Standing out at 6’ 6”, new Lower Nick Thomas ’21 from East Orange, N.J., brings his size and passion for basketball to the Andover Boys Basketball team. Thomas makes use of his height on the court, and his physicality makes a strong impact on the team, according to Co-Captain Matteo Whelton ’20.
Whelton said, “Nick really helps us because of his size. He brings some physicality to the team as well as being a very good young talent that continues to get better as the year has been progressing. Nick’s going to be a great player for Andover for some years to come.”
Thomas’s skill and his promising potential as a player has earned him the accolade of The Phillipian’s Athlete of the Week.
Where and when did you start playing?
With my brother at my house. I think I was five years old. My parents had a mini hoop up, and we started playing on it. I really began to love it. I started playing at school, and then my love for the game took off from there.
What’s your favorite part about the game?
The competition — I love it. It’s my favorite thing in the world. I play football too, but it just isn’t the same. I grew up playing basketball my whole life, and so has my family. Football, hitting-wise is fun, but doesn’t compare.
What position do you play?
I play small forward, power forward, and center. Small forward is my favorite though, because I can do the most. I can dribble, shoot, just do whatever I want.
Did you have someone you always looked up to in your first years of playing basketball?
Carmelo Anthony. He’s always been my favorite player, even when he was at Syracuse. Actually, ever since he was at Oak Hill before Syracuse, he was still my favorite. I was young too, maybe five or six, so I barely knew about basketball, but I knew about Carmelo Anthony, I loved him. Looking back on it, he was a big inspiration for me.
Do you have any pre-game rituals?
Before every game I take a quick 30-minute nap, shower, and go to the gym. Before every practice I lift.
What is your go-to “check-in” position?
Every time I check into a game, I sit in a butterfly position. You can ask anyone who looks at me when I go to sub in. I do that and flatten my legs, so I stay warm and loose.
Do you ever foul out?
I rarely ever foul out. Sadly, on Friday [1/18] against Worcester, I fouled out for the first time in three years. I try really hard to be smart about my fouls, so I don’t foul out.
Who of the point guards and shooting guards on the team do you think you connect with the best on the court?
My three guys, Matteo, [Co-Captain] Dallion [Johnson ’20], and Brenton [Mills PG’19]. Last year when I came for my revisit, Matteo was the person who toured me around. I got to chill with him and Dallion, and that was really fun. I got to see them over the summer a few times too, because we played in some of the same tournaments. Since I got here, we all just connected. Brenton was pretty quiet before I got to know him, but once I did, I realized what a talkative and funny kid he is.
What is your favorite cereal mascot?
The Lucky Charms guy. His voice — I love his voice. I remember listening to him during the Lucky Charms commercials on the television, and I would hear his voice and just be so happy, I’d be like “That’s a great voice right there!” I love that voice.
Do you get nervous when people are watching you?
No, I love it. I love when people like to talk in my ear. Especially at the free throw line, when the crowd likes to yell and heckle. When everyone is going crazy, I just think to myself “No big deal.”
Do you have a lucky basketball?
I do. It’s at home, signed by Carmelo Anthony, Kevin Durant, Lebron James, J.R. Smith, and Allen Iverson. I got it from the basketball Hall of Fame, and it’s my most prized possession. If anything ever happened to it I would be so disappointed.
What are your hopes for the future in terms of basketball?
I want to play in college. My hope is to go to Duke, and then hopefully from there go on to the N.B.A. That’s what I want to do with my life.
If you could take three N.B.A. players from different teams and from any era and make a 3-on-3 team, who would you choose and why?
Michael Jordan, Kevin Durant, and Lebron James. Those three are the greatest scorers of all time in my opinion, besides Hakeem Olajuwon and Wilt Chamberlain, obviously. The three that I chose are just unstoppable.
What role do you see yourself playing off the court?
What I try to be is a leader on and off the court, no matter to who. For kids older than me and kids younger than me. If I could go to the N.B.A., I would just try to be a leader as much I can.