Jean Prioleau enters his sixth year as the associate head coach with the University of Colorado men's basketball staff bringing a wealth of expertise on and off the court.
“Jean is ready to be a head coach, deserves to be a head coach,” CU head coach Tad Boyle said. “He is multiple-faceted in terms of his recruiting and coaching ability, relationship with the players, and his professionalism. Jean does a tremendous job and has for many years, not just CU’s staff, but any staff he’s been on.”
Since day one of his arrival on the Boulder campus, Prioleau has helped bring Colorado Basketball to the forefront as one of the elite programs in the Pac-12 Conference, as well as the national stage.
During Prioleau’s tenure in Boulder, the Buffaloes’ have accumulated 108 victories, the most wins in any five-year span of the program (114 years). In addition, five-straight seasons of post-season play (2010-15) and three-straight NCAA Tournament berths (2011-14), are also school-firsts.
Prioleau has helped build the Coors Events Center into a dominant home court advantage, making the Buffs’ one of the most feared arenas to play in with a five-year mark of 74-14 (.841). The 74 wins are a program-best over any five-year period with an average of 15 home wins per season.
The groundwork of the program’s success was built during the first two years where Prioleau assisted with back-to-back 24-win campaigns of 2010-11 and 2011-12. The 24 victories continue to be a school record for victories in a single-season. The 24 wins in his first season were part of CU’s run to the NIT semifinals at Madison Square Garden in New York City, the school’s last year in the Big 12 Conference.
The following year (2011-12), the program equaled another 24 victories, CU’s first year in the Pac-12 Conference. The Buffaloes became just the 10th team in the nation to win at least four games in four days to capture the tournament title at the inaugural conference tournament. The tournament title was the Buffaloes first since winning the Big 8 in 1968-69.
With the automatic tournament berth, CU earned its first NCAA Tournament appearance since 2002-03 and saw the Buffs upset No. 6 UNLV in the second round, advancing to the third round.
Another successful season followed in 2012-13 (21 wins), where Prioleau and the Buffs earned back-to-back NCAA Tournament berths for the first time in 50 years (1961-62 & 1962-63). The following year (2013-14), another NCAA Tournament followed with 23 wins, seeting a school record with three consecutive NCAA Tourney appearances and four-straight 20-winning seasons.
The 2013-14 campaign saw CU register 23 wins, the third-most victories in school history. That CU team also tallied a third place finish in the final Pac-12 Conference standings, the program’s highest placing in 18 years.
During his five years in Boulder, Prioleau has mentored a quartet of former CU student-athlete standouts who have made the next step professionally in their respective basketball careers.
Alec Burks, a sophomore, was CU’s second-ever lottery pick and selected No. 12 overall by the Utah Jazz in the 2011 NBA Draft; Andre Roberson left after his junior year, was the No. 26 overall selection by the Minnesota Timberwolves in 2013 (later traded to Oklahoma City).
Spencer Dinwiddie, also a junior, was drafted by the Detroit Pistons in the 2014 NBA Draft (second round, No. 38 overall); and Cory Higgins, the school’s all-time co-leader in points, played with the Charlotte Bobcats during the 2011-12 season.
Prioleau has also coached a number of CU student-athletes to conference excellence.
In 2010-11, Burks was a Wooden Award Top-20 finalist and unanimous All-Big 12 first team selection; Levi Knutson was the Big 12 Conference Sixth Man of the Year, and Higgins was All-Big 12 third team.
In CU’s first year of the Pac-12, Roberson (first team, All-Defensive, All-Tournament team), Carlon Brown (second team, tournament’s Most Outstanding Player), and Dinwiddie (freshman team) garnered all-Conference honors.
In year two of the conference, Roberson (first team, Defensive Player of the Year, All-Defensive team); Dinwiddie (first team) and Josh Scott (All-Freshman team) earned post-season accolades, and in year three, Scott continued CU’s prominence among the elite Pac-12 Conference players selected to the first team.
Prior to his arrival to CU, Prioleau was an assistant coach and recruiting coordinator at Texas Christian University from 2008-10. With the Horned Frogs, Prioleau not only served as the program's recruiting coordinator, but also was responsible for working with the TCU guards. Prioleau guided the development of TCU freshman Ronnie Moss as he became the first freshman since the 2001-02 campaign to average double-digits as well as the progression of guards Edvinas Ruzgas and Keion Mitchem.
Prioleau spent two years on the coaching staff at Iowa State (2006-08) where he helped the Cyclones record 29 victories during his time. In his two seasons, the Cyclones had three All-Big 12 Conference performers in Mike Taylor, Wesley Johnson and Jiri Hubalek. All three were ranked in the top-100 among in a pair of defensive categories.
