Jahad Thomas was the first player to commit to UMass Lowell under head coach Pat Duquette and his presence was felt for the first time this past season.
The 6’2” redshirt freshman, fresh off an ACL tear in workouts in 2013, led the team this past season in scoring (14.3 ppg) and rebounding (6.5 rpg) in 22 games. However a tear to the ACL in his other leg sidelined him for the final month of the season, but Duquette said he has seen Thomas attack his rehab constantly.
“He attacks his rehab as hard as he does every other part of his game,” Duquette said of Thomas who earned All-Rookie team and third team honors in March. “I mean you have to tell Jahad to slow down and not over rehab, that’s the danger with him, he’s extremely competitive.”
“Everybody sees how hard he plays, he’s just as committed to his rehab as well and he’s on track. We’re hoping that by the start of official practice at the end of September that he can start to work his way in.”
Thomas will be one of at least nine players who are either sophomores or freshmen on the team next season. He was the catalyst last season that helped the River Hawks win six games in a row in the months of November and December, averaging 15.3 ppg over that span.
Rehabilitation from his ACL injury is expected to be a six to eight month process, which would put him close to in line to when official practices start for the 2015-16 season. If all goes well, the America East’s third leading scorer from last season should be ready for their season opener at Northwestern.
“He’s right where he needs to be,” Duquette said.
Ryan Restivo will write the America East conference preview for the 2015-16 Blue Ribbon College Basketball Yearbook. He covers the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference, the America East conference among others for Big Apple Buckets. You can follow Ryan on Twitter @ryanarestivo or contact Ryan at rrestivo[at]nycbuckets.com.