Jerry Tarkanian Supports Reggie Theus and Larry Johnson for UNLV Coaching Job

Lon Kruger left UNLV’s basketball program to take the head coaching job at Oklahoma last week, leaving the Rebels searching for a new head coach. Contrary to popular belief, the job is not available on craigslist, but rather one for which athletic director Jim Livengood is nailing down finalists. The two names most prominently mentioned in connection with the vacancy are Reggie Theus and Dave Rice. When reached by phone on Monday, former UNLV national championship coach Jerry Tarkanian told Larry Brown Sports he supports former players Theus and Larry Johnson for the job.

Coach Tarkanian told LBS he recommended Reggie Theus for several reasons, saying “He’s got a great personality and he can talk with anybody.” Tark added that Theus “has been a good head coach, and the people love him in Vegas.”

He also said he supported his former player Larry Johnson, who is considered the best UNLV player in the program’s history, for the job. Tark acknowledged that Johnson’s lack of head coaching experience hurts him in the search, but says he thinks Larry would do a great job because he’s such a good person. In an interview with LBS last month, Johnson told us he was interested in coaching.

Overall, Tarkanian said Lon Kruger did a real good job as head coach of the program.

No replacement has been named yet, but Matt Youmans of the Las Vegas Review-Journal reports a hire could be made this week. Ryan Greene says that Theus and Livengood talked Sunday night but that Rice is the favorite to get the job.

Photo Credit: Collegiate Images/Getty Images

So Sacramento Sucking Is Reggie Theus’ Fault?

When I look at the Raptors or the 76ers, I see what they did last year and the talented players on the roster, therefore I can understand people having fairly high expectations for the team. But when you’re the Sacramento Kings and you’ve been in the lottery the last few years and you traded away one of your best defenders in the off season in Ron Artest, what are you really expecting for the season? Additionally, factor in Kevin Martin’s ankle injury that has caused him to miss pretty much the last five weeks, and you’re looking at a team that’s — let’s face it — not very good. I guess from an outsider’s perspective, the move was surprising given the timing. It even surprised Theus:

“I had no idea [in advance]. We were just coming off our best win [over the Lakers] the past two years. We’ve had a lot of injuries. … Everyone knew we were rebuilding and the projection was for 20-25 wins.”

Yup, injuries and projections of 20-25 wins. That’s about where the Kings were. And it’s really tough to win without a weapon like Martin in the lineup. I guess there really must have been a lot of problems going on behind the scenes because I can’t understand the rationale from a sheer basketball standpoint. The loss to the Knicks was embarrassing, but it’s not like the Kings haven’t been competitive in most of their games. Seriously, given that roster, what are you really expecting the team and coach to do? Unlike the P.J. Carlesimo and Eddie Jordan firings, I can’t understand this one.