When the prestigious Indiana Mr. Basketball title is the most recent part of a lengthy résumé, there couldnt have been much suspense for Bishop Luers senior Deshaun Thomas before Monday nights announcement of the Tiffany Gooden Award.
The award, presented to Thomas at the annual banquet sponsored by The Journal Gazette that recognizes the boys and girls All-SAC teams as well as the All-Northeast Indiana teams, was the third straight for the 6-foot-7 senior who will play at Ohio State next season.
Although there have been two separate back-to-back winners of the award, named on behalf of Gooden, the 1994 recipient and Parade Magazine Player of the Year, Thomas is the first in the 17-year history to claim three consecutive honors.
Its a great compliment, winning it three times in a row, said Thomas, who averaged 31.8 points and 15.3 rebounds this season. It feels good and lets you know that all the work I had done paid off, and Ive grown for the past four years over at Luers.
With 3,018 career points, Thomas is the third-leading scorer in the history of Indiana high school boys basketball.
Its a sad moment, Thomas said of his high school career coming to an end. (Bishop Luers) treated me like family and I had much support, but youve got to move on. Ill miss them, and Ill always come back to my roots of Fort Wayne.
In addition to Thomas winning the Gooden Award, Concordia girls coach Dave Miller and Elmhurst boys coach Shabaz Khaliq were named as the SAC Coaches of the Year.
Miller led Concordia to a 24-3 record and to the Class 3A state championship, and Khaliq guided Elmhurst to an 18-6 record and to the Class 3A semistate.
In the 20 years Ive coached varsity, its one of the best teams Ive had as far as not having to get on them to come out each day at practice and work hard, Miller said.
They were very businesslike in their approach, and it was a lot of fun for us coaches because they brought that attitude every day.
While Miller is expected to return to the Cadets next season, Khaliq is in the unique situation of an All-SAC coach who will not return to his team.
Because of budget constraints by Fort Wayne Community Schools, this will be the final year of Elmhurst.
Its discouraging a little bit, Khaliq said.
I liked where I was at, and its a great place to be. When you work for great people it makes your job a whole lot easier, and I had the benefit of working for a tremendous group of people over there at Elmhurst. We didnt have that much time together. It was only my second year over there.
Two Elmhurst players named to both girls all-star teams Monday announced they will go their separate ways next season.
Center Liza Clemons will play at Snider next season, and guard Lacia Gorman will attend Wayne.
Mondays banquet, held at the Marriott Hotel, was also sponsored by SportOne Ortho Northeast and U.S. Cellular.