Deon Thomas

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Deon Thomas
Personal information
Born (1971-02-24) February 24, 1971 (age 50)
Chicago, Illinois
NationalityAmerican / Israeli
Listed height6 ft 9 in (2.06 m)
Listed weight238 lb (108 kg)
Career information
High schoolSimeon (Chicago, Illinois)
CollegeIllinois (1990–1994)
NBA draft1994 / Round: 2 / Pick: 28th overall
Selected by the Dallas Mavericks
Playing career1994–2008
PositionForward
Career history
1994–1995Bàsquet Manresa
1995–1996Girona
1996–1997Unicaja Málaga
1997–1998Caja San Fernando
1998–1999Maccabi Rishon LeZion
1999–2001Gran Canaria
2001–2003Cáceres
2003Türk Telekom
2003–2005Maccabi Tel Aviv
2005–2006Gymnastikos S. Larissas
2006CSKA Sofia
2006–2007Maccabi Giv'at Shmuel
2007–2008Maccabi Haifa
Career highlights and awards

Deon La velle Thomas (born February 24, 1971) is an American-Israeli former basketball player.[1] As a high school player, he led his team to the Chicago Public League title, and was named Illinois Mr. Basketball. As a college player at the University of Illinois, he finished his career as the all-time leading scorer in Fighting Illini history. Selected by the Dallas Mavericks with the 28th selection of the 1994 NBA Draft, he opted to play professional basketball in Europe and Israel.

High school career

Thomas was a star basketball player at Chicago's Neal F. Simeon Vocational High School, graduating in 1989. As a junior in 1988, he led the Wolverines to the Chicago Public League title. As a senior, he was named Illinois Mr. Basketball and played in the McDonald's All-American Game, which also featured future NBA star Shaquille O'Neal.[2]

College career

Thomas played college basketball at the University of Illinois. Thomas finished his career as the all-time leading scorer in Fighting Illini history, with 2129 career points scored and an 18.0 points per game scoring average. Thomas is the only men's basketball player in Illinois history to score at least 2000 career points. Thomas was elected to the "Illini Men's Basketball All-Century Team" in 2004.

Professional career

Thomas was selected by the Dallas Mavericks with the 28th selection of the 1994 NBA Draft. Thomas attended mini camp but never played in the NBA, having opted to play professional basketball in Europe and Israel. Thomas played two years in Israel for Maccabi Tel Aviv, winning the Israeli championship, the Israeli cup, and the Euroleague championship twice. Thomas didn't play in the 2005 Final Four due to a broken leg. This injury forced him to leave Maccabi Tel Aviv. He then joined the Greek team Gymnastikos S. Larissas, the Bulgarian team CSKA Sofia, and then returned to Israel where he played for Givat Shmuel. He then played for Maccabi Haifa, also in Israel.[3]

He is one of the most successful American pros of all time in the European leagues. Thomas has passed on several opportunities to play in the NBA. On 13 November 2006, in an interview for Bulgarian newspaper Tema Sport and Bulgarian television "Channel 3", Deon Thomas denied any wrongdoing and swore that he didn't receive anything from University of Illinois, as Bruce Pearl had claimed. He said the decision to play for Illinois was made by his grandmother.

Coaching/Announcing Career

In 2009, Thomas became the men's basketball head coach at Lewis and Clark Community College in Godfrey, Illinois. In April 2014, Thomas was named as an assistant basketball coach at the University of Illinois-Chicago. In 2016, he was hired by Fighting Illini Sports Network to call men's basketball games with Doug Altenberger.

Personal life

Thomas is now an Israeli citizen, and is married to an Israeli.[4][5]

Honors

High School

  • 1988 - IHSA 1st Team All-State
  • 1988 - IHSA State Tournament All-Tournament Team[6]
  • 1989 - IHSA 1st Team All-State
  • 2015 - Inducted into the Illinois Basketball Coaches Association's Hall of Fame as a player.[10]

College

  • 1992 - Illini Team Co-Captain[11]
  • 1992 - Illini MVP
  • 1992 - 2nd Team All-Big Ten
  • 1993 - Illini Team Co-Captain
  • 1993 - Illini MVP
  • 1993 - 2nd Team All-Big Ten
  • 1994 - Illini Team Co-Captain
  • 1994 - Illini MVP
  • 1994 - 2nd Team All-Big Ten
  • 2008 - Honored as one of the thirty-three honored jerseys which hang in the State Farm Center to show regard for being the most decorated basketball players in the University of Illinois' history.
  • 2019 - Inducted into the Illinois Athletics Hall of Fame[12]

College statistics

University of Illinois

Season Games Points PPG Field Goals Attempts Avg Free Throws Attempts Avg Rebounds Avg Assists APG Blocks BPG Steals SPG
1990–91
30
452
15.1
172
298
.577
108
168
.643
203
6.8
18
0.6
54
1.8
10
0.3
1991–92
28
542
19.4
199
340
.585
144
218
.661
193
6.9
20
0.7
44
1.6
25
0.9
1992–93
32
587
18.3
225
371
.606
137
212
.646
256
8.0
37
1.2
42
1.3
17
0.5
1993–94
28
548
19.6
207
327
.633
133
192
.693
194
6.9
43
1.5
37
1.3
23
0.8
Totals
118
2,129*
18.0
803*
1336
.601
522
790*
.661
846
7.2
118
1.0
177
1.5
75
0.6

* All-time leader in University of Illinois history[13]

[14]

References

http://www.lc.cc.il.us/media/63181/release-deon%20thomas%2009.pdf

  1. ^ [1]
  2. ^ [2]
  3. ^ Maccabi Haifa[permanent dead link]
  4. ^ [3]
  5. ^ [4]
  6. ^ "1988 Class AA Boys Summary". ihsa.org. Retrieved May 2, 2019.
  7. ^ Basketball.RealGM.com
  8. ^ BasketballMuseumOfIllinois.com
  9. ^ Basketball-Reference.com
  10. ^ IBCA Hall of Fame
  11. ^ "2018–19 Illinois basketball record book" (PDF). fightingillini.com. p. 84. Retrieved May 2, 2019.
  12. ^ Illinois Athletics Hall of Fame
  13. ^ FightingIllini.com
  14. ^ "Deon Thomas College Stats". College Basketball at Sports-Reference.com.

External links