Thomas’ passion instrumental in teaching hoop fundamentals to kids

MILFORD – When he’s not working, Cape Henlopen High graduate Jordan Thomas can be found on a basketball court somewhere across southern Delaware.

In addition to coaching two separate basketball teams – the Sussex Academy boys’ middle school squad and the Delaware Phenoms AAU travel team – Thomas offers weekly training sessions at the Greater Milford Boys and Girls Club.

Every Friday night for nearly two months, the T.H.O.M.A.S. Basketball Training program has been in session from 5:45-7 p.m. in Milford.

“Coaching is just a passion of mine, and one day I’d like to be able to make this a full-time job and train kids year-round,” he said.

Jordan Thomas poses with one of his training groups after a Friday night session (Special to The Chronicle).

With the help of his cousin Rudy Thomas, the weekly sessions have been used to assist kids with the fundamentals and conditioning of basketball.

“What we do is we try to teach the fundamentals of the game, teach the kids how to do the triple-threat and all the fundamentals you need to learn to play the game,” he said of the program’s primary objective.

“We try to condition the kids as well, so that way if they do go out and play school ball they’ll already be in shape for the school season,” he added. “So, we mainly just focus on all the fundamentals and conditioning.”

So far, the k-12 program has averaged about 12 kids a week, but he hopes to see the program continue to grow and make a long-term impact on the youth basketball community.

“I would like for this program to be long-term,” Thomas said. “Eventually, I would like for this to be a 2-3 day a week thing, but for right now I only have the gym for one day.”

Thomas has used flyers, social media and word of mouth to get the information out about his program, which has a cost of just $10 per session.

“The turnout has been pretty good so far, I’ve had an average of about 12 kids a week,” he said. “I charge $10 a kid, or you can do $30 a month if you know your child will be there every Friday, so you can save yourself $10.”

Upon graduation from Cape Henlopen High in 2004, where he played basketball for the Vikings all four years, Jordan headed up north to Goldey-Beacom College in Wilmington.

His original plan was to try and walk-on with the basketball program.

“I went to Goldey-Beacom, and I was going to try to be a walk-on but I never tried out because me and the coach didn’t get along, so I didn’t waste my time trying out,” he said. “So, after high school, that was the end of my playing career.”

Looking back on it, Thomas regrets not trying out for the team and hopes to use it as a teachable moment for the kids he coaches.

“I do regret not trying out,” he said. “I really do wish I tried out and played college ball.”

The Delaware Phenoms celebrate a championship win in Virginia last August (Special to The Chronicle).

With his passion for basketball still strong, Mr. Thomas turned to coaching two years after his high school graduation.

He started out at Delmarva Christian, where he was the varsity assistant coach for two years. From there, he went back to his alma mater, Cape Henlopen, and served as the boys’ freshman head coach for a year and the boys’ J.V. assistant for two years.

After his tenure with Cape wrapped up, he didn’t coach school ball again until he landed the boys’ middle school job at Sussex Academy this season.

The Delaware Phenoms, the AAU travel team he started himself, will be entering its third season of existence this April.

“What I did is I got two of my cousins who I played with at Cape – Ray Jackson and Kevin Brittingham, they’re my two assistants – and I got kids from around the area who wanted to play on a travel team,” Thomas said of the formation of the Phenoms. “I knew my sons wanted to play travel ball – I didn’t get to play travel ball until high school – so I wanted my sons to be able to start earlier than I did. So, once I called some people up and they said their kids were interested, I just put everything together.”

In the team’s first season, the Phenoms finished 1-19. Last year, however, the Phenoms turned things around and won 12 games. This year he’s expecting even bigger things from the 11 and under squad.

No matter how busy his coaching schedule gets, Thomas makes sure to keep the 75-minute window open every Friday night to teach the fundamentals to any kid who can make their way out to the Boys & Girls Club in Milford.

“I just love teaching it. I can’t play anymore because I have two torn achilles, so I wanted to give my knowledge to the kids,” Thomas said. “My sons love playing, I love it, so I thought why not help not just my kids but any kids who love the game.”

For anyone interested in additional information regarding the T.H.O.M.A.S. Basketball Training sessions, you may contact Jordan Thomas at 302-727-2008 or via email at jor07dan09@gmail.com.

Sports Editor Ben Heck can be reached at bheck@newszap.com.

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