There is the saying that says that patience is bitter, but its fruit is sweet. There is no one quite as eager to taste that fruit at the moment as new Gee-Gee Terry Thomas. The dynamic forward who committed to uOttawa last January after transferring from St-FX is only days away from making his long awaited début in the garnet and grey uniform.
“Coming here was kind of a no brainer for me. When I came and visited I felt the love from everyone right away and I had the chance to meet everybody. My decision was made because there is such a great group of guys here, as much in terms of personalities as in terms of basketball players,” Thomas said. “Simply put, it was an opportunity for a great new beginning for me so I jumped on it.”
Thomas has proven to be an extremely talented player who can play multiple positions effectively as did Warren Ward last season. There is no doubt that Thomas will contribute offensively for Ottawa but will also be major addition on the defensive end of the court. uOttawa has struggled at times defensively but has been able to escape with victories thanks to such high efficiency on offence. As a result, coaching staff see's Thomas as the missing piece to the puzzle.
“When recruiting last year we wanted to find a big guard who was versatile and could play more than one position. When Terry became available we felt right away that he could fit that role for us because with him on the team it would allow us to match up against teams who play with a more guard oriented line-up,” said head coach James Derouin. “What makes us even more excited about Terry is his defensive play. Our defence has been our weakness so far this season and his energy and athleticism should give us a boost in that area. Not to mention his ability to turn defence into offence, as Terry is one of the strongest transition players in the country.”
It has been nearly a year since the Dartmouth, Nova Scotia native has played in a CIS basketball game and he is counting down the days until he is able to return to game action. What makes his return even more anticipated is the fact that the Gee-Gees will be facing the no.1 ranked and cross town foe Carleton Ravens in his first game back.
“Even when I was at St-FX I heard a lot about the rivalry here. I think that rivalries are really fun and being back right in the thick of things will be exciting but will demand a lot of focus from me. After sitting and watching this team play so much I know that we have the ability to come out with the win,” said Thomas. “It should be a good thing for me to come back in such a high profile game because it forces me to be extremely prepared. I just want to get out there and let my play do the talking for me.”
Thomas had an excellent sophomore year for St-FX in 2011-2012 when he averaged 18.9 points and 8.1 rebounds per game on the season. As a result of his play, he was named to the All-Canadian second team that year and led his team to a third place finish at the CIS Final Eight Championship. After seeing such success, it is easy to imagine the frustration that Thomas could have faced as he sat on the outside looking in. However, the time spent on the sideline was found to be beneficial, as he quickly began to examine the game from a new perspective. It gave him the chance to understanding the game from a coach’s standpoint and taught him how to be a true leader on a team.
“It has been really difficult I must say and can’t say that I haven’t gotten frustrated at times because I definitely have. In the end, I was able to converse with coach a lot and that helped me understand and look at the game from a whole new viewpoint. That will help me on the court as well,” said Thomas. “Being sidelined demands so much patience because I know that I can help this team out. I realize that we are undefeated but I know that I can bring energy and leadership to this team,”
It will be interesting to see how coach Derouin integrates the fourth-year into the lineup. He will be jumping into a lineup already composed of flashy players such as Johnny Berhanemeskel, Caleb Agada and Mike L’Africain which will, without a doubt, make for some entertaining basketball in Gee-Gees nation. Look for Thomas on the court on November 29 when the Gee-Gees take on the Carleton Ravens at 8 p.m. at the Raven’s Nest.