After just seven seasons of playing professionally overseas, former McDonald's All-American point guard and Indiana's Mr. Basketball, Chris Thomas surprisingly threw in the towel.
"The love for the game and the passion for being number one simply weren't there for me anymore," he told Eurobasket from his home in Indianapolis, Indiana.
The 30-year-old Notre Dame alumnus has played in five countries -- Italy, Greece, Poland, Spain and Israel, but is now building a career in the corporate business world as a financial representative at Milwaukee based Northwestern Mutual, a Life Insurance and Financial Services company. Thomas is also the assistant coach for Southport high school's basketball team.
Last season, Thomas helped lead Israel's Galil/Gilboa to the Balkan league championship, averaging 6.6 points and 4 assists in 24 minutes. In the Israeli league, Thomas upped his numbers to 8.8 points and 4.8 assists in 30 minutes of action as Galil/Gilboa finished the regular season in second place.
For Thomas, learning the nuances of the European game and positioning himself as one of the top point guards statistically in the prestigious Spanish ACB League was the simple part of his overseas grind: "I dealt with lawsuits and not seeing all my money abroad and the business side really took away a lot of the love and purity I had for the game," he said. "It was special for me to walk away with no regrets after winning the Balkan title with Galil/Gilboa.
Despite receiving multiple European offers throughout the summer, Thomas found himself juggling between a career as a basketball player and that of a family man. "Family is the most important thing to me and I had a son before coming to Israel. I battled with my priorities of being a humble father and fulfilling my ego of playing ball and being in the spotlight," Thomas added.
According to the Indianapolis native and ex-Pike high school two-time state champion (2000 and 2001), basketball was and always has been about being the best on the court: "Basketball is and always will be a big part of my life but it wasn't my whole life, so it was easy to step away. The passion of being number one wasn't there for me anymore and fortunately, I was able to play at a high level even though I wasn't exhorting a lot of energy. I enjoy the fact that I walked away from the game knowing it was my time. I retired on my own terms."
Thomas currently holds a number of Notre Dame school records. He is the only player in Notre Dame basketball history to score more than 1,700 points and dish out 600-plus assists. He is also ranked first in steals with 244. Thomas was assigned point guard to the First Team All Notre Dame team for the celebration game of 100 years of Notre Dame basketball.
After parting ways with Slovenian Salih Nuhanovic (210-C-82, agency: 011 Sports), KB Peja has reached agreement with American Jamie Skeen (205-F-88, college: VCU). Jamie Skeen is 28 years old that has a good experience from different leagues. In 2014-15 he played for S.S. Sutor Montegranaro where in 24 games had an average of 11.1 points per game and 4.3 rebounds. The American has played on 2014/15 season for Belgian team of Belfius Mons-Hainaut where he averaged 9.4 points and 4 rebo... [read more]
Jamie Skeen is 28 years old that has a good experience from different leagues. In 2014-15 he played for S.S. Sutor Montegranaro where in 24 games had an average of 11.1 points per game and 4.3 rebounds.
The American has played on 2014/15 season for Belgian team of Belfius Mons-Hainaut where he averaged 9.4 points and 4 rebounds per game.
The power forward will be a important addition to the Peja squad in the fight for the titles in Super league, Kosovan Cup and Balkan League.
The Macedonian center was one of the best performers last night when Sigal Prishtina reached its first win at Balkan League, defeating KK Kumanovo 2009 79-67. Bojan Trajkovski (208-F/C-88, agency: Mansfield and Associates) scored scored 14 points and added 5 rebounds and 4 assists at this victory. But since today, Bojan Trajkovski is the new player of Karpos Sokoli 2000 Skopje, that competes at Balkan League and Adriatic League too. Last season Bojan Trajkovski played for KK Kumanov... [read more]
The Macedonian center was one of the best performers last night when Sigal Prishtina reached its first win at Balkan League, defeating KK Kumanovo 2009 79-67.
