Bruce Pearl could coach Maverick’s D-League team

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Bruce Pearl cannot commit any recruiting violations as the coach of the Texas Legends of the D-League.

And the former Tennessee head coach could get that gig coaching the Mavericks’ D-League affiliate, according to Marc Stein at ESPN.

The Texas Legends are making a hard push to hire former Tennessee coach Bruce Pearl to replace Nancy Lieberman as coach of the D-League franchise, according to NBA coaching sources….

“When the world champions call you have to listen,” Pearl said. “Mark Cuban and Donnie Nelson have been great and I’m looking forward to talking to them.”

Pearl will interview Thursday with the team and Stein says it could be the job if he wants it. He may not want it, there are offers out for him to be a college basketball analyst (he can’t be worse than Steve Lavin) and that job both pays better and has a lighter workload. That’s hard to pass up.

Pearl is going to struggle to get a Division I college gig again (not for a long time after the waves of recruiting violations found at Tennessee) so jumping to the NBA to coach makes sense for him. This is how you get a foot in the door — do a good job in the D-League for a year or two and you’ll get an assistant’s gig in the NBA somewhere.

Can Pearl coach at the pro level? He certainly won at the college level, but frankly most college games are won during recruiting season. Talent wins out at all levels, but in college the disparity from program to program is much greater. He can motivate, we’ll see how his Xs and Os stack up. But it looks like he’s going to get a chance.