By Mark Medina
October 15, 2012, 5:39 p.m.
As he accepted the head coach position for the NBA Development League’s Los Angeles D-Fenders, Reggie Theus said he now has a chance to return to his roots.
“My mom is 89 years old. I have a son that’s a senior at Fairfax High School, and a daughter that’s a freshman at Redondo Union, and one that just graduated from UC Irvine,” the Los Angeles native said. “So for me to be home with family is very important at this point in my career.
With various head-coaching and assistant stints in the NBA, college basketball and the AAU under his belt, Theus comes home after spending the past year as a Pac-12 analyst for Fox Sports Net.
“The opportunity to work for the D-Fenders in an area of basketball that’s about developing is really exciting. You really do have a hand in their future. I was a college coach, so it sort of falls in line with developing young players. I was an AAU coach, so that falls in line with development of young players. So I’m excited about the opportunity.”
Theus replaces Eric Musselman, who led the D-Fenders last season to a 38-12 record and earned Development League Coach of the Year honors. Musselman recently accepted an assistant coaching gig with Arizona State. The D-League draft is set for next month.
Theus was the head coach with New Mexico State for two seasons, leading the Aggies to a 25-9 record in 2006-07 and a berth in the NCAA tournament. He was also the Sacramento Kings’ head coach in 2007-08 — a team that included Metta World Peace, then known as Ron Artest — and has had assistant coaching gigs with the University of Louisville and the Minnesota Timberwolves.
“We are pleased to welcome Reggie Theus to the D-Fenders,” team President/CEO Joey Buss said in a statement. “Reggie’s extensive NBA background coupled with his experience developing players at the collegiate basketball level will make him a great asset to our franchise. We look forward to working with Reggie and building upon the record-setting season we had last year.”
Despite his experience, Theus downplayed speculation about whether his new job could serve as a stepping stone toward a return to coaching in the college or pro ranks.
“I love coaching,” Theus said. “This is an opportunity for me to coach and get back on the floor.”