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Shaka Smart turns down Illinois coaching job

NCAA Basketball Tournament - VCU v Indiana

PORTLAND, OR - MARCH 17: Head coach Shaka Smart of the Virginia Commonwealth Rams reacts in the first half while taking on the Indiana Hoosiers during the third round of the 2012 NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament at the Rose Garden Arena on March 17, 2012 in Portland, Oregon. (Photo by Jonathan Ferrey/Getty Images)

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Shaka Smart will pass on the Illinois coaching job at stay at VCU, multiple reports indicated Wednesday.

Smart, 34, has been aggressively pursued by the Illini during the last few days in their search to replace Bruce Weber. The school reportedly offered Smart a contract worth $2.5 million a year – he makes about $1.3 million at VCU – but Smart said no. One report indicated the contract was for $2.7 million annually for seven years.

(Illinois may come back with a bigger offer, too.)

Smart’s 84-27 in three seasons at VCU, but it’s his 6-2 NCAA tournament record and recruiting reputation that makes him so appealing. He took VCU to the Final Four in 2011 and led the Rams to another NCAA tournament win this season, beating No. 5 Wichita State last Thursday.

Now what for Illinois?

The Chicago Sun-Times reports Florida State coach Leonard Hamilton is interested in the job, but at 63, his age would seem to be a detriment.

Duke assistant Chris Collins and Tennessee coach Cuonzo Martin also have shown interest in the job.

You also can follow me on Twitter @MikeMillerNBC.