Bigger Than Ball Vol. 1: Deandre Thomas

-Thomas Hayden

Being the writer on staff for the HoopGroup camp I’m charged with the precarious task of interviewing the      pre-teens and young adults of grassroots basketball.  Everyone has a story, a background, and it’s my job to get them to tell it to me without using emojis.  Every once in awhile, a kid’s character will stand out among all others.  Deandre Thomas was one of these exceptions.

The first time play I saw Deandre play was during our tryout games during camp.  Tryout games always take place the first day of camp immediately after sign-in.  They’re only timed, and have no scorekeeper.  Deandre was on the bench at the time, and one of his teammates made a good play, not a crazy play, but good, and he got everyone up off the bench to cheer like they had just won a state championship.

Deandre Thomas is clearly a gifted scorer.  He puts pressure on the defense the entire game, and attacks the basket unlike anyone else I have seen at camp. His natural ability makes him stand out. What sets him apart though, is nothing basketball related.  He plays the game with a cheerful enthusiasm and respect that’s contagious for teammates and makes him extremely fun to watch.

Near the end of the interview I found out what shaped him to person he is today.  Both of Deandre’s parents have been officers in the United States Air Force from the time he was born.  Their no nonsense attitude and firm upbringing appeared throughout our talk in the form of “yes-sirs” and “thank yous”.  Here are the top ten responses from our brief Q & A session.  Hopefully you’ll enjoy the interview as much as I did.

Q: How was your first day at Hoop Group?

A: It was good…got a chance to feel out how the camp will be.

Q: If you had compare your game to one music album, what would it be?

A: Nothing Was The Same-Drake,

Q: If you had to play your favorite player 1v1, you’re wearing flip-flops & they’re wearing roller skates, who wins?

A: Me, he’s wearing rollerskates cannot guard me.  I’d be scared he might roll over my toe though.

Q: You’re making a 3 on 3 basketball team using only super heroes or cartoon characters, who do you take?

A: Superman, Hulk, Green Lantern.

Q: What’s the most important thing you look for in recruiting?

                     “If someone wants me. I’m not worried about name. I want to go to a school that I would choose even if I was not playing basketball.”

 

           Q: How many 5 year olds could you fight before you lost?

           A: I’d never fight a five year old…but if I had to 1000.  The first 200 i’m knocking out one punch.

           Q: Who has been the most influential person in your life thus far?

           A: My dad for sure.  He came from nothing. Grew up in the projects in Brooklyn.  We started off in a one bedroom apartment now we have a five bedroom house.

           Q: What is your dream college?

           A: Syracuse.  I like Jim Boeheim, but he probably won’t be coaching by the time it’s time for me to play.

           Q: What do you hope to gain from Hoop Group Academic Elite Camp?

            A: I want to learn different ways I can come off ball screens.  I want to get better at making the right reads so I can make plays for others.

           Q: What motivates you strive for greatness in athletics?

           A: My Grandmother.  She wants to go to Hawaii before she passes and I’m going to get her there.

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