Exhibit A came a week ago when Thomas walked into South Kent coach Raphael Chillious' office and handed over his cell phone.
``That was tough for me," said the 6-6 rising senior forward. "The first time Coach Chillious asked me for it, I gave him attitude so they let me keep it. But then I saw how much it distracted me so I decided it was the best thing for me to give it up – and it's worked out well."
Thomas, a New York native who spent much of his time last spring and summer on the road despite a sub-par academic standing, has given up more than just his cell phone.
Exhibit B: Thomas won't play in anything other than the Nike All-American Camp this summer.
``I was torn," Thomas said. "But I already played in all the major tournaments last summer. I just hope my stock won't drop."
``I questioned whether he'd do it all the way until last week," Chillious said of Thomas' decision to focus on academics and give up the AAU circuit. "But then he told me he was definitely going to stay up here this summer and take classes."
``He knows that if he doesn't do what he's supposed to do this summer and next year in school, the chances are very slim of him ever stepping on a college basketball court. At the same time, even if he does everything, it's still going to be an uphill battle – but now he's decided to take the gloves off and fight."
Thomas is doing something that plenty of other kids should be doing as well. Instead of missing Friday classes to attend AAU tournaments in the spring and hitting the road seemingly every weekend in the summer, borderline academic kids should be working on trying to qualify to become eligible in college.
``I know it's the right decision," Thomas said. "It's difficult because it means I can't go home in the summer and that I'm isolated, but I want to graduate on time and go to college."
As for the schools that seem to be the front-runners, you can give the nod to UConn and Pittsburgh for now.