Athens, GA– Cedar Shoals High School’s basketball team is doing a lot of celebrating after its win over rival Clarke Central High School. But some of the players say the one who really deserves the celebration is their coach, L’Dreco Thomas.
He’s been the head coach for almost five seasons now. And he’s been able to teach some of these students more than just basketball.
Keyuntay Caldwell has four games left in his senior season for the Jaguars. The Cedar Shoals basketball player says he’ll miss playing for his school. But most of all, he’ll miss his coach.
“He’s like a father figure to me,” Caldwell said. “We just, every time we come to practice, we try to get better, and he gives us good material to make us win, and he gives us good material to make us win.”
Thomas started coaching Cedar Shoals’ basketball team in 2010. Thomas, who is also a graduate of Cedar Shoals, said coaching may not be for everyone. But for him, it’s a way to give back to the community.
“There was a lot of coaches in my life, in my upbringing, that really helped me and helped mold me into who I am,” he said. “And I’d just like to give back.”
Sometimes that means talking to players one-on-one about their future after high school.
“Whatever goal they want, they seek, I try to seek,” Thomas said. “I try to get them to seek a higher level of education, some kind of higher learning. But if they want to play basketball or whatever, then they really have to put the time in in the gym. I think the kids are hungry and with hard work, we can get to that.”
And it’s that hunger that makes Thomas want to help them reach every goal.
Thomas and his team will play Salem High School at home on Tuesday night at 7:30 p.m.