Ex-NBA guard takes over Jackson College men’s basketball program


carl-thomasFormer NBA player and Eastern Michigan University assistant basketball coach Carl Thomas has been selected as the new head coach for Jackson College’s men’s basketball program.

Thomas was an assistant for six years at Eastern Michigan University and two years at Owens Community College. He assumes the coaching reins from John Willis, who resigned after being involved with the program since its revival in 2006-07.

“The opportunity to be a head coach brought me here,” Thomas said. “As an athlete, I like challenges, so the next challenge in this stage of my career is to see if I could become a head coach.”

Although this marks his first attempt as a head coach, Thomas brings great experience to the position.

Thomas and his twin brother, Charles, played for Eastern Michigan University from 1988-91 where they led EMU to two Mid-American Conference titles and a berth in the Sweet 16 in 1991.

Thomas also had a brief stint in the NBA, playing 68 games over three seasons with Cleveland, Sacramento, Golden State and Orlando. Thomas appeared in total of 63 NBA games, averaging 2.9 ppg in 8.5 minutes of playing time.

Thomas also played in the Continental Basketball Association (CBA) for Fort Wayne and Grand Rapids from 1992-99. He was called up to the NBA five times. Following his career in the NBA, Thomas played professionally overseas from 2000-03. He played for teams in France, Sweden, Greece and Italy.

Prior to taking over the head coaching position at Jackson College, Thomas served as an assistant coach for six seasons at his alma mater. He most recently served as the assistant coach for the Express men’s basketball program at Owens Community College.

“The first thing I’m going to do is make sure the young men are on track and using the resources that Jackson College has to offer academically,” Thomas said. “Secondly, I’m going to try and fill a team that the community can be proud of and come out and watch.”

Being a graduate of Lansing Everett High School, Thomas said Jackson was a great fit.

“The proximity of Jackson and having grown up in Lansing is great, and my father went to Jackson Community College,” Thomas said. “All those factors when the position became open was interesting, and I still know a lot people in Jackson.

“I just want to create a fun brand of basketball … hopefully the community comes out and sees a well-coached team that plays hard and people can get their money’s worth every night.”

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