After a magical whirlwind of upsets leading to the school's first-ever Final Four appearance, Virginia Commonwealth University's Shaka Smart spent the week making phone calls to his ex-girlfriends for the express purposes of gloating.
Sources close to the coach say he's been locked in his office with a small black book full of phone numbers playing Poison's "Every Rose Has Its Thorn" over and over again on his iPod since returning from San Antonio on Monday.
"No, I wouldn't say it's a vindictive thing. I just want to make sure all the girls who passed me up over the years are completely aware of my enormous and deserved success," says Smart. "It's mainly a maturity thing. I want them to understand that I have changed into a mature person who has risen above all the spite and anger that usually accompanies a break-up …" he begins before taking his hand off the mouthpiece of the phone and launching into a profanity-laced tirade.
"Oh, you thought I was too slow to commit, huh? You though I was going to lose in the first round, huh? Your parents never approved of me, did they, Sheila? Do they approve of the Final Four? 'Cause that's where I'm headed!" shouted Smart into his phone, clearly blurring the lines between women he has had relationships with and ESPN analysts.
Smart's voice could be heard through his shut office door.
"Is my goatee stupid now, Karen? Do I not go to nice enough restaurants now, Karen? Well, I'll tell you one nice place I got reservations for, it's a little restaurant down on the east-side called the Final Four!" yelled Smart before slamming the phone down emphatically.
"I can't imagine what he'll be like if we win the championship," says VCU point guard Joey Rodriguez.
Smart reasons that he's earned the right to "shake off some demons." After all, his VCU Rams were repeatedly picked to lose throughout the tournament, and he has answered critics by coaching his team to college basketball's biggest stage. One stage he can't seem to metaphorically leave, however, is the one in his high school auditorium.
"So, I was cast as Danny Zuko in the senior musical and the chick who played Sandy was named Bethany Miller," says Smart. "Well, you'd think that I could have gotten a little action from her since we were playing characters that fall in love with each other, but you'd be wrong. You'd be dead wrong. Turns out I was not the one that she wants, ooh hoo hoo, honey," claimed a distraught Smart, unhealthily referencing a high school production of 'Grease' and dialing Ms. Miller's phone number.
After a brief pause, Smart began barking into the handset.
"The part of super successful coach who is playing the Final Four will be played by Shaka Smart! The part of woman who didn't know how good she had it with me will be played by you, Bethany Miller!"
Critics might say that Smart's breakdown has come at a bad time as VCU will face a hot-shooting Butler team on Saturday for a chance to play in the National Championship game, but Smart's assistant coaches insist that this is all part of his process of getting ready for a big game.
"Right before we played Kansas, Shaka called all of his middle school math teachers and told them to calculate the chances of him becoming rich and famous and them fading into obscurity. It was pretty mean-spirited and uncalled for, but hey, we beat Kansas, didn't we?" explained VCU assistant coach Mike Rhoades as his head coach screamed wildly in the background.
"Why don't you take your bracket with us losing in the first round and shove it so far up your ass that you cough up 16-seeds for a week! What? Oh, sorry, honey. Is your mommy home?" Smart shouted into his phone.
Analysts have picked VCU to lose in every game leading up to this upcoming contest with Butler, but the team has had no trouble playing the role of the underdog. Jay Bilas of ESPN points out that Butler head coach Brad Stevens has a significant advantage, however, "because [Stevens] already called all his ex-girlfriends last year" during the Bulldogs unlikely run to the Final Four in 2010.