J.T. Thomas Signs with Toledo

Toledo head basketball coach Tod Kowalczyk and his staff have the daunting task of rebuilding the Rocket basketball program. With the signing of J.T. Thomas, they are one step closer to achieving that task.

Toledo head basketball coach Tod Kowalczyk and his staff have the daunting task of rebuilding the Rocket basketball program. One key factor in that task is finding a guard to help the team right away this fall. The staff was primarily search the Junior College ranks to find a guard with experience and a high maturity level. However, they found their man somewhere else.

Yesterday evening the Rockets received a commitment and signed NLI from J.T. Thomas of IMG Academy in Florida. Thomas, a 6-1 and 180 pound guard, spent a year of prep school at IMG Academy after attending Edna Karr High School in New Orleans, LA his senior year. The extra year in prep school has given the Rocket coaching staff the confidence that Thomas possesses the experience and maturity level they wanted from someone they expect to play a big role in the 2010-11 season.

"We are extremely excited that J.T. has made the decision to join our Rocket family," UT head coach Tod Kowalczyk told the UT sports information department yesterday. He added, "he's a talented guard who possesses all the intangibles we're looking for. J.T. has a very good feel for the game and is someone who plays with toughness, can score in a variety of ways, and possesses the athleticism needed to become a good defender."

Thomas did visit some other schools, but chose Toledo for a few reasons. "They have nice facilities, I am comfortable with the coaching staff," J.T. told Rocket Digest in a phone interview. He added, "it's a good opportunity and Toledo is a good fit for me." He also mentioned that he believes the Rocket coaching staff will make him better, both on and off the court. J.T. feels that he can be a leader and made an impact right away this fall.

Thomas has been through a lot the last few years. After Hurricane Katrina, his family lost their home and spent three years in Dallas, Texas during the relief efforts. He was finally able to return to New Orleans for his senior year of high school, and he averaged 18 points and 6 assists per game.

"I think it (Hurricane Katrina and the time in Dallas) made me stronger and more mentally tough than I was before," J.T. told Rocket Digest.

He then went to IMG Academy in Bradenton, FL this past season. Unfortunately he broke his foot and only played in 16 games. However, he averaged 18 points, 7 rebounds, and 4 assists per game for those 16 contests.

A source close to the Rocket basketball program has told Rocket Digest that J.T. has good shooting ability and can score off the dribble. He will make a good lead guard or scoring guard at Toledo.

While Thomas does not have that junior college experience the staff at Toledo was originally looking for, he does have an extra year of experience at a prep school and he already has some college credits that will transfer to Toledo.


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