Reggie Theus: Coach of the Year Breakdown
By John Krolik September 23, 2022
Reggie Theus was not handed an easy task when he took over as the coach of the 3 Headed Monsters before the 2022 BIG3 season. Theus had previously coached Bivouac, but him and former 3HM coach Gary Payton switched roles before the season, with Payton taking over as Head Coach of Bivouac.
Since 3HM have been the most consistently successful team in the history of the BIG3, an outsider could be forgiven for thinking coaching them would be an easy task. Since 3HM went a league-best 6-2 under Payton in 2021 and again went a league-best 6-2 under Theus in 2022, it might look like all Theus did was maintain the status quo.
Nothing could be further from the truth, as Theus had to deal with a number of obstacles to keep 3HM on top of the league.
The first issue Coach Theus had to deal with was the news that Reggie Evans would miss the entirety of the 2022 season due to injury. Evans owns every rebounding record you can think of over the history of the BIG3, averaged a double-double every season, and is one of the best interior presences and players the league has ever seen.
In his absence, Theus had to play a more small-ball style. Either team Captain Rashard Lewis or the sweet-shooting Quincy Miller would often be the biggest player on the floor for 3HM, but the team was able to use finesse to make up for the loss of Evans’ imposing paint presence.
The team also dealt with its fair share of injuries. Co-Captain Jonathon Simmons went down early in the season with a serious injury and was never able to return, and team Captain Rashard Lewis missed a number of mid-season games due to personal reasons.
Still, Theus kept the train moving all year long, getting key spot contributions from players like Sammy Monroe, former Globetrotter Jamario Moon, and Co-Captain and living legend Mahmoud-Abdul Rauf.
Theus’ most impressive achievement in 2022 may have been overseeing the smooth transition into 3HM becoming Kevin Murphy’s team. It’s not like Murphy was quiet in 2021 – he finished fourth in the league in scoring and won the Rookie of the Year award – but he took it to another level in 2022. Murphy was the league’s leading scorer, came just a point away from a share of the league’s all-time points scored record, and took home the 2022 BIG3 MVP award. You can say that Theus got a bit lucky by having Murphy establish himself the way he did last season, but Theus showed that he knew his personnel, and that the best road to victory for 3HM was to let Kevin Murphy cook.
It shouldn’t be a surprise that Theus was able to adapt to the challenges of coaching 3HM as well as he did. After all, he has been both a head coach and an assistant coach in college, the NBA, and the G-League. Currently, he is the only person in Division One Basketball serving as both a Head Coach and an Athletic Director, which he does at Bethune-Cookman.
Theus came into the season with the high expectations that always come with coaching 3HM and met them despite significant challenges. While a heartbreaking 51-49 defeat to Power in the semifinals kept 3HM from grabbing their first BIG3 Championship, they have to like their odds of getting their hands on the prize soon as long as Theus is the man on the sidelines.