It wasn’t that long ago that Isaiah Thomas attended his first summer basketball camp.
He was a fifth-grader in 2000, and joined a few friends at a camp run by former NBA forward Detlef Schrempf in Seattle.
“That was big-time for me,” Thomas said. “It was cool to be so close to NBA players.”
The only thing that has changed today is that the 23-year-old Thomas, once a Curtis High and University of Washington star, is a “bigger kid” now putting on summer camps.
Thomas is not resting much after finishing his first NBA season with the Sacramento Kings – one in which he started 37 games as a rookie point guard, and averaged 11.5 points and 4.1 assists a game.
He is associated with a group of local NBA players – which includes Seattle’s Jamal Crawford, Nate Robinson and Terrence Williams, and former Sonics star Gary Payton – who are part of the Elite Sports Camps circuit.
Thomas’ camp is called the “Isaiah Thomas Elite Skills Academy,” and will be held at the Henry T. Schatz Boys & Girls Club starting Monday in South Tacoma.
“I have the opportunity a lot of people don’t have to give back,” Thomas said. “And this was something I wanted to do. David Hudson (former UW player) is a great (camp) organizer ... so, why not?”
The surprise in this is that Thomas has chosen to co-direct summer camps so early in his NBA career. Nobody would have blamed him for taking some much-needed time off after participating in 65 of the Kings’ 66-game schedule – easily the most games he has played during a season.
But Thomas volunteered to do the camps immediately. It started June 11 with a big-man, little-man camp in Honolulu, and has continued on to Longview (June 18-20), Issaquah (Saturday-Sunday), Tacoma (Monday-Thursday), Rocklin, Calif. (Aug. 6-9) and finishing in Liberty Lake (Aug. 20-22).
Thomas said he uses the same high-energy, mega-involvement model Robinson utilizes for his camps.
“He is real active ... and when it comes to putting on camps, he is the best I have seen,” Thomas said of his former fellow Husky. “Some of the NBA guys who put them on, they are not really there. Me, I plan on getting a workout in.”
Thomas said he wants to host a camp in Tacoma every year, so that basketball players in Pierce County do not have to travel up to Seattle for them.
“It is definitely a busy summer for me,” Thomas said. “But at the same time, it is just basketball.”email@example.com 253-597-8442 blogs.thenewstribune.com/uwsports @ManyHatsMilles