Former Kansas University guard Billy Thomas, who this past summer retired from professional basketball at the age of 34, has accepted the head boys basketball coaching position at The Barstow School in Kansas City, Mo., Thomas said on Friday.
Thomas replaces former KU guard Jeff Boschee, who coached Barstow for three seasons before accepting a position at Missouri Southern State University.
“I am ecstatic,” Thomas said Friday in a phone interview. “I’m looking forward to starting the next phase of my life. I think I’m well prepared. It’ll be a challenge. As a player I feel I met challenges head on and will try to do so as a coach.
“Jeff did a wonderful job,” Thomas added. “There are some great students here and I’m looking forward to working with them.”
Thomas, who went undrafted after leaving KU in 1998, played for the New Jersey Nets, Washington Wizards and Cleveland Cavaliers in the NBA, with several stops overseas in a 13-year career. He played in the NBA Developmental League last season.
“It’s all about being with my family (wife Raquel, son Zion who is 19 months old),” Thomas said. “He’s been my world. It’s a blessing every day waking up with him.”
Thomas has already planned a style of coaching.
“I’ll do what I learned under coach (Roy) Williams and things I’ve picked up from coach (Bill) Self,” Thomas said. “Also some things I feel I learned through the years.”
A native of Shreveport, La., Thomas ranks 37th on the KU all-time scoring chart with 1,152 points. He was part of four NCAA Tournament teams and four conference championship teams. In addition, during Thomas’ four years, KU went undefeated in Allen Fieldhouse. He ranks second on both the three-point field goals made chart (269) and three-point field goals attempted (691).