UIC announced a pair of changes to the coaching staff Tuesday. Former Illinois guard Deon Thomas joins the staff as an assistant coach, and Jeremy Buttell is promoted to the same position. Buttell had been UIC’s coordinator of basketball and video operations.
“I am thrilled for UIC basketball that Deon and Jeremy are now on the coaching staff,” UIC head coach Howard Moore said. “Deon is a remarkable individual with many years of elite basketball experience. His knowledge of the game and his eye for talent is a tremendous addition for the Flames.”
Thomas played at Illinois from 1990 to 1994, overlapping with Moore’s playing career at Wisconsin. Thomas finished his college career as the Fighting Illini’s all-time leading scorer with 2,129 points, and that record still stands today. He is also the school’s all-time leader in blocked shots with 177 rejections.
Although he never played in the NBA, he had a long career overseas. He was also Illinois’ Mr. Basketball as a high school senior.
“I can’t begin to express how excited I am for this opportunity and how much I respect Coach Moore,” Thomas said. “I want to help put UIC basketball back on the map and win championships. I grew up near UIC and would walk past the university almost every day, so this is like a homecoming for me.”
Buttell is entering his fifth year on Moore’s staff. Prior to that, he played three seasons at UIC under former head coach Jimmy Collins after playing his freshman season at Texas Tech. Buttell was the Horizon League’s top rebounder during the 2009-10 season.
“Jeremy is one of the most energetic young professionals I have ever been around,” Moore said. “During the past four years, through his work ethic, Jeremy has proven to me that he is ready to take the next step in his career.”