By Laura Amato
This summer hasn’t been much of a vacation for Brandy Thomas.
The Christ the King basketball star has barely had a moment to herself the last few months, but she’s more than content with giving up some of her free time.
After all, when college coaches are coming out in droves to see Thomas and her AAU teammates play basketball, it’s difficult to be too upset.
“The summer’s been great. It’s my last summer of AAU,” said Thomas, who competed for the New Heights 17U squad this summer. “It was long, but I just really wanted to work hard and we got the ‘chip at our last tournament. I wanted to outwork everyone else, honestly. We got way better.”
Thomas had a strong junior season with Christ the King last winter, leading the Royals to the BQCHSAA championship, but the guard still knew there was plenty of work to do.
And she wasn’t willing to take any time off.
“This is the summer for improving your skills and just getting great at what other people might be looking at,” Thomas said.
“The college coaches know what you can do now, so it’s about the effort you put in,” she added. “You’ve got to be diving on the floor for the play, never letting up on defense. They want to see that now because they know what you can do.”
Thomas has worked on improving her offensive game, looking to be the spark that makes New Heights — and eventually Christ the King — go.
“I think I worked on my ball handling a lot more,” she said. “My shooting, a little, but it’s really been about my ball handling and getting more comfortable dribbling and being in the backcourt.”
Thomas — who has interest from a handful of schools, including LIU Brooklyn — has spent the last few months working with New Heights to fine-tune her game. But most importantly, she’s squared off against some of the toughest competition in the country.
It wasn’t always easy, but good competition never is, and Thomas appreciated every challenge she faced this summer. She knew it was the only way to get better.
“I loved it,” Thomas said. “It’s great to find new talent and play against the best. You just want to compete and I’ve been able to do that here.”
Thomas wrapped up her AAU career late last month with one final victory at the House of Sports event in Ardsley. While she was disappointed that it was over, the Royals’ rising senior knows she’s done her best to improve this summer.
Now, she’s set to continue fine-tuning her offensive game before returning to Christ the King for her last year of high school ball. And she’s got one very specific goal in mind: winning.
“I want to get a state federation ‘chip before I leave,” Thomas said. “That’s the only thing I want to do. I want to leave a legacy at Christ the King.”