"(Mack) has a plan for Chris as far as Chris being in the backcourt," said Smith. "He feels that Chris is going to be real strong and very important to the team's success. Academically he showed a plan for how they will support Chris. The basketball coaches are going to be supporting him and making sure he matures on the court and off the court as well."
She continued, "There has been a lot of maturing going on in these last eight months. It is a slow process, but it definitely is working."
At the time of the commitment a big reason for the decision was then Xavier assistant coach Rasheen Davis. Davis did an excellent job of recruiting Thomas and built a very strong relationship with the kid and the family. After his decision to leave for Manhattan there were questions if Thomas would stay committed, and according to Smith he definitely will.
"The relationship between Rasheen and Chris was very strong," said Smith. "One of the things I used to think was he committed to Xavier because of Coach Rasheen, but the last few months it seems that he committed to the school and the program itself. That has been a tremendous eye opener for our family."
She went on to say, "With him sticking to his commitment and being happy about his decision it is very important to us, and we are very pleased right now."
For Thomas the next step is getting back out on the court after a year off as well as finishing up his associates degree.
"Chris is happy at school and doing really well at Chipola," said Smith. "He can't wait to get on the basketball court again, and he's just ready to go. Hopefully he will do very well this year."
One thing is clear though, when Thomas is out on the court he isn't out there to prove anything, he wants to do this for himself and be the best player he can be.
"To be honest I don't think he wants to prove to people what kind of player he is," Smith explained. "I think he just wants to always be the best player he can be. I just believe that he is doing everything he can for him. He's in a good place academically and mentally right now. He is just working out and getting stronger. He is doing what he needs to do to get his game the way he wants it to be."