Shaka Smart & Gregg Marshall Saying No To Husker Basketball

The Omaha World-Herald reports that Wichita State coach Gregg Marshall has turned down an offer to coach Nebraska basketball, complete with a salary that approaches $2 million. Virginia Commonwealth's Shaka Smart has also apparently shown no interest in the Nebraska job, as he's currently considering a $3 million offer from Illinois, according to the Chicago Tribune. Barfknecht also says that his sources indicate that Ohio's John Groce is not interested in becoming the next Husker basketball coach.

Nebraska has also reached out to UCLA's Ben Howland, Gonzaga's Mark Few, and Colorado's Tad Boyle, only to be rebuffed. The Lincoln Journal-Star reported that Tom Osborne interviewed Oral Roberts' Scott Sutton in Atlanta on Monday, and potentially Wisconsin-Milwaukee's Rob Jeter and Colorado State's Tim Miles.

My take is that Sutton, Jeter, and Miles are Nebraska's "B-List" at this point. Groce hasn't said no at this point, but he's focused on playing North Carolina, not a new job. Right now, I still think that Nebraska's top candidates are Marshall and Groce, and from my perspective, if Nebraska is serious about breaking Husker basketball out of the funk, Tom Osborne shouldn't take no for an answer at this time. Go back to Lincoln, and work the phones and the budget.

Greg Doyel of CBSsports.com said it best: find your best candidate, and money-whip him. If Osborne thinks it's Marshall, make a second offer. If it's Groce, sweeten the pot. Show him the success and support that every other Nebraska program receives. Show him exactly what can happen at Nebraska.

Maybe Marshall is waiting for another job to open up; perhaps he thinks that Smart is going to turn down Illinois and that job will be there. Go ahead and talk to your plan "B" candidates. But don't offer those guys yet.

The fact that Nebraska is offering $2 million to Gregg Marshall is a sign that Osborne is serious about doing something different in Lincoln with basketball. That doesn't mean that Nebraska's next coach is going to earn $2 million. If it's Marshall or Groce, it might be $2.5 or perhaps even $3 million. If it's Sutton, it might only be $1.1 million. If it's Maryland assistant coach Scott Spinelli, it might only be $800k. (And yes, if Nebraska's B list includes Rob Jeter, then Spinelli probably needs to be on that list as well.)

I'm not surprised that Smart and Marshall have said no at this point. In fact, until Illinois makes their hire, I'm not sure Nebraska is going to be able to make a hire. Marshall apparently is also waiting for South Carolina to make their move. Get the money right, and find the right guy, Dr. Tom. Remember Danny Nee originally said "no" to Bob Devaney.

Don't take "No" for an answer. Not until you've given everything Nebraska has to offer.

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