Leon Wood, who holds Cal State Fullerton career scoring and assist records and played parts of six seasons in the NBA, will return to Fullerton as a part-time basketball coach, the school announced Thursday.
Wood said his playing career ended last spring when doctors discovered a broken bone in his left foot, an injury that had gone undetected for more than seven years and required surgery in May. A cast was removed two weeks ago, and Wood is still on crutches.
Wood, 29, who scored 1,876 points and had 744 assists in three seasons at Fullerton (1981-84), said he had wanted to coach after his playing career ended and became aware of an opening at Fullerton after talking to Coach John Sneed two months ago. He will join Dan Dion and Mike Bokosky on Sneed's staff.
"I think I have a lot to give to kids because they want to get to where I was at," Wood said. "Eventually, I'd like to be a head coach."
Wood, who was a member of the gold-medal-winning 1984 U.S. Olympic team, played last winter with Ranger Varese of the Italian Professional League, Rapid City of the Continental Basketball Assn. and Sacramento of the NBA.
He was a first-round pick (10th overall) of the Philadelphia 76ers in 1984 but spent only 1 1/2 years with the team before being traded to the Washington Bullets during the 1985-86 season. Wood spent 1986-87 with the New Jersey Nets, and played parts of 1987-88 with the San Antonio Spurs and Atlanta Hawks and 1988-89 in Spain.
He began the 1989-90 season with the CBA Santa Barbara Islanders before being picked up by the Nets again. Wood was cut by the Minnesota Timberwolves in last season's training camp, played with Sacramento until being cut Dec. 24 and then moved on to Italy.