Baller Breakdown: Justin Thomas

By Julian Nunnery

Name: Justin Thomas

Hometown: Indianapolis

When you started playing basketball: 3 years old

Favorite sports team: Oklahoma City Thunder

Athlete idol/role model: Isaiah Thomas

“Seeing him being picked last in the NBA Draft and still having that chip on his shoulder,” Thomas said. “He keeps working hard. You see where he’s at now as one of the best players in the league and one of my favorites.”

Court strengths: defense, play-making and ball handling

“I play good defense,” Thomas said. “I can run the team well at point guard.”

Court weaknesses: 3-point shooting and being vocal

“I can improve on my 3-point shooting,” Thomas said. “I can also be more vocal and communicative.

Favorite teammate: Eugene German

“It’s crazy how me and Eugene got close,” Thomas said. “We’re both from Indiana so we already knew each other. We were like cross-town rivals because we were both point guards. That’s just my homie, and we get along really well. We’re like the reciprocal of each other.”

Interesting fact: Four brothers and one sister

“I’m in the middle,” Thomas said. “I have three older brothers. My other brother and my sister are younger than me.”

Why you enjoy playing for NIU: Family atmosphere

“We’re a family,” Thomas said. “Knowing that you can rely on each other on and off the court for things just makes you want to be here. We all get along. It’s just fun.”

Thomas is in his second season with the Huskies. Although he is only a sophomore, Thomas has taken on a leadership role for the team.

Thomas said leadership is important for himself and other players on the team, particularly him and German.

“Although we’re only sophomores, we are one of the older players on the team, so we have to lead and be great communicators,” Thomas said. “Coach is always on us about communicating and talking.”

Thomas spent a significant amount of time as a starter for the team both this past season and at the beginning of this season. Thomas has begun coming off the bench in a mid-season lineup change.

“He has great leadership and understanding of the game,” said Head Coach Mark Montgomery. “[He’s a good] coach on the floor and his defense. Also with Justin Thomas, he lives in the gym. It just seems like any day if he’s not in class, he’s in here shooting.”