Johnson's 29 points and 9 assists give him Player of the Week award - 6 days ago
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31-year old guard Kejuan Johnson (193-G-85, agency: Inception Sports) put on an amazing game in the last round for Bashkimi and receives a Eurobasket.com Player of the Week award for round 7. He had the game-high 29 points adding seven rebounds and nine assists for Bashkimi in his team's victory, helping them to beat Sigal Prishtina (#6, 0-2), the league's bottom-ranked team 85-74. Bashkimi is placed at 4th position in Balkan League. Bashkimi is rather a weak team placed in lower part in... [read more]
31-year old guard Kejuan Johnson (193-G-85, agency: Inception Sports) put on an amazing game in the last round for Bashkimi and receives a Eurobasket.com Player of the Week award for round 7. He had the game-high 29 points adding seven rebounds and nine assists for Bashkimi in his team's victory, helping them to beat Sigal Prishtina (#6, 0-2), the league's bottom-ranked team 85-74. Bashkimi is placed at 4th position in Balkan League. Bashkimi is rather a weak team placed in lower part in the standings. They need more victories to improve their 2-4 record. Johnson turned to be Bashkimi's top player in his first season with the team. Long Beach State University graduate has very impressive stats this year. Johnson is in league's top in points (4th best: 19.3ppg), rebounds (8th best: 5.8rpg) and assists (4th best: 4.5apg).
Second best performed player last round was Ermin Jazvin (209-C-80, agency: Mansfield and Associates). He is Bosnia and Herzegovina center in his first season at Bashkimi. In the last game Jazvin recorded impressive double-double of 12 points and 16 rebounds. Of course Bashkimi cruised to a 85-74 relatively comfortable win over Sigal Prishtina (#6, 0-2). This victory allowed Bashkimi to move up to 4th position in the standings. His team is not often considered as one of the league's best with a mere 2-4 record. Jazvin is a newcomer at Bashkimi and despite he is not a team leader yet, every game he becomes more reliable player. Hopefully performances like the last one will happen more often.
Third place about best performers goes to forward M.J. Rhett (206-PF-92) of Sigal Prishtina (#6). Rhett showcased his all-around game by recording 16 points, nine rebounds and five assists in the last round. Despite Rhett's great performance Sigal Prishtina lost 74-85 to slightly higher-ranked Bashkimi (#4, 2-4). But his team cannot count on just a single player as he also needs help of the other teammates. Sigal Prishtina can only dream about fighting for top spots in the league. They have awful season losing so far all 2 games. Too bad for Rhett he does not play for a better team. But maybe if he did, his season stats would not be that high. Rhett has a very solid season. In 2 games in Balkan League he scored 12.0ppg.
Other top performing players last week: 4. Alban Veseli (202-F-90) of Peja - 15 points, 7 rebounds and 5 assists 5. Noah Dahlman (201-F-89) of Peja - 13 points, 7 rebounds and 4 assists 6. Cameron Rundles (188-PG-88) of Peja - 20 points, 2 rebounds and 7 assists 7. Lamarcus Reed (196-G/F-88) of Peja - 20 points and 5 rebounds 8. Andrew Lawrence (185-PG-90) of Sigal Prishtina - 16 points, 3 rebounds and 3 assists 9. Goran Vrbanc (193-SG-84) of Karpos Sokoli - 17 points and 6 rebounds 10. Dominik Mavra (195-G-94) of Karpos Sokoli - 13 points, 3 rebounds and 6 assists
The Player of the week is chosen based on efficiency calculation, but also including game result, importance of the game, if played recorded double-double/triple-double, etc. The efficiency formula is a combination of various formulas used by different basketball organizations/leagues. We got involved many basketball scouts and journalists to assure it's accuracy. The formula: 1.5*PTS + 3* (REB+AST+ST+BL-TO) - 2*BSAG - 4*PF + 3*PFRV + 4* (2FGPM+3FGPM) + 1.5*FTM - 3* (2FGPA-2FGPM) - 3* (3FGPA-3FGPM) - (FTA-FTM)
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