Former Arkansas basketball player T.J. Cleveland enters his fourth year at UAB, having been an intregal part of the Blazers' success over the last three seasons. The 2005-06 campaign, however, marks Cleveland's first as a full-time assistant coach with Mike Anderson's program. Cleveland has served UAB as the team's video coordinator the past three years.
Stepping into the coaching ranks isn't a stretch for the veteran basketball player and summer camp coach. Cleveland was a standout guard for Nolan Richardson at Arkansas from 1998-2002. He ranks in the top-five all-time in Razorbacks history in both steals and assists.
The Birmingham native was also Richardson's team captain his last two years in Fayetteville. During his tenure in the Arkansas backcourt, Cleveland helped engineer three NCAA Tournament appearances and an SEC Tournament Championship.
As a senior with the Razorbacks, Cleveland scored in double figures nine times, leading the team twice in back-to-back games with 19 points on five of five shooting from the field, including two treys, and seven of seven shooting at the line in the win over LSU (2/17); and with 15 points on six of nine shooting, including two of four threes, in the win at South Carolina (2/20).
As a junior, Cleveland led the Hogs in steals (70) and assists (76) despite missing eight games with an ankle injury. He also led the team in three-point field goals made (49) and three-point field goal percentage (.415), which tied for second in SEC play.
He averaged just under 20 minutes per game for his four-year career, scoring 6.0 points per contest. He finished with 280 career assists and 226 career steals as a sparkplug off the Arkansas bench.
In his new role as an assistant coach with Anderson's club, Cleveland will be responsible for on-court coaching, particularly with the Blazer backcourt players, administration of practice and workouts, opponent scouting and on-campus recruiting activities. Cleveland, however, will assist Anderson in all aspects of the program.
Cleveland is also instrumental in the planning and overall operation of Mike Anderson's summer basketball camps, which attract hundreds of school children to campus each summer.
In his previous role as video coordinator, Cleveland's duties included coordinating all video operations, including film exchange, and assists in scheduling team functions in the community. He also supervised the managers, as well as assisting with the day-to-day operations of the basketball program.
Cleveland, a native of Birmingham, Ala., graduated from Minor High School in 1998, where he led his team to the state 6A championship and was named state tournament MVP.
Cleveland graduated from Arkansas in May of 2002 with a Bachelor of Arts in communications. He was married to the former Ami Watson in June of 2003. The couple resides in Inverness.