TT the GREAT
Who is this guy that just blabs and posts his first blog without introducing himself? Uh, yeah my bad…that’s me, Terriel! My name is Terriel Thomas (now you get the TT thing). I am 31 years old. I was born in Chicago, IL (Big Ten fan) but I was raised in Boise, Idaho (Idahome). Yes, I do love potatoes! Just ask my wife, I am on her every day about when can I have her famous potatoes again (we do eat them at least 3 times a week, haha) I graduated from SOU, Southern Oregon University, a small school in Ashland,Oregon. I am unofficially married (Coronavirus curveball) to a very beautiful and strong Brazilian babe who’s name is Roxanne (ROXANNE ROXANNE!!) and we have the perfect little one year old princess in our Sofia. We met while working in China and the rest is history. Yes, an American and Brazilian fell in love in China. Great story too I will share later. We are currently living in Rox’s hometown in Brazil (super adjustment) awaiting our next move as the coronavirus does its thing.
I want to begin my story from China, I mean that’s where this idea and the whole “TT the Great” blew up and well its where I met my Rox. I grew up always wanting to be a coach. I wanted to be a coach back then for the simple reason that I absolutely have collared shirts. Polos, yeah they get all my love but I wanted to have a job where I could “play” all day and well, rock the beat sweats and my J’s to work every day. Also, I had some pretty great coaching mentors early on in my life that kind of put coaching on a pedestal. Coach Cada changed my life! Man, he was everything and anything I needed. Next to my Pops, I worked my ass off to impress this man to hope to only one day be as great as he was. There was Mr. Brown from my Thorp CPS days who was the very first coach to see my talent and play me up with the 5th & 6th graders. Plus, he was just so cool and everybody always wanted detention because that was Mr. Brown’s thing. Mr. Messmer from Whitney Elementary in Boise taught me my first lesson about confidence and being THE man on his 5th grade team. But the game changers, the cherries on top, these individuals are the reason I am the coach I am today (blog with Coach Cada) and they were Mr. Russell (South Jr. High), Mr. Ward (South Jr. High), Coach Grey (Borah High Track), Coach Koetter (Idk what he is doing these days but this man challenged me in many ways I want ready for at the time) Coach Mann (Borah High Football), Coach Owen (College of Idaho), Coach Snow (TVCC), Coach McDermott ( SOU, ooooh weee this man here) and the man I grew up wanting to be like, Roberto “Berto” Bergersen. I carry a little piece of all of these great men with me each and every time I step on the court to do what I love. They taught me how to not only respect the game of basketball, but a lot about being a man and developing the work ethic that I am praised for these days. To these legends in my world, I want to thank you all and let you know how much I appreciate what you’ve done for me. Also, all of you did the sweats and J’s (gym shoes) very proud. A lot of coaches these days praise the megastar coaches that they see on TV like the Coach K (Duke), Steve Kerr (Golden State Warriors), Phil Jackson (Legendary 90’s Bulls / Lakers) , Coach Cal (Kentucky) and I do have my favorites amongst this group, but these men about, yeah they are my idols.
So yeah, coaching is my thing. I’m very passionate about it. I really get a high from working out, training and the challenges surrounding personal development but then when you mix this high with kids, its one of the greatest joys in this world. There is nothing more thrilling than being in front of a group of 30-40+ kids bouncing a ball and sharing that love for the game of basketball with them. I’ve spent the past 3 years coaching in China for a company called U.S.B.A., United States Basketball Academy. We coach and train Chinese youth ages 4 up to 18 years while also introducing them to basic English surrounding the game of basketball. Its EPIC!!! I really just rock out with the kids and get lost in the sessions. I crank the music up loud and we just work. The atmosphere is electrifying. The fun, hard work and happiness is just so contagious. The kids just line up waiting to dive into their sessions with me class after class. This here is where the birth of TT and the “TT the Great” began. After a nasty injury to my leg, I chose to stick it out in China and yup, I showed up to my kiddos on crutches, knee immobilizer and all. Nothing could stop me from getting to the court and those sessions. The passion comes from the look in their eyes when they get to class and the excitement across their faces when they see me. Nothing else like it in this world. Some days (defense days because I know they hate step slides and closeouts) I can’t tell if its basketball of TT that they show up for; to them I am a ROCKSTAR. TT is the coolest coach (foreigner) and person on the planet. TT is great! TT is great because they made me great. Then I got here to Brazil, and I was eager to dive into the culture of coaching here, in soccer county and I was worried. But here the reaction was the same. the love for the game the same. The admiration for TT the same. And it is the same back home in the States. Kids just love me. And I love them back. I will continue to be great to them just as my mentors mentioned above were great to me. TT the Great is here to stay and my love for this game and these children will never change. Having my beautiful daughter has magnified that love. My babygirl has me wrapped all the way around her fingers and I am so ready (or as ready as I think I am) to guide her through life and be as GREAT as father as I can be. I work hard at being as GREAT a husband I can be too, because my Rox and my Princess make me a better man and being a better man makes me a better coach and this is why I too, believe that I am GREAT! (no Tony the Tiger voice).