DeJuan Wheat

DeJuan Wheat

NEW ALBANY — Former University of Louisville star DeJuan Wheat has joined the IU Southeast coaching staff as an assistant coach, head coach Wiley Brown announced Friday.

“DeJuan has great basketball knowledge and experience and is a great communicator,” Brown said in a release. “He is a great teacher for our student-athletes and is a great addition to our staff. He had all the great characteristics of a successful coach as a player at UofL and his time as a professional plus his previous coaching experience will make him a great asset to our program.”

Wheat was a star at Ballard High School in Louisville. During his days as a Bruin he had a couple of memorable performances in games against Jeffersonville.

Wheat was a standout guard for the Cardinals from 1993-1997, ranking second in career points (2,183) and career 3-pointers made (323) as well as fifth in career assists (498). He helped lead UofL to an Elite Eight appearance in 1997, when he led the team in scoring (17.3 points per game), assists per game (4.3) and steals per game (1.9). He was named a NABC third-team All-American selection in 1997.

Wheat was the first player in NCAA history to record at least 2,000 points, 450 assists, 300 3-point field goals and 200 steals.

“I want to thank Coach Brown for this opportunity,” Wheat said. “It has always been my ultimate goal to return to coaching. The chance to be able to work with Coach Brown and a great program like IU Southeast is an opportunity I could not pass up. I am excited to get started.”

Wheat was a second-round pick by the Los Angeles Lakers in the 1997 NBA Draft. He appeared in 34 games for the Minnesota Timberwolves in 1997-98 and 46 for the Vancouver Grizzlies in 1998-99. He also signed a contract with the Portland Trail Blazers in 2003. After spending eight years playing overseas, he finished his professional career with the Soles de Mexicali in 2010.

Wheat was the varsity boys’ basketball coach at Valley High School in Louisville from 2016-2020.

The Grenadiers open the 2021-22 season Tuesday, when they host Simmons College of Kentucky at 6 p.m.

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