Torey Thomas is a 31 year old 178cm point guard from White Plains, New York that is playing his 10th professional season and first AEK in Cyprus after starting the season with KK MZT Skopje Aerodrom (FYR Macedonia-Prva Liga). He started his basketball career at Holy Cross (NCAA) in 2003 where he played until 2007 playing a total of 125 NCAA games. As a senior he played 34 games averaging 13.7ppg, 4.7rpg, 4.7apg, 2.8spg, FGP: 37.5%, 3Pts: 40.3%, FT: 77.1%. Last season he played for Aris Thessaloniki (Greece-A1) playing 31 games averaging 10.2ppg, 3.9rpg, 3.4apg, Steals-1(1.8spg), FGP: 47.0%, 3PT: 34.5%, FT: 75.4%,He is a basketball globetrotter as he has played in 13 countries since turning professional in 2007 and AEK is his 19th professional team that he has laced up his sneakers for. He is still looking for his first professional title, but has demonstrated his basketball craft on both sides of the court as he was top assist man in Holland, scorer in Sweden and steals in Sweden, Holland, Russia, and Greece. He is a a true °pass-first” point guard, but that can lead a game in scoring on any night. Unselfish player. Makes everyone else better and on the defensive side an absolute lockdown defender that is a great on the ball defender. Like Quantez Robertson can fill up the stats sheet. Last season he helped Rosa Radom (Poland-TBL) win the Polish cup playing 43 games averaging 12.0ppg, 5.3rpg, Assists-5(4.5apg), Steals-4(2.1spg), FGP: 40.6%, 3PT: 31.0%, FT: 80.8%; FIBA Europe Cup: 12 games: 11.3ppg, 4.2rpg, 4.3apg, 1.7spg, FGP: 54.8%, 3PT: 36.2%, FT: 78.9%. He spoke to German Hoops after his release from KK MZT Skopje and got an interview that was to help him search for a new team, but half way through the interview he was signed by AEK. The Interview was done in accordance to the questions he was presented with. There was speculation that the Fraport Skyliners might be looking for a new point guard so some questions were dealing with the German team´s situation.
Torey thanks for talking to German Hoops. Where are you at the moment and how have you digested the release at KK MZT Skopje Aerodrom (FYR Macedonia-Prva Liga)?
Thanks for having me Miles. I am in Dubai at the moment enjoying a few days to myself.
You played three games this season with KK MZT Skopje Aerodrom (FYR Macedonia-Prva Liga) averaging 3,3ppg, 4,3rpg and 4,0apg in 22 minutes. You stated it was a mutual agreement. Why from your point view was your stay so short?
It was mutual there was pressure from the beginning on the coach and we didn’t make the results the first three games so they needed to make a change. I am happy I won a Supercup with them.
You didn´t have the stats that one would normally expect from you. You did your job as a distributor quite well, but didn´t score as much. Was scoring not awaited from you as much or were they missing your scoring?
I try to do whatever it takes to win. We have scorers on this team and I did my best to facilitate the game. Maybe they were missing my scoring.
KK MZT Skopje Aerodrom (FYR Macedonia-Prva Liga) started 0-3. Did you feel like you were made responsible of the bad start?
I wasn’t made solely responsible but a lot was on my shoulders. We do have to understand it was a totally new team and we played against Red Star, Partizan, and Cedevita the first 3 games. All tough games on any teams schedule.
You have had situations in the past where you left teams during the season and found other ones. So you have learned from mistakes as well as had many experiences dealing with clubs and management. What do you feel did you learn again as a player this time around from your short experience in Macedonia?
I learned so many things as a player but more importantly as a person. I know my character is strong. I take responsibility for what happens on the court. I don’t make excuses and I am all about winning. What I learned from this experience with MZT is you can win a title one week and the next week can be searching for a new job. It’s all part of the business. I will take the Supercup and MVP happily.
What is the next step for Torey Thomas? Will you hang around Europe and hope to be signed quickly or will you go back to New York to work out and wait for the next job?
The next step is for me to compete in the FIBA Europe Cup and the Cypriot League with AEK Larnaca.
You have played in 12 countries and you still seem to enjoy moving around at age 31. What do you believe has been the biggest asset that you have picked up with all this experience that has helped your game most?
I believe the biggest asset is my experience. I have been in almost every situation and I am able to still play at a high level. It’s all about taking in all my experiences and keep myself level headed. Not getting too low or high but being stoic in my approach to things.
You had success in Holland and in 2011 with Turum, but was last season your best as a professional with winning the Polish cup and reaching the final with a team that wasn´t expected to do that much in the league?
This was an amazing season I have been to the finals 2 times in my career. Both times we fell short but the journey was amazing. Last year no one expected that we would make it that far.
One team where you might be able to help right away is the Fraport Skyliners. What memories do you have of the two Fiba Europe Cup loses last season against them?
The Skyliners have always been a top notch program in Germany. I remember them from last season they played as a complete team and had weapons at every position.
Where do you rate a guy like Jordan Theodore in the all-time toughest point guards that you had to face?
Jordan Theodore is one of the toughest guards I have faced. He has an all around game and competes every play.
How excited would you be to be able to have a fellow top defender like Quantez Robertson by your side? Could you become the defensive dynamic duo?
I would be very excited to join forces with a defender like Quantez. Not only is he a ball hawk he’s excellent on help side. If we were ever to team up that would be a great defensive combo.
The Fraport Skyliners are a very young team and could use an experienced floor general like you. How beneficial would your experience be for this club?
I would be beneficial in that club because I would bring experience and leadership.
What do you tell sceptics when they say Torey Thomas has bounced around too much during seasons? One thing that nobody can knock you about is your consistency as a player as you have belonged to the top point guards in the leagues and top defenderswherever you have played
I would say bouncing around is not always the players fault. There are many circumstances that lead to a player moving around. Basketball is a business. I can say that I have always been consistently a hard worker and fully committed to every team I have played on. I have been one of the top point guards in almost every league I played in. It’s been many obstacles but I am very thankful for the process.
If you could state in a few sentences as to why you could help any team in the world now how would you describe those words?
Leadership, character, hard worker, defensive minded and willing to sacrifice my stats to help the team win.
You didn´t have any luck coaxing your friend Keith Simmons back to Europe? Did he retire for good?
I believe Keith is retired now enjoying a nice life as a personal trainer and professional traveler.
If you had to construct your very own NBA Rushmore, which 4 heads would you take?
Michael Jordan, Bill Russell, Isiah Thomas, Magic Johnson
Kevin Garnett has retired. Where does his legacy stand in comparison with the all-time greats that ever played the game?
Kevin Garnett was a special player who is in the all-time great discussion because of his longevity in the NBA at superstar level.
What was the last movie that you saw?
Life starring Martin Lawrence & Eddie Murphy.
Thanks Torey for the chat.