September 20, 2013

The East Bay Isaiah Thomas

Kevin McCarthy

Hearing or seeing the name Isaiah Thomas brings to mind the former Indiana/NBA guard and NBA/college coach as well as the current Sacramento King backcourter who came out of Washington. Most Bay Area basketball fans aren't aware of any local connection to that full name but the No. 16 ranked talent in the NorCal Preps 2015 Top 40 is soon going to muscle in and make it a trifecta in public recognition.

photo of Isaiah Thomas

Back in late April after playing for the Oakland Rebels in the Nor Cal Spring Tipoff, NCP wrote this about Thomas: “Long, wide wing span, a little thin, runs very well and attacks the glass, good shot blocker, raw offensively.”

That was the proverbial break-out party.

Now that Thomas has transferred from Kipp King Collegiate School in San Lorenzo to Bishop O'Dowd, playing for Coach Lou Richie is going to open up the proverbial recognition floodgates. The move will also allow him to enjoy a broader higher school experience.

For the now 6-foot-8, 215-pounder, beginning roundball participation was based on a physical and enjoyment combination. ”I was taller than everyone and basketball was my favorite sport anyway” -- so any other sporting possibilities were assigned early on to the rear view mirror.

Thomas see two skills in particular as his current foremost ones: “blocking shots and my offensive rebounding.” But a change in his approach has also produced larger point totals. “When I was younger, I wasn't as intense and would lay the ball in or pass it back out but now I post up and dunk instead.”

Asked about his best basketball moment, he offered, “it was this summer against a top team from Utah in the championship game. We were up by five with five minutes left and one of my teammates missed a layup. I got the rebound and dunked it” and the Rebels won.

Thomas has already broadened his recruiting outlook. “At first I wanted to stay in California but now I'm willing to go anywhere.” His visit itinerary currently includes UC Santa Barbara, Weber State and California.

He is looking to major in kinesiology/physical therapy.

Thomas sees big things happening for the Dragons this season as he'll be joining forces with Ivan Rabb (#1 in 2015), Paris Austin (#8 in 2015) plus others.

The 2012-13 season resulted in a 26-4 Bishop O'Dowd overall record plus an undefeated 11-0 slate in the West Alameda County Conference - Foothill Division and with more experience plus the addition of Thomas, well, it will be difficult to find disagreement on this outlook.

“We have knock-down shooters, good passers and we're very athletic,” said Thomas. “We're working for national attention.”