Toronto Raptors Rookie Matt Thomas’ Path to the NBA Is 1 to Remember
Matt Thomas is enjoying his first NBA season with the reigning NBA champions, Toronto Raptors. The 26-year-old has put in the work to make it to the league.
His journey to the NBA stands out from other players as he went through a lot growing up.
Matt Thomas suffered a tragic tragedy when he was a kid
Thomas is a native of Decatur, Illinois, and when he was 11, his father died by suicide. His father dealt with alcoholism, and Thomas had to experience that at a young age. When his father passed away, he developed a close relationship with his mother. Even though Thomas went through a lot growing up, he excelled in sports. His mother was a standout athlete in high school, and Thomas followed in her footsteps.
In high school, Thomas was one of the top basketball players in Wisconsin. During his junior year, he was named first-team all-state by the Associated Press in 2012. That year he averaged 21.3 points, 5.3 rebounds, 2.5 assists, and 2.1 steals and led his team to the Division 2 state championship. After winning the state championship in his junior year, he had an impressive senior year averaging 28.3 points and 9.7 rebounds.
Thomas was one of the best shooters in his class, and ESPN had him ranked as the No. 51 player in the country. He chose to play his college basketball at Iowa State University.
Matt Thomas’ college career and playing overseas
Thomas spent four years at Iowa State and made an impact on the team. During his freshman year, he became the 20th Iowa State freshman to start a season opener. He started in the first 15 games of the season and then took a role coming off the bench. Through 36 games, he averaged 5.5 points per game.
He found himself back in the starting lineup during his junior year and averaged 11 points per game. His senior year was his best season at Iowa State, where he started in all 35 games and averaged 12.3 points per game. Thomas was known for his shooting ability while he was in college. After his college career, he began his professional career in Spain. From 2017-2019 he played overseas and was a EuroCup champion in 2019.
Matt Thomas making his NBA debut with the Toronto Raptors
In July of 2019, Thomas signed with the Raptors. He made his NBA debut in October of 2019 in a game against the Chicago Bulls. Thomas scored six points and had three rebounds. He developed into a key role player for the Raptors as the 2019-20 season went on. On February 8, he scored a career-high 15 points in a win over the Brooklyn Nets.
On August 10, he scored 22 points, which was a new career-high in a win over the Milwaukee Bucks. Thomas hit four 3-pointers during that game. The Raptors see Thomas as a player that can play key minutes coming off the bench, and he is someone who can knock down the three. Through everything he went through growing up, Thomas overcame adversity and is now playing in the NBA for one of the league’s top teams.