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Gael Spotlight - Elijah Thomas

Jan. 23, 2018

The Concentric Wealth Management Gael Spotlight is a monthly Q&A by with a Saint Mary's student-athlete, getting to know our Gaels more closely

MORAGA, Calif. -- This week, sat down with Elijah Thomas, a redshirt freshman on the Saint Mary's men's basketball team.

Q: When did you first start playing basketball?

A: “I first started playing basketball in the seventh grade. That is when I learned how to play the correct way of basketball. I tried out for the team in middle school and I barely made it.”

Q: What position did you play?

A: “I have always played the guard, but on my club team I played center since I was always the tallest kid. I was always just usually taller than everyone.”

Q: Who first introduced you to basketball?

A: “My grandma. When I was little she introduced me to the NBA and always used to talk about it. I think that is one of the main reasons why I started playing is because of her. I wanted to play for her.”

Q: Favorite basketball player while growing up?

A: “Jimmy Butler by far. You hear the story of how he came up, going through tough times, for him to make it and become an All-Star, I looked up to him. I think my game is similar to what he does such as the way he locks up on defense and can score. He is just a leader. He has the skills of what I want to be like for this team.”

Q: Did you grow up rooting for the Phoenix Suns or a different NBA team?

A: I didn’t really have a favorite team. I always just enjoyed watching the game and certain players. I would always watch all the All-Stars and any team. It didn’t matter who, I was all-around.”

Q: What other sports did you play growing up?

A: “I played flag football. I didn’t really play anything else. You know how it is in school and you play with your friends. We played a lot of soccer, but I got a little taste of everything. Basketball was really the start for me.”

Q: Biggest memory playing basketball in high school?

A: “Playing varsity as a freshman was for sure an accomplishment and memory. I did just start playing basketball so I didn’t even know if I was good or not. I didn’t really have much confidence in myself, but I made it and I had a good season. The coach really had trust in me and what I can do, so that is where my confidence started building on the court.”

“Winning rivalry games was a big deal. We won all of our rivalry games. I went to Sunrise High School so we played Liberty High. It was definitely good not losing to them when I was playing.”

Q: Biggest role model growing up?

A: “I have three of them - my mom, grandma and aunt. They all took care of me. My mom was on her own so I look up to my mom because you got to be a strong person to take care of children by yourself. My grandma was always there. She would always give me words of wisdom and was really sweet when I used to get into trouble. My aunt was always there to help me with school, sports, and anything. They helped me a lot and I always look up to them.”

Q: Why did you choose to go to Saint Mary’s?

A: “I was always appreciative of whoever showed interest in me and I thought that if they wanted to take a chance on me, I would always respect it. The coaches and I started talking more and when I came and visited the school, and the first thing I thought about was the family-like feel.”

“Everyone on the team and the coaches really cared about each other. On the basketball end of it, they showed me all of the guys who have played for this school and their successes after it and I wanted that. Coach Bennett has a history of taking guys to the next level.”

“Academically, the classes were smaller and I felt like I wouldn’t get lost with the smaller class size. There is a lot of engagement and one-on-one with the teacher so there are no excuses but to learn and get the right answer. That drew me in and I wanted to be apart of it.”

Q: Growing up what was your favorite subject in high school?

A: “PE and lunch [laughing] but I would say English. Reading and writing was pretty cool. All of my classes were always fun when I was in English.”

Q: Favorite cartoon growing up?

A: “Danny Phantom. I love Danny Phantom. I used to wake up early on Saturday mornings just to watch the show.”

Q: Favorite snack?

A: “From last year, I really like Scooby fruit snacks, to the point when I was eating them all the time. I had to give them up a little bit. Those were definitely my favorite. That is why some of the guys call me Scooby...That is how I got that nickname. ”

Q: Favorite hobby outside of basketball?

A: “I wish I was better than [Jordan] Ford in chess. He beats me all the time. I am really big on being outdoors. I always like going outside, walking around and enjoying what is around me.”



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