By Joshua Pierre / Contributor to The Full360
As his high school career ended in 2021, Richard Thomas was faced with the tough decision about where he would be playing basketball as a student athlete for the next four years.
He attended St. Joseph’s Prep, an all-boys school in Philadelphia that had an exceptional athletic program. Although this was a great high school to attend, it was in one of the worst neighborhoods in Philadelphia. The odds were stacked against him; since he did not play much of a basketball season due to the pandemic. This put his last year of live period AAU basketball on hold, too. This was a time when most high school basketball players received their offers from colleges.
Thomas had a lot on his plate coming into college, looking to play right away as a first-year student.
Thomas was asked what keeps him going with all that he carries on a day to day, he said, “What keeps me going is my family, making them proud doing everything that they taught and more. My family, my brother, and my cousins just making them happy
Despite not having much of a senior season Thomas played well. He had a particularly good relationship with the assistant coach who got him an invite to an open gym with Delaware Valley University. He played well, and he decided to take a visit and meet with head coach Muhamadou Kaba. Immediately, he made the decision to come to DelVal.
Kaba said the one thing that stood out the most with Thomas was his maturity and how aware he was of the things that were happening around him. St. Joe’s Prep is famous for their football team, always producing Division I talent each year. Thomas has a few close friends that play at high level Division I schools such as Ohio State and Duke. This made it clear that he was no stranger to hard work because of his peers.
Thomas touched on the importance of relationships saying, “Building relationships is important to me because without them you can’t achieve anything in life, you’re always going to need somebody to help you regardless of what it is, it could be the smallest thing. Having relationships with genuine people who have your best interests is very important.”
When asked about the impact basketball has on his life, he said, “I made friends and was able to network with different coaches that influenced me. It helped me see life not as just chilling and sitting around, but working for something and having a goal. I carry that with me every day.”