Ask any of the player development people, the coaches, the people around Tyrus Thomas and it was never about the physical stuff. In a league filled with athletes he is one of the elite ones.
It was about wanting it, being aggressive. Playing through the contact. It was a focus issue. His teammates in Charlotte were frank in saying as much to the Observer.
“I think he’s still a little immature,” small forward Gerald Wallace said. “But at the same time, when he focuses on playing the game the right way, and not worrying about the referees or worrying about getting fouled or getting hit, he’s amazing.”
Added shooting guard Stephen Jackson, “All he has to do is keep his mind in the game, and you’ll see a lot of good this season.”
Bobcats coach Larry Brown could be the one guy who could make that happen. Brown is still a teacher at heart, and a guy who has seen everything. Twice. He has forged a real bond with Brown, saying this is the best relationship he has ever had with a coach.
Brown is not soft, but he listens and cares. He talked to Thomas about things other than basketball, about family and issues that really matter.
“When you’ve got a guy who cares about you as a person, it makes it easier to take” the critiques, Thomas described. “So when he curses me out, or he’s fussing at me or just riding me the whole practice, I know it’s for a reason.
“And maybe sometimes it’s not for a reason, but that’s just how L.B. is. After (the harangue) he’ll come give you a hug and tell you exactly how to get better.”
There is a Chinese proverb that when the student is ready, the teacher will come. Maybe Brown is the guy that can get Thomas to really bring his incredible talent nightly. Maybe that is more because of Thomas maturing than Brown.
Bottom line is if he does, the Bobcats become a much better team.