Over the last couple weeks, the college sports world has been fascinated by the possibility that former Tennessee coach Bruce Pearl could ending up coaching in the NBA Developmental League. Could a top-tier college basketball coach really end up coaching in the minor leagues of pro basketball? Not if he’s wise. – Jim Weber
Look, I get it.
Bruce Pearl desperately wants to get back into coaching college basketball and knows he will be out of the game for at least one season.
In the meantime, he wants to show that he’ll literally do anything to get back into college hoops and also stay relevant by popping up in the news from time to time. This way, he won’t fall off the face of the earth in the eyes of athletic directors.
And so far, it’s worked to perfection. The sports world has become fascinated with the possibility that a two-time SEC Coach of the Year would be willing to coach in the D-League. From the coverage Pearl has received – including national headlines and an appearance on “Pardon the Interruption” last week – you would think he was mulling over a coaching offer by the Los Angeles Lakers, not the Texas Legends.
But in the long run, I think this move would be a mistake by Pearl. He doesn’t appear to realize what he’s getting himself into if there is in fact an NBDL season.
Yes, he’s in the news now while considering an offer from the Legends. But there won’t be headline stories or “PTI” interviews when the team travels to Hidalgo, TX, for a game with the Rio Grande Valley Vipers. And if you think the NBA season is long and lifeless, imagine what a 50-game schedule in the D-League is like inside empty arenas with players who are constantly being shuffled back and forth to the NBA or deciding to play overseas for more money.
Are you of the opion egos in college basketball are have gone through the roof? Wait until Pearl gets a load of NBDL players that think the D-League is below them and think they deserve to be NBA All-Stars. Pearl won’t need to look long to find one, as the Legends’ own Rashad McCants told me earlier this year he believes he is better than 95% percent of those in the NBA. Come to think of it, coaching the poisonous McCants is reason alone to pass on the Legends gig.
As for Pearl’s claim that being an NBDL coach gives him an opportunity to “become better,” let’s see how he feels after being part of a defense-optional contest in which the Legends prevail, 125-124. No one seems to care about winning in the D-League, all players seem to focus on is inflating their stats to catch the eye of NBA general managers.
And the league doesn’t exactly have a great track record as a stepping stone for coaches to get back into the college game. Baylor’s Dave Bliss eventually headed to the D-League’s Dakota Wizards after covering up the death of Patrick Dennehy in 2003. He’s now coaching high school basketball in Texas.
Or how about Quin Snyder? Yes, he just got an assistant job with the Los Angeles Lakers. That’s only after three years of coaching in the D-League. Pearl could probably could an NBA assistant job right now like Kelvin Sampson did.
And then there’s former DePaul coach Joey Meyer. He was axed in Chicago in 1997 and Meyer has spent over a decade coaching in the D-League, currently for the Fort Wayne Mad Ants.
Pages: 1 2