Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Isaiah Thomas- Famous Name, Great Game

Isaiah Thomas of South Kent Prep (CT) certainly has recognition, and not just because of his famous name. The 5'8 senior point guard might have the same name as a certain former Detroit Pistons point guard, but he has a wonderful game in his own right. Isaiah was one of the most impressive juniors at the Prime Time Shootout, raining threes and running the point at the same time. Although his squad lost in overtime to American Christian (PA), Thomas was kind enough to chat with me for a few minutes.

NB: [The team] had that game for the first three quarters. What happened in the fourth quarter, then in overtime [that the team] . . . let the game slip away?
IT: Just little things, not rebounding, turning the ball over, and . . . we [are] used to playing with a shot clock, there was no shot clock. We could’ve just spread the court out and wasted time, but we didn’t do that, that’s why we came out with the loss.

NB: Coming into the game, did [the team] know that there wasn’t going to be a shot clock, or was that something that was unexpected?
IT: It was unexpected. We thought it was going to be 20 minute halves like we usually play, and a shot clock, but it didn’t happen.

NB: You had 31 points out there, an amazing performance. How did you consistently keep knocking down those threes?
IT: Just practice, practice, that’s hard work, practicing by yourself and whatnot, it pays off in the game.

NB: What would you suggest to some young kids out there who want to be hitting threes like you one day?
IT: Just keep working on your game, everyday, all day. Whenever you can, work on your game.

NB: You’ve committed to Washington. . . . What went into that decision for you?
IT: Basically, it’s being close to home, family. The coaching staff, my relationship [with] the coaches [was important], that’s basically it.

NB: I’ve heard a story behind your name, about some type of bet. . . . Do you mind telling us that story?
IT: My father made a bet, the Detroit [Pistons] against the [Los Angeles] Lakers, if Detroit beat them in the [NBA] Finals, that would be my names, and it was, and then my mom’s . . . into church and whatnot, that’s why my name’s spelled different [from Isiah Thomas’], like [it’s spelled in] the Bible.

NB: Is that interesting for you, or do you not really . . . think about it?
IT: It was, but now it’s just an everyday thing.

NB: What’s your goal for the rest of . . . your senior season, and then for next year at Washington?
IT: [My goal for] the rest of this season [is to] just go out with a bang, try to get as far as we can, try to get a championship [in] my last season, and for Washington, just get better and better each day, and that’s basically it, get better and better.

NB: When you play the way you did today, do you feel the team feeding off of you and playing with the same energy that you are [playing with]?
IT: Yeah, I think when I bring it, since I’m a leader, they’re going to bring it. When I’m slacking, they kind of slack off, so I try to do . . . the best I can.

NB: What’s the best part about playing for South Kent?
IT: [Pause] You got great players around [you].

NB: Would you mind explaining the tattoo you got on your left arm?
IT: It’s my Grandpa, he died two years ago. Actually, his birthday is coming up this month [of February]. So, I mean he was . . . like a second dad to me.

Thomas has certainly played his way past just being a ballplayer with a famous name. He has developed into a premiere point guard with a great shooting touch, and the ability to take over a game. Thomas single-handedly kept his team in the game against ACA,and had the Cardinals up for most of the contest. Isaiah Thomas has not been limited by his size, he is 5'8, nor has he crumbled under any pressure he has received to live up his famous name. Isaiah Thomas doesn't have to live to any name, and that's because he has his own name and his own game: Isaiah Thomas, playmaking scorer at the point.

Note- photo is from http://rivalshoops.rivals.com/

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