Frisco’s New Dynamic Duo

By Stephen Hunt

In November, the Texas Legends opened their 2023-24 season, their 13th NBA G-League campaign in Frisco. And when the Dallas Mavericks’ affiliate hits the Comerica Center hardwood in late fall, the Legends will have a new head coach, Jordan Sears, and a new general manager, Terry Sullivan. 

Before being hired as Legends head coach in July 2023, Sears had been the Mavericks’ head video coordinator since September 2021, and before that worked for the NBA’s Milwaukee Bucks and as a graduate assistant coach at St. John’s University. “Yeah, I’m looking forward to the opportunity. I’m thankful for the Mavericks organization and their level of investment in me, giving me this opportunity,” Sears said. “They’re not easy opportunities to come by. I’m hoping to maintain a high level of execution and effectiveness in helping the organization continue to progress.”
Sullivan, who has worked in the Mavs’ organization since 2010 and as their Director of Player Personnel since October 2022, is also embracing this new opportunity with the Legends. “I’m super competitive. I’m going to take pride in this,” Sullivan said. “We’re really going to develop guys for the Mavs, both players and staff. We’re going to leave no stone unturned. I really enjoy the challenge.”
A native of New Jersey, a state known for producing great basketball talent like current Mav superstar Kyrie Irving, Sears admits basketball wasn’t his first love growing up in the Garden State. Instead, he played tennis since his mother was an avid player and that was the chosen family activity. He played tennis until his freshman year of high school, even playing doubles with older brother Ryan, who played college basketball at Yale and then professionally overseas.

 “I really got into it (basketball) and figured out I wanted to do it in seventh grade. That’s when I really started to develop the love for the game,” Sears said. “I never thought it would take me this far; probably at that point didn’t think it would even take me to college. It’s worked wonders for me in terms of learning many different life lessons and meeting some phenomenal people along the way. If you would have told me I’d be on the same court as Kyrie Irving and I’m 27 years old, I’d probably think I was a player, not a coach.”

Sullivan, on the other hand, grew up in New York State, another area known for producing great basketball talent. However, as he puts it, he’s been a “basketball nerd” for as long as he can remember. “I was always a huge fan growing up. I was a super nerd, collected all the basketball cards and studied all the stats, researched everything,” Sullivan said. “In Pre-Internet days, I would try to find resources to look up information on players and read books.”
One interesting similarity between Sears and Sullivan is that they both hold degrees in somewhat unrelated fields. Sears has an economics degree from Wesleyan University in Connecticut, playing collegiately for the Cardinals, where he remembers coaching first entering his mind late in his playing career. “I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do work-wise (after graduating). Didn’t really want to go the finance route or any of those different things. Asked my coach for opportunities to get extra education to be a GA (graduate assistant) and be a coach so I could buy myself some time to maybe figure things out.”
“I would say the (coaching) bug crept in during that time. My initial introduction to coaching at the collegiate level started when I was still a player, and my coach was asking me for feedback. I was very much a defensive-oriented player, and he knew that I thought the game and would try to help my teammates on the court as much as I could. Him asking for feedback and empowering me was incredibly helpful in terms of understanding that hey, I can do this.”
Sullivan was a pre-med/biology major at Providence College in Rhode Island and had applied to dental school. However, it was his decision to volunteer in the Friars’ video room that showed him a career in basketball was where his future lay. “I was an OK player in middle school, played in some rec leagues and intramurals at Providence, but nothing where I was ever going to play at a high level in college, so I had to find another way to get to work in the game I love,” he said. 

 And one thing’s for sure, since Sears and Sullivan already know and respect one another, they plan on hitting the ground running with the Legends. “Terry and I have a good relationship. Between Milwaukee and Dallas, I always had an interest in scouting and being in the front office,” Sears said. “I always like to talk to scouts. It’s incredible how knowledgeable those guys are. Terry is a workhorse. I always like to pick his brain and ask him questions about different players. I’m excited to continue working with Terry.”

Sullivan and Sears have yet to directly work together with the Mavs, but Sullivan looks forward to that all changing with the Legends. “I’m super excited to work with him. I worked with him the last few years with the Mavs,” Sullivan said. “We haven’t done any projects or anything and I haven’t had to directly manage him, but we just talk hoops all the time. I could tell what a sharp guy he was.”

Last season, Jaden Hardy, a Mavs second-round draft pick in 2022, started the season with the Legends and played 48 games in the NBA, recording nine 20-point games in a truly breakout season. Helping players like Hardy reach and excel in the NBA is one of the Mavs’ goals with the Legends. The other is to win as many games as possible in the NBA G-League, a balancing act that Sears and Sullivan understand quite well. “Winning with the G-League team helps build culture and makes agents want to send players to us, it makes players want to come, and it gets buzz going. Playing in front of the great crowds they have at the Comerica Center makes it a more desirable place to play,” Sullivan said. 

“When we make big-picture decisions, it will be with the development of players and staff for the Mavs in mind. But once we’re at game day, we’re going to be competing like crazy. Jordan’s going to be a great coach and he’s going to be trying to win every game. I’m going to want to put together a winning product for the fans of Frisco. So, it’s all connected. They’re both hand-in-hand.”

 “He [Sears] would always ask questions about who I was scouting and what I saw in players. We would go back and forth and have good, intellectually stimulating conversations. [I] really grew to respect his knowledge for the game. I knew he was going to be a head coach at some point. I’m just stoked it happened for him so quickly. I also came from the video room. I did one year with the Clippers and five years with the Mavs, just like him. So, we were able to commiserate on that experience,” Sullivan concludes.

Stephen Hunt is a longtime Frisco resident and lifelong basketball fan. 

Skip to content