NBA legend, Tim Thomas was fearless on the basketball court during his NBA career.
The 15-year NBA vet and former three-time McDonald’s All-American by way of Paterson Catholic will take his talents to the high school ranks in a new role.
Thomas was named Director of Basketball Operations at Pioneer Academy in Wayne, New Jersey, a town that is a hop, skip and jump from his hometown of Paterson, New Jersey. “This is an absolute blessing,” Thomas told me via text message.
According to NJ.com, Pioneer Academy plans to put together three boys and girls high school basketball teams at the prep, national and statewide levels – in addition to boys and girls teams at the middle school and elementary school levels.
In addition to coaching, Thomas will be on the school’s board and is a perfect advocate having had success in the high school ranks and in his community. From 1997-2019, Thomas’ Playaz Basketball Club was one of the nation’s elite travel basketball programs that sent thousands of kids to college.
The Playaz featured stars like the late Kobe Bryant, Eddie Griffin, Vince Carter, Victor Cruz, Gerald Henderson, Earl Clark, Brevin Knight, DaJuan Wagner, Dahntay Jones, Kenneth Faried and J.R. Smith.
Additionally, Thomas’ Nike Sponsored New Jersey Sparks girls AAU basketball club recently celebrated 20 years of existence.
In December, Thomas hosted a high school holiday tournament at East Orange, New Jersey’s Campus High School with high schools like Snyder High School Frankford High School, Pioneer Prep, Norman Thomas, Seward Park, Eastern, Paterson Eastside, Friendship Collegiate, Vision Academy, Olympus Prep Post, Sainte Foy, East Orange Campus and Trenton Central all participating. “In the future we gotta get more of our Jersey pro guys to come back around,” Thomas told the Scoop B Radio Podcast.
The seventh pick in the 1997 NBA Draft, Thomas played for the Philadelphia 76ers, Milwaukee Bucks, Chicago Bulls, New York Knicks, Phoenix Suns, Dallas Mavericks and Los Angeles Clippers.
During his one season as a Villanova Wildcat, Thomas averaged 16.9 points and hauled in 6 rebounds in 32 games.
He’s excited for the next chapter in life. “This is an opportunity that I’ve always dreamed of having,” Thomas tells me.
“I’ve always wanted to be part of an academy to help kids achieve their goals, whether that is in academics or in sports.”
For those keeping score at home: Pioneer Academy is the top-rated private school in Passaic County, New Jersey. NJ.com’s Richard Greco notes that the school boasts the county’s highest SAT performance rate among private and public schools.
Additionally, the school has a 100-percent college acceptance rate with 82-percent of students going to top 100 universities. The school features 74-percent of faculty with a Master’s or PHD degree. The small and selective school features 343 students from pre-K through 12th grade, providing students with plenty of one-on-one attention.