Thomas Becomes a Hoosier
playing for the Hoosiers presents him with several great opportunities:
playing for tradition-rich program with five national titles in its
trophy case, remaining a teammate with long-time friend, high school
teammate and fellow Indian Jamarcus Ellis, as well as getting the chance
to be close to his one-month-old son, DeAndre Jr.
“All three factors were really important to me,” Thomas said. “I’m
excited to play at a school like IU. And I want to be closer to my son.”
The Bloomington, Ind., campus is only four hours away from Thomas’ home
in Chicago. Thomas first came onto the scene as a major basketball
prospect playing alongside Ellis at Westinghouse High School in Chicago.
The duo then took their games to Chipola to lead the Indians to
back-to-back Panhandle Conference titles, a state title and a runner-up
finish in this year’s national tournament.
Now Ellis, who committed to the Hoosiers in August of last year, will
welcome his fellow Chicagoan to Bloomington for two more years as
“It’s great because Jamarcus is a great player and a great person,”
Thomas said. “He’s like my brother. I know how he plays and he knows how
I play. We make each other better as players.”
The Hoosiers, who won 21 games and finished 10-6 in the Big 10 this
season, lose two starters to graduation but return leading scorer and
rebounder D.J. White.
Thomas and Ellis join a vaunted Indiana recruiting class that includes
McDonald’s All-American guard Eric Gordon.
It gives the Hoosiers one of the most talented rosters in the Big 10 for
next season. Thomas said that the talent level at Indiana will make for
a smooth transition for all.
“We’re all good players, so that will take a lot of the pressure off of
us,” he said. “There won’t be just one star on the team. That’s a great
fit for me.”
Thomas said that he thought both he and Ellis would have a chance to
play major roles on next year’s team.
“I think we’ll impact the team a lot, be impact players,” he said.
“We’ll make a Final Four there.”