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Deon La velle Thomas (born February 24, 1971 in Chicago, Illinois) is an American basketball player.

Contents

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.

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Pearl/Thomas incident

Prior to playing basketball at Illinois, Thomas was a central figure in a recruiting scandal. Regarded as one of the top prospects in high school basketball, Thomas was recruited by, among others, Illinois and the University of Iowa. An assistant coach at Iowa, Bruce Pearl, recorded a phone conversation with Thomas during which Thomas allegedly admitted to have been offered a Chevy Blazer and cash from Illinois. Pearl later turned the recording in to the NCAA, accompanied by a memo describing the events.[1]

Thomas denied having received such an offer from Illinois, and no proof of an offer or of improper benefits given to Thomas was found. On the other hand, while the NCAA never formally charged Thomas with any wrongdoing, the resulting investigation uncovered numerous other NCAA violations. The NCAA charged Illinois with a major infraction on November 7, 1990. Since it was Illinois' third major violation in six years, the NCAA cited Illinois with a "lack of institutional control" charge and implemented several recruiting restrictions and a one year postseason ban.

Deon Thomas has become a symbol of the intense rivalry between the universities of Illinois and Iowa. His recruitment and the resulting NCAA investigation and punishment is naturally interpreted differently by many Illinois supporters and many Iowa supporters, and the incident remains a catalyst for the heightened rivalry between Iowa and Illinois, years after his college career has ended.[2]

In 2006, when asked in an interview about forgiving Pearl, Thomas said "it's hard to forgive a snake".

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 their 2005 final four, due to a severe injury of a broken leg. This injury forced him to leave Maccabi Tel Aviv. He then joined the Greek team Larisa, the Bulgarian team CSKA Sofia, and then returned to Israel with the team Givat Shmuel. He then played for Maccabi Haifa, also in Israel.[1]

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. He said the decision to play for Illinois was made by his grandmother.

In 2009, Thomas became the Men's Basketball Head Coach at Lewis and Clark Community College in Godfrey, IL.

References

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

  1. ^ Maccabi Haifa

External links


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