Thomas Excited to Play for Hometown Team
Jasmine Thomas still remembers the day she became a Mystics fan. She was 13 and her AAU team had just won the national championship. Upon returning home to the D.C. area, the victors were invited to a Mystics game and recognized at half court.
"Ever since then I’ve followed them and wanted to play for the Mystics," said Thomas.
Last Friday night, her dream became a reality as the Mystics acquired the rookie point guard from the Seattle Storm, in a three-team deal that also included the Indiana Fever.
It was a move almost three weeks in the making, with both the Mystics and Storm beginning trade discussions and scenarios as soon as the Storm selected Thomas from Duke University. The talks continued for a few weeks with the final pieces finally being put in place towards the end of last week.
"I was excited," said Thomas. "I had heard there was a chance but I didn’t really know whether it was going to go through or not. When it finally did, I talked to my parents and friends and I was just so excited."
The excitement wasn't just on Thomas' side. General Manager and Head Coach Trudi Lacey was enthusiastic about the addition of Thomas and even heard from someone who knows Thomas about the player the Mystics were getting.
"I think this story says it all; Over the weekend I spoke with the University of North Carolina's head coach, Sylvia Hatchell, Duke’s archrival. She said ‘We are getting the most competitive player that she’s ever played against. She’s a flat out winner.’ That was music to my ears," said Lacey.
While Thomas' competitiveness is a key component of her game, her style of play is also a big part of the reason why the Mystics pursued her.
"One of the reasons we were interested in her was her speed and her quickness and her ability to get up and pressure the ball is a benefit to us. Her ability to create her shot off the dribble. She is one of the best mid-range shooters in the game today. She can push the ball offensively. So she has the skill set that fits in very nicely with what we want to do," said Lacey.
To be sure, Thomas' style will fit in with the up-tempo play of the Mystics. However she might even find an even smoother transition off the court, considering the Mystics' roster is loaded with Duke graduates.
"Growing up I always wanted to go to Duke and I remember watching Alana (Beard) and Mo (Currie) play there. I never really thought about having the chance to play with them and if I ever did I would definitely soak up as much information as I could from them. It will be fun to play with them and then with Karima (Christmas) after playing four years together to have the opportunity to continue our careers together is pretty cool."
Thomas' return will be temporarily delayed while she finishes up school, forcing the guard to miss the first day of training camp. However, Thomas is working hard down in Durham, NC and ready to fulfill her dream of playing for the Mystics.
"I’m just as nervous as any rookie. I’m excited for the opportunity and I don’t know what to expect for training camp. All I know is I’m going to try to come into camp in the best shape I ca be in and we’ll see how it turns out," said Thomas.
With a situation that sets up perfectly both on the court and off the court, it looks like things will turn out just fine for Thomas and the Mystics.