Aki Thomas

Aki Thomas drops interim tag, gets UMBC job permanently

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Well, there’s now one team that doesn’t have to worry about who will be coaching their program next year.

After taking over just two days before practice started for the 2012-13 season, Aki Thomas led Maryland-Baltimore County to a 7-22 record and a 5-11 mark in the America East Conference as interim head coach. That was good enough for Athletic Director Dr. Charles Brown, who officially removed the interim tag and gave Thomas the full-time gig on Monday.

“I have been impressed with Coach Thomas’ basketball acumen, as well as his positive approach with our student-athletes,” Dr. Brown said in a statement on the team’s website. “He has all the tools to be an outstanding head coach.”

Both the seven overall wins and five conference wins were the most for the Retrievers since the program went 15-17 overall and 7-9 in conference during the 2008-09 season. The program made its one and only trip to the NCAA Tournament the season before in 2007-08, winning the America East Conference tournament.

Thomas had spent the past three seasons as an assistant for UMBC before being named the interim coach. He spend three previous seasons as an assistant at Howard from 2004-07.

It’s a good thing for the program to have stability. It’ll help in recruiting, fund-raising and various other aspects over the off-season, whenever that comes for UMBC.

The Retrievers, who earned the no. 6 seed in the America East tournament, will play no. 3 seed Hartford in the first round at 2 p.m. Saturday in Albany, N.Y.

Follow David Harten on Twitter at @David_Harten

VIDEO: Marquette’s Henry Ellenson shows off his versatility

Marquette's Henry Ellenson is fouled by Providence's Ben Bentil as he drives to the basket during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game Wednesday, Feb. 10, 2016, in Milwaukee. (AP Photo/Morry Gash)
(AP Photo/Morry Gash)
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I’m on record saying that I would consider Marquette freshman Henry Ellenson if I had the No. 2 pick in the NBA Draft, and while, at this point, I think that Brandon Ingram is probably going to end up going No. 2 — (Maybe No. 1???) — I still believe that Ellenson is going to be one of the best players from this draft class.

Why?

Well, just take a look at these highlights from the 26-point, 16-rebound performance he had in a win over Providence last night.

Then remember that Ellenson is 6-foot-11:

POSTERIZED: Pensacola State’s Jamal Thomas dunks through block attempt, makes coach go nuts

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A solid poster dunk went down in the junior college ranks last night as Pensacola State sophomore Jamal Thomas finished a dunk through a block attempt against Northwest Florida State.

The 6-foot-3 Thomas used his power and momentum to go through the opposing shot blocker and the play made his head coach, Pete Pena, go nuts with an over-exaggerated fist pump. The video is short, but be sure to watch for Pena’s reaction near the logo at the top right of the screen.