Former Albany MVP fired from hoops team at halftime

I really want to celebrate when former hoops stars from the Capital District achieve success.  That would certainly include the way Jimmer Fredette is playing right now, no question.  And how about Jamario Moon?  This guy can say that in his professional career, he was the teammate of Dwyane Wade, Chris Bosh, LeBron James, Shaquille O’Neal and now Blake Griffin.   Oh yeah, he was also teammates with John Strickland, God rest his soul.

But today I have to talk about DeAndre Thomas.  And I don’t want to talk about this.  Because it’s not a happy situation.  It’s depressing.

2010 IBL Basketball Championship game
DeAndre Thomas in July 2010, winning the IBL Most Valuable Player award for the Albany Legends. Photo by Chuck Miller.

This is DeAndre Thomas last year.  He was a star for the Albany Legends, the International Basketball League team that played a spring-summer schedule in the Washington Avenue Armory last year.  In the championship game, Thomas had 21 points and 19 rebounds and helped the legends earn the first pro basketball championship in the Capital City since the Patroons took the CBA title in 1988.

Today, DeAndre Thomas is out of a job.

What happened?

Lots of things.

After his stint with the Legends, Thomas joined the Premier Basketball League’s Lawton-Fort Sill (Oklahoma) Cavalry, a team headed by former Patroons player / coach Micheal Ray Richardson.

Point of blog disclosure: I work with the Premier Basketball League, as a photographer and statistician.

Thomas, a 6’8″ 320-pound center from Robert Morris (IL), started off strong with the Cavs, and his best game occurred on February 4, when he scored 21 points in a 104-89 win over the Kentucky Bluegrass Stallions.  But apparently something has been brewing between Thomas and Micheal Ray Richardson.   According to Lawton Constitution sportswriter Nick Livingston, who chronicled the situation in his blog, Lawton hosted the Dayton Air Strikers Thursday night at Lawton’s Great Plains Coliseum.  Thomas, as the backup center, was having a rough night.  He scored one point, and missed three of four free throws.  On the minor league sports message board Our Sports Central, the capper may have come when, in the second quarter, Thomas was supposed to inbound the ball to teammate (and former Albany Patroons guard) Shaun Fountain.  In fact, another teammate, Eddie Smith, told Thomas to inbound the ball to Fountain.  Instead, Thomas tossed the ball at Smith’s back and slowly sauntered up the court.

That earned Thomas a yank out of the game.

And a pink slip.

Given to him at halftime.

That’s right.  Micheal Ray Richardson gave DeAndre Thomas the heave-ho in the middle of a game, and played the rest of the contest with a nine-man roster.

Now granted, the Cavs dominated Dayton for the rest of the match, winning the game and earning themselves a playoff berth.  And Micheal Ray Richardson doesn’t just rebuild – he reloads.  I mean, Coach Richardson has won three consecutive minor league championships and is on track to earn a fourth one.

Still, from league MVP and the catalyst that helped Albany win a championship, to getting released in the middle of a game nine months later…

I certainly hope DeAndre Thomas hooks back on with another team, and that he improves his playing skills to the point where he stays on solid ground.