Celtics

4 things to know about Brodric Thomas, the Celtics’ newest two-way player

"I'm just excited to be here for this opportunity."

Brodric Thomas
Brodric Thomas signed a two-way deal with the Celtics. Here are the things to know about the new guard. Photo by Emilee Chinn/Getty Images

The Celtics signed Brodric Thomas to a two-way contract on Monday, shoring up their second slot along with sharpshooting wing Sam Hauser.

Here are four things to know about the 6-foot-5 guard.

Thomas went to a Division II college

In high school, Thomas played with multiple Division I prospects and received fewer minutes and less shine as a result. So Thomas ended up at Truman State University, a Division II school in Missouri.

Even at Truman, Thomas’ journey wasn’t easy — he tore a hip ligament and redshirted for a season. Then his grades slipped, and he was forced to transfer to an Iowa community college to keep playing.

Advertisement:

But Thomas grew four inches and figured out his grades. After he led Southwestern Community College to an NJCAA Men’s Division II Basketball Championship — and after he was named MVP of the tournament — he opted to return to Truman instead of a Division I school.

When he returned, Thomas was a superstar.

“He’s the best player I’ve ever played with,” a teammate told the Kirksville Daily Express in 2020. “Some of the things he does are absolutely incredible. I get caught in the game just staring at what he’s doing, like, ‘Oh crap, gotta get back on defense.’”

Thomas scored a school-record 666 points in his senior season.

On Monday, Thomas — in his first meeting with Celtics reporters — said his journey gave him motivation.

“I think it just adds more fuel to the fire when you hear people doubt,” he said. “You just take that in and use it as motivation. And you just let that drive you and let that push you to keep breaking those barriers and keep playing the game in that way. Now, obviously, I have high hopes for my future as well.”

Thomas has had a winding NBA career already

Thomas was undrafted in 2020, but he signed a training camp deal with the Rockets. Houston then signed Thomas to a two-way contract. The Rockets waived Thomas in February, and the Cavaliers picked him up on a two-way deal.

Advertisement:

The Cavaliers brought Thomas back, but they waived him a week ago. The Celtics had a workout with Thomas on Sunday and signed him Monday.

“A guy that we feel has some upside and potential coming from a smaller school,” Ime Udoka said on Monday. “We like his grind, we like his story. Just integrate him, and today we had our first look. Had a good workout yesterday, but someone we keep an eye on for the future.”

Thomas’s mother is a Celtics fan

Thomas grew up in a house divided on its sports fandom. Thomas was a Rockets fan because of Tracy McGrady. His father cheered for the Cavaliers. His mother is a Celtics fan.

Ironically, those are the three teams that gave Thomas his first opportunities.

“I don’t know if it’s fate or whatever, but I’m just enjoying the journey,” Thomas said. “But yeah, it’s kind of weird. We’re from Chicago, but none of us likes any of the Chicago teams.”

Thomas is excited to be in Boston.

“I think the biggest thing is the culture and tradition,” Thomas said. “Just a winning attitude. I think coming here to this organization is just going to be huge for me just in a developmental aspect. Just because learning from vets and things of that nature is going to be key for my progress and development. That’s probably the biggest thing and takeaway from this first day.”

Thomas has an intriguing skill set.

It’s easy to see what teams like about Thomas, especially in highlights where his length and athleticism pop.

Advertisement:

But Thomas isn’t just an athlete.

His first step is lightning quick, which sets him up as a ball-handler and passer. In the G-League, Thomas shot 41.3 percent from 3-point range on 7.4 attempts per game. Defensively, he uses his physical gifts well.

Thomas showed flashes out of the pick-and-roll, and he has NBA size. Whether or not the small-school product is a long-term NBA player remains to be seen, but the Celtics’ desire to get a closer look makes sense.

“They embraced me,” Thomas said. “I’m coming in, I’m just trying to figure things out, learn the system, get used to everything. I’m just excited to be here for this opportunity.”

Jump To Comments

Conversation

This discussion has ended. Please join elsewhere on Boston.com