Former University of Iowa and NBA point guard Dean Oliver enters his second season with the North Dakota men’s basketball program after retiring from professional basketball. Oliver’s primary responsibilities are working with the UND perimeter players with a heavy emphasis on developing the program’s point guards.
In his first season, the UND starting backcourt of Jamal Webb and Aaron Anderson flourished. Webb was named the Great West Tournament MVP as the team captured its second straight postseason title. Webb and Anderson also earned honorable mention All-GWC honors. Anderson led all GWC guards in assists with 40 (4.0/g) and was the team’s second leading scorer (11.0 ppg). The duo also wreaked havoc on the defensive end, accounting for a combined 98 steals.
Floor leadership is nothing new to Oliver, who recently transitioned into coaching after a nine-year career that included stints in the NBA, the NBDL and a variety of leagues overseas. The Mason City, Iowa, native spent last season playing for JL Bourg in a league in France after playing a season in Slovenia, a season in Croatia, a season in Poland and three seasons with the EiffelTowers in the Netherlands.
After a productive four-year career at Iowa, Oliver spent his first two professional seasons (2001-03) with the Golden State Warriors in the NBA.
UND head coach Brian Jones was on the Steve Alford-led staff at Iowa as an assistant for Oliver’s final two seasons in the program. Jones and Oliver matched up against Alford’s current team (New Mexico) last season when the two squads squared off at The Pit on Jan. 7.
Oliver started all but two games for the Hawkeyes in his four seasons in Iowa City. He earned All-Big Ten Conference Third Team honors after his sophomore, junior and senior seasons. Only two other Big Ten players besides Oliver have collected more than 1,500 points, 500 assists and 200 steals in their careers. He still remains sixth all-time at Iowa in 3-point field goals made (161) and third in free throws made (468), while holding down third on the career charts in assists (561) and second in steals (205).
As a senior, Oliver led the Big Ten Conference in assist/turnover ratio and assists per game. He played a key role in helping his squad advance to the Sweet Sixteen as a sophomore. As a senior, Iowa won the Big Ten Tournament and advanced to the 2nd round of the NCAA tournament.
Oliver and his wife, Sarah, have two children: a son Isaiah (5) and a daughter, Isabella (2).