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N.C. State can’t wait until VCU’s done playing


N.C State’s coaching search can begin in earnest whenever VCU is done playing. That’s how badly the Wolfpack wants Shaka Smart.

A report from ACC Sports Journal indicates Smart, 34, is the central figure in N.C. State’s coaching search. But until his Rams are done playing – they face Butler on Saturday and could play for the national title on Monday – he’s not talking about anything other than VCU.

“We certainly are aware that Shaka is a hot commodity, and a fantastic basketball coach, and we’re working hard right now to improve and upgrade the nature of his relationship with VCU, financially and otherwise,” VCU athletic director Norwood Teague told on Tuesday. “We also understand that someone out there could offer him $4 million a year, and that’s something we can’t do.

“Shaka has made clear to everyone this week that his singular focus right now is trying to win the NCAA Tournament. Everything else — everything else — will have to wait until next week.”

Smart reportedly makes $325,000 per year at VCU and is signed through next season. His buyout clause is $300,000.

Also from ACC Sports Journal, Florida coach Billy Donovan denied other reports that he was interested in the N.C. State job. He was “amused but not surprised.”

N.C. State is seeking a replacement for Sidney Lowe, who resigned as coach on March 15. He was 86-78 in five seasons at the school.

You also can follow me on Twitter @MikeMillerNBC.