A tough warrior, someone who isn’t afraid to sacrifice her body for the sport, a person that’s been described by coach AnnMarie Gilbert as a “blue-collar baller.”
If this is what you’re looking for, let me suggest two-year member of the Eastern Michigan University women’s basketball team Kristin Thomas.
The six-foot forward from Winter Park, Florida is in her senior season with the Eagles.
Her love for basketball developed in response to the intensity and excitement that comes along with playing. Thomas didn’t start out at EMU; instead she attended the University of Central Florida, and then transferred to Hillsborough Community College for her sophomore year.
When deciding on where she was going to complete her college education, EMU stood out to Thomas for a couple of reasons.
“I saw more opportunity here, which Coach Gilbert helped me see.” Thomas said. “I felt as though they had a lot to offer me and would take care of me.”
In her first season with Eagles, Thomas wasted no time getting to work and making herself a leader. She led the team in offensive and defensive rebounds with 84 and 124 respectively and also landed second place on the team in blocks with 33 on the season.
Thomas was also ranked seventh in the Mid-American Conference (MAC) for her 6.7 rebounds per game that season.
“She is a hard worker and has her priorities straight,” Teammate De’Ja Wills said. “She also works very hard on the court; she’s a go-getter.”
Since her debut season with the Eagles, Thomas’ improvements have come in her balance and ability to finish, which results from her increased physical strength.
So far this season, Thomas has continued the standard she set for herself. She leads the team in blocks with a season total of 30 and her 5.8 rebounds per game still tops this Eagles squad.
Thomas is also fourth on the team in steals, aquiring total of 30 this season.
“Her efforts are invaluable to this team,” Gilbert said.
But, there are some other qualities that Thomas provides this team that helps them grow, like her heart and maturity.
Contrary to her strong, dominant physical appearance Thomas “is a very caring person,” Gilbert said. “She cares about her teammates and she cares about this team’s success.”
Not only does she care, but she posses the maturity to lead this team to higher goals.
“She is the most mature one on this team,” Wills said. “When one of us gets out of line she gets everyone back in their place.”
Despite her ‘body of an old woman,’ as Wills puts it, Thomas likes to spend her free-time putting her hidden talent to work.
What is that talent? Dancing. Yes, she may have the knees of an 80-year old, but when she steps on the dance floor, you wouldn’t be able to tell.
Needless to say, one of her favorite games on the Wii is “Just Dance,” and she seems to be pretty good at it. “She is the queen of ‘Just Dance!’” Gilbert said.
Thomas is currently at EMU in pursuit of a bachelor’s in communications. Upon graduation, her plan is to attend graduate school in Florida where she hopes to earn her master’s in exercise physiology. Her long-term plan is to become a collegiate strength and conditioning coach.