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Thomas brothers are teammates again at Hawai’i

A little more than a decade ago, Mike Thomas was a 6th grader who wanted to be a point guard. His younger brother Brandon was a 3rd grader who had already developed a knack for shooting a basketball.

That was the last time the siblings played together on the same team … until now.

The Thomas brothers will be reunited for this season as teammates on the University of Hawai’i basketball team. Mike is a 6-foot-7 senior forward who is in his fifth, and final, season with the Warriors. Brandon is a 6-2 sophomore shooting guard who was recruited to the program prior to this season.

“I wasn’t part of his recruiting process,” Mike said of his brother’s decision to sign with UH. “I gave him some insight and my opinion, but at the end of the day, it was his choice. But it’s great to have him here now.”

Interestingly enough, Brandon never visited Mike in Hawai’i during the previous four years, mostly because Brandon had his own school and basketball activities to attend.

“When I came here for summer school, that’s the first time I ever stepped on campus,” Brandon said. “But I realize he’s been here for four years and he didn’t really have anything bad to say about being here. He loved the coaches and all the players. It seemed like a family-oriented place.”

The decision by Brandon to attend UH ended 10 consecutive basketball seasons on separate teams for the Thomas brothers. Although they both were raised in the same house in Woodland Hills, Calif., by parents John and Karen Thomas, the brothers attended different high schools and played for different AAU teams as teenagers.

“Just chose different paths,” Mike said. “He chose one middle school, I went to another. Down the line (in high school), it was kind of like rival schools, to be honest.”

When Mike was a senior at El Camino Real High School, Brandon was a freshman at Taft High School. Mike’s El Camino Real team beat Brandon’s Taft team twice that season.

“Ever since we stopped going to the same school, I say it’s always been competitive,” Mike said. “He’s trying to be better than me, taller than me.”

Now, they are teammates and housemates again. They share an off-campus residence, but are quick to note that they don’t always do the same things or hang out with the same people.

“We’re still individuals; we’re not tagging along everywhere,” Mike said. “I’m almost four years older, so it’s a little different. But it’s definitely great to have him around.”

As for the upcoming season, Mike is expected to play an integral role. He is one of two seniors on the roster, and the only remaining starter from the 2015-16 team that won the Big West Conference championship and advanced to the second round of the NCAA Tournament.

“He can do a lot,” Brandon said of his brother’s basketball skills. “He can shoot well. He’s an anchor on defense. He can rebound, block shots. He can do everything, really.”

Brandon is currently in the mix for playing time at the shooting guard position. “Brandon’s a super-skilled offensive player,” is how Mike described his younger brother. “I think he has the willingness to defend, and that’s the first step to being a great defender … but offensively, his game is very polished.”

7 Comments

  1. Stoked for new season. Can’t wait to see the Thomas brothers play together. Thanks for the coverage, Dayton!

  2. Yes, thanks for the coverage.
    ——————————-
    UNC gets completely off the hook by the NCAA.This is a farce. Something about not only athletes took the sham courses.

  3. Yup, thanks for the videos the past few days, Dayton.

    Re: Attorneys for UNC (reportedly paid more than $18 million in legal fees) likely made the argument about the courses being open to all students, but as one report stated:

    “More than 3,100 students were affected between 1993 and 2011, with athletes across several sports, including members of the football and men’s basketball teams, accounting for half the enrollment.”

  4. Mike is the epitome of a student-athlete and a great representative of the university. Hoping he has a dynamic senior season, and wishing Brandon can achieve as much as his older bro in the next three years.

    John and Karen Thomas did a fantastic job raising their sons.

  5. ” … as UNC maintained the courses were legitimate — though easy — and benefitted non-athlete students, too. ” (abc news)

    So other schools should offer these type of “easy” classes and not get penalized by the NCAA as long as the school says they do not violate their academic policies.

    ” The panel concluded that while student-athletes and athletics programs may have benefitted from utilizing the courses, the general student body also benefitted.
    Based on both the information available in the record and North Carolina’s support of the courses that were offered as not violating its policies, the panel could not conclude that the university failed to monitor or lacked control over its athletics program.” (ncaa.org)

  6. A 20 pt game or two by Brandon and we’ll see the Thomas bros starting together before long. I’m all for it !

  7. Happy that Mike decided to stay at UH after the mass exodus last year and even smarter to redshirt and have the opportunity to stick around to play a season with his little bro.

    Mike was improving so much towards the end of the 15-16 season, especially in the NCAA tourney against Maryland that it made me an even bigger fan of his and excited to see what he can do now that he’s more experienced and healthy. For little bro Brandon, looks a little lean but I’m sure he’ll pack on some muscle like Mike did and excited to see his offensive skills too.

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