Thomas, a full qualifier out of Milford Mill in 2012, was offered a scholarship by Bears coach Todd Bozeman coming out of high school. When the 6-foot-6, 195-pound wing did a post-grad year at Central Jersey Each One Teach One Academy, Bozeman reiterated that the offer was still on the table. Thomas, who signed with Morgan State earlier this month, cited the coach’s loyalty as a major factor in his decision.
“I really liked the opportunity I would have going into Morgan,” Thomas said Tuesday. “Coach Bozeman has me doing a lot of workouts with strength and conditioning. He really just made me feel comfortable. Offering somebody a scholarship twice really shows that they want you. It seemed like the best fit for me.”
As a senior for the Millers, Thomas averaged 8.2 points (shooting 63 percent from the field), five rebounds and two blocks for the Baltimore County champions. Though Morgan made its interest in Thomas clear, other college programs seemed to be “on the fence” about his game. It was suggested to Thomas that he attend prep school or a junior college.
With his academics in order, Thomas decided on the post-grad option and headed up to New Jersey. At CJEOTO, Thomas was able to transform his body – the team did 1,000 push-ups and 1,000 sit-ups every day, in addition to regular weight-room workouts – and refine his game.
“My IQ, my decision-making [and] my ball-handling got better,” Thomas said. “I’m a better perimeter player, [a better] face-up player in the half-court set. I take smarter shots. It’s about the quality of shots, not the quantity.”
Thomas was a volume scorer in prep school, averaging 20-plus points for CJEOTO. Several MAAC and MEAC programs got involved in his recruitment, plus a couple Atlantic 10 schools. But staying close to home and playing for Bozeman’s Bears proved too great an opportunity for Thomas to pass up.
“I’m getting a good education and going somewhere I’m going to play,” Thomas said. “It feels really good. That’s what I’ve been doing this all my life for. I’m trying to get a free education, so that’s what I’ve got. That’s the most important thing for me – getting an education.”
Thomas, who is considering a major in computer engineering or communications, is expected to play the 3 at Morgan. As a freshman, he’ll likely be called on off the bench to score and defend. Thomas will join a Bears roster next fall that returns two other Baltimore natives in point guard Donte Pretlow (Dunbar) and forward Willis Turnipseed (City). Playing with other former high school standouts from the area is “definitely a plus” for Thomas.
“It just makes you feel more comfortable,” Thomas said. “It gets you a little more fired up if you’re in your hometown. I’ve been in Baltimore all my life. I’m a Baltimore native and a lot of people are going to come to the games and watch me a lot. You want your friends and family there watching you. It’s definitely a positive.”
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