Sunday night, after Virginia Commonwealth University had reached the Final Four by razing No. 1 Kansas, 71-61, I met the coach who'd shocked the nation in a moment of rare quiet. Shaka Smart stood in the back corner of the VCU locker room, several feet behind the screen he'd used to project a montage of pundits unanimously predicting a Jayhawks victory before the game. Such ploys, of course, have become Smart's signature; weeks earlier, back home in Richmond, the passionate 33-year-old had taken a lighter to the February page of his desk calendar and made the then-struggling Rams watch it burn. Now Smart was eating a banana in front of his locker, wrapping up one of the greatest months in sports history, and I couldn't help but ask the first thing that came to mind.

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