Soon after accepting the position at Iowa State, Prioleau played an instrumental role in signing one of the top players for the Cyclones in Wesley Johnson. The 6-7 forward from Corsicana, Texas, proved to be a valuable find for the Cyclones as he garnered All-Big 12 Rookie Team accolades as well as honorable mention freshman All-American laurels during the 2006-2007 campaign.
Prior to joining the Iowa State program, Prioleau spent the 2005-06 season as an assistant coach under former Marquette head coach and current Indiana University head coach Tom Crean.
In his lone season with the Golden Eagles, Marquette recorded a 20-11 overall record and a 10-6 mark in Big East Conference en route to securing a spot in the NCAA Tournament. Prioleau was part of a Marquette program that ranked 11th in the country in three-point field goal percentage, 22nd in three-point field goals made per game and 43rd in the nation in scoring offense in his lone campaign. That season, Prioleau watched as the Golden Eagles posted victories over a trio of nationally-ranked opponents, including a 94-79 triumph over top-ranked UConn.
Before his stint with Marquette, Prioleau spent five seasons on the coaching staff at Wichita State (2000-05) where he played a vital role in the resurgence and success of the Shockers in the Missouri Valley Conference. The Shockers earned a berth in the National Invitation Tournament on three occasions during Prioleau's tenure.
During his five-year tenure, the Shockers never finished below a .500 overall or conference mark while winning 18 or more games in four of five seasons. The Shockers collected 94 total victories, including a pair of 20-win seasons in each of his final two campaigns with the program.
In addition to signing the top recruiting class in 2001 in the Missouri Valley Conference, Prioleau helped ink Sean Ogirri (Colorado Player of the Year), Paul Miller (2006 Missouri Valley Conference Player of the Year and 2001 Freshman of the Year), Jamar Howard (Missouri Valley Conference Defensive Player of the Year) and Randy Burns (Missouri Valley Conference Rookie of the Year).
"Jean has grown tremendously in this business and what I like about him, the fact he's not only a good recruiter, a good basketball coach, he has a great basketball mind," Boyle said. "He's the full package in terms that some guys are labeled one thing or another, but he's got all the goods. I'm really fortunate to have him. He's been in the Big 12, the Big East, the Mountain West, so he knows this level of basketball, and he's well-connected throughout the country."
During his professional career, Prioleau played in both domestic and international territories with stints coming in the USBL and CBA as well as pre-season training camps for the NBA's New York Knicks and Indiana Pacers. He also spent time overseas where he competed in Turkey, Italy and Switzerland. Following his graduation, Prioleau played professionally for the USBL's Long Island Surf prior to attending training camp for the Indiana Pacers Rookie/Free Agent Summer League. Prioleau was invited to the Pacers' veteran camp where he was the final cut made by the team one day prior to the start of the season.
In 1992-93, Prioleau played for Yakima of the CBA before rejoining the Surf that summer. Prioleau made his second appearance at the Indiana Pacers' veteran camp before competing for Grand Rapids and Sioux Falls of the CBA. The following summer, he played for the New Jersey Nets' summer league team then signed a professional contract in Switzerland during the 1994-95 season.
Prioleau began his coaching career at his alma mater - Fordham University - following an eight-year professional basketball career. During the 1999-00 campaign, Fordham recorded a 14-15 overall record and a 7-9 mark in Atlantic 10 Conference action in the lone season with Prioleau on the coaching staff. That season, Duke Freeman-McKamey was selected as the Most Improved Player in the Atlantic 10 Conference while Bevon Robin earned third team all-conference accolades.
A former standout at Fordham, Prioleau was inducted into the Athletics Hall of Fame in 2000 after concluding his career ranked second in all-time steals and assists, third in free throw percentage, fourth in field goals made, and sixth in scoring. Prioleau guided the Rams to back-to-back Patriot League titles, including hitting the game-winning three-pointer in the 1992 Patriot League Championship Game.
The Rams advanced to the NCAA Tournament during the 1991-92 season for the first time since the 1971 campaign while Prioleau was selected as a first team All-Patriot League selection. He also guided the Rams to a pair of NIT Tournament appearances during the 1989-90 and 1990-91 seasons, including a 25-8 overall record during his junior campaign.
A 1992 graduate of Fordham University with a degree in physics, Prioleau is a member of the NABC (National Association of Basketball Coaches).
After his collegiate career, Prioleau was the last cut of the Indiana Pacers as an undrafted rookie in the fall of 1992. From there he would play professionally with the Yakima Sun Kings of the Continental Basketball Association. In the fall of 1995, he once again tried the NBA, only to be the last cut of the New York Knicks. Prioleau would then finish his pro career in Turkey and Italy.
Prioleau and his wife, Janelle, have a son, Elijah, born January 2011.