Dallas Mavericks NBA champion and Texas Legends assistant general manager Jason “Jet” Terry is returning to his alma mater, the University of Arizona announced Thursday. The 19-year NBA veteran will serve as an assistant coach under the direction of Wildcats men’s basketball head coach Sean Miller.
“Jet is going to be amazing as a coach,” said Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban. “He knows how to relate to young players. He is patient and understanding. He works well with parents; he has the complete package. I’m super excited for him. This is just the beginning of a long coaching career.”
Terry played 129 games for Hall of Fame coach Lute Olson from 1995-99 and helped the ‘Cats to their only national championship in 1997. He finished his illustrious career at Arizona with 1,461 points, a total that ranks 18th in school history. He went on to win the NBA title with the Mavs in 2011.
“My family and I are excited to be part of the incredible Tucson community again, where our story began,” Terry said. “I am looking forward to joining Coach Miller and staff to develop student-athletes that have a passion for education, basketball excellence and community leadership.”
Coaching is nothing new for Terry. He’s long served as an elite basketball AAU coach and his Lady Drive Nation squad was scheduled to play Kobe Bryant’s team before the deadly helicopter crash. Terry shared at the time how he was at the gym one day earlier to watch Gianna’s team play and will never forget how proud Kobe was of his daughter.
The day forever shifted Terry’s life and he renewed a deep passion to coach and work with young people.
Terry and his wife, Johnyika, have five daughters.
“I ran up to the first official I could see and said, ‘Look, there’s no more basketball, we cannot play another game today. Kobe has passed away.
“Immediately, the ball stopped bouncing. Everyone converged on one of the courts and we all just gathered around and got on one knee. … They were on their way to play my team, to play against our team in that gym and it’s just heartbreaking,” Terry added.
It will be a special homecoming for Terry, and the Wildcats, too.
“We are excited to welcome Jason Terry, his wife, Johnyika, and their daughters to our program and the community,” Miller said. “Jason’s accomplishments as a player and champion are iconic in our sport, with so many of his incredible moments on the court taking place here at the University of Arizona. His basketball journey is one that so many players dream of, but he was able to make it a reality.
“Jason’s knowledge of the game along with his charisma and competitive spirit are qualities that will make him an exceptional coach. He will impact and energize our current players as well as our recruiting efforts in a major way. We look forward to having him back on our sideline in the McKale Center.”
Although his career scoring average may not stand out at first glance, when you look at his senior year numbers, it’s easy to see why he was named Pac-10 Player of the Year as well as National Player of the Year by a number of publications. The Seattle native put up 21.9 points, 5.5 assists, 3.3 rebounds and 2.8 steals per contest in his final collegiate season and finished with 104 wins in his career.
The Atlanta Hawks selected Terry with the 10th overall pick in the 1999 NBA Draft and he earned NBA All-Rookie Second Team honors after averaging 8.1 points and 4.3 assists in his first season. After playing with the Hawks from 1999-2004, he was traded to the Dallas Mavericks, where he played from 2004-2012.
Over the final 14 years of his career, he helped lead his team to the playoffs in 13 seasons. The sharpshooter currently sits in seventh place on the NBA’s career 3-point field goals made list with 2,282. Terry finished his career playing in 1,410 NBA games, ninth in NBA history.
In September, 2019, Terry was named Assistant General Manager for the Texas Legends, the NBA G-League affiliate of the Dallas Mavericks.
As part of the CATS Forever program at the University of Arizona, Terry received his bachelor’s degree in General Studies with an emphasis on Social, Behavioral and Human Understanding in 2015.