Imagine this if you will. It’s March 26th, 2019 and Nebraska has just let go of Head Coach Tim Miles after seven years of coaching men’s basketball. I would go into detail of his record and time in Lincoln but if you’re here, you already know. It just wasn’t enough.
Now is the time for the athletic department to find a quality candidate that will lead the Big Red on the hard court. There is a lot of speculation over who they will pick to take up the reigns of a program with little to no history in the sport. Who do you pick?
There had been rumblings that Nebraska would go after former Chicago Bulls and Iowa State head coach Fred Hoiberg. Mr. Hoiberg had just been let go by the Bulls back in December and was waiting for his next gig. He spent a lot of time hanging out in his house and watching TV from my understanding.
Now, we all know that Fred took the job with Nebraska. But, what if Fred did not accept Nebraska’s offer? What if Fred went elsewhere? What if Nebraska decided to go a different direction?
What if, Nebraska Hired Tyronn Lue?
I know what you’re thinking. Why wouldn’t the Huskers hire a former player who coached a Lebron James led team to a NBA Championship and then made it to the NBA finals the next two years which they lost? He won the 2016 ESPY for Coach of The Year shortly after.
Sure his “style” was described as being able to fit players around Lebron and make things work. That is basically how he took over the Cavs from David Blatt in January of 2016. Put the players around Lebron that would help the team win.
This worked out for the first three season but a multitude of things caught up with Tyronn in the end and he was let go of after losing six straight games to start his fourth season at the helm. The main issue being that Lebron was gone to Los Angeles to play for the Lakers in the off-season. Leaving Tyronn alone to try and build this team into something new.
Cleveland did not have faith that this would happen....fin.
So, should Nebraska have gone after him? Many speculated that this NBA championship coach could have had the gravitas to take on the role in Lincoln. Just maybe his tenure in the league would intrigue players to come play for him in Pinnacle Bank. He could take his legacy next to James into recruits living rooms and persuade them to become Huskers.
Maybe, just maybe, he could find the right player to build his team around like he did in Cleveland. He spent a dozen years himself playing in the NBA and had almost as many coaching. His stops very well could have developed him enough as a coach to take over a project like was at Nebraska.
He knew the town, fans, and administration.
Lue was also a connection to the last time Nebraska was playing competitive basketball. He played under former head coach Danny Nee. He was even apart of the team that won the NIT Championship back in 1997. Maybe Lue would have been able to bring back some of the magic from the Nebrasketball era.
If things had happened differently, he could have kept on many of the players that left after Miles was fired. Used their talents to pull together a team that could have been a contender in the Big Ten.
Like many things, we will never know. Nebraska did hire coach Hoiberg and Lue is an assistant with the Los Angeles Clippers. Right down the road from his friend Lebron. Maybe his life is to be an assistant. Some coaches are just that way. Never meant to be the guy in charge.
There’s always the next time around. If Hoiberg doesn’t work out or moves on to greener pastures. Maybe Tyronn Lue will be available to come back and coach his alma-mater.