Thomas back for break

After suffering a heartbreaking loss to Brewster Academy in the recent New England Prep School Tournament, ex-Curtis basketball star and University of Washington recruit Isaiah Thomas returned home for a well deserved spring break. caught up with Thomas and talked to him about his year at the South Kent School and his future at UW.

"Being away from home was the biggest thing," Thomas explained on adjusting to living life on the other side of the country. "It made me grow up. When I first got out there I was a little homesick, but it's something I gotta do to get where I want to go."

Despite living on an entirely different coast, the 5-foot-9 point guard followed his ex-high school teammates closely. "I followed Curtis all season, and it was tough," Thomas shared. "I wanted to come back and play for Curtis so bad and win a State Championship."

That's not to say that he didn't enjoy his season with South Kent, despite being reclassified as a junior. Playing against tougher opposition definitely left its mark on Thomas, who averaged 29 points and 9 assists with the South Kent School

"It's a much more mature league," he said, comparing the two. "(There are) A lot of older guys, post graduates who go to prep schools. The guys are bigger, stronger and faster and it's made me a better overall player being out there playing against the best."

That's good news for Washington fans frustrated by their lack of consistent guard play this past season. The diminutive guard, generally regarded as one of the premier prep scorers in the country, also shared a little about what it was like playing with fellow UW recruit Mathew Bryan-Amaning, and what fans can expect to see from him when he arrives. Amaning signed with the Huskies during the early signing period in November.

"It was a lot of fun," Thomas said about his once and future teammate. "This year a lot of our guys had up and down seasons, but Matt is a real good player. He brings it every night." According to Thomas, the 6-foot-9 native of London, England - with a 7-foot-2 wingspan - is a rebounding machine. "He's gonna get you rebounds, that's what he does best, and he really runs the floor," Thomas added. "The only thing he needs to work on is his jump shot, but UW is getting a really good player."

While Thomas continues to polish his spectacular outside stroke, he feels his game has evolved in other areas. While at Curtis, he was known as a pure scorer, averaging over 40 points a game in the Class 4A playoffs in the spring of 2006. "When I have a lot of good players around me, I don't have to shoot all the time," he said. "I like passing more anyway."

Thomas is back in town for a month-long spring break and will return this summer to the highly regarded Friends of Hoop AAU program coached by Jim Marsh, who has coached many of the premier players in the state - including Jon Brockman, Spencer Hawes and Martell Webster, among others.

"It's a great program, and I love being back with them," Thomas explained. "Coach Marsh is going to fly me in for tournaments from South Kent when he needs me."

Despite the newness of being at home without any pressing academic agenda, Thomas is still hard at work in other ways. "I've been in the weight room getting a lot stronger and working on jumping," he said.

Thomas also talked about another recruit he'll be joining in the Huskies' future back court – Franklin's Venoy Overton. "I was happy to hear about Venoy," Thomas said. "He's a great guard and we need guards. That was the biggest problem this year. Our guard play wasn't the best. Venoy and I are good friends and we played on the same AAU team when we were little.

"We're going to do some major things."

Pac-10 opponents can look forward to a match-up nightmare when the blazing quick, sub six footers are on the court at the same time, but Thomas won't be the smallest mighty might in the conference. That honor belongs to 5-foot-6 Oregon guard Tajuan Porter, fresh off a 33-point outburst in the round of 16 in the NCAA Tournament, propelling the Ducks to victory against UNLV. Many believe that Porter gives Husky fans a taste of what they can expect when Thomas arrives in 2008, a thought that isn't lost on Thomas.

"He's a good player," Thomas said about the player and the comparison. "I've seen him over the summer circuit and he's a great player."

Despite all of the rave reviews Porter has received of late, Thomas believes that he can take it to another level when he arrives at Montlake, despite the fact that Porter will have a two-year head start. So the inevitable question is asked.

Is he better than Porter?

"Yeah," Thomas chuckled quietly while doing his best to remain humble.

"Hell yeah."

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