Thomas came to UMBC in the summer of 2007 and has been a member of the Retriever coaching staff for five previous seasons. The New York, N.Y. native was also serving as the staff’s recruiting coordinator.
He had previously worked as an assistant coach at Howard University from 2004-07.
“Aki brings an excellent playing and coaching background to the position,” Dr. Brown said. “He has strong communication skills and will fit into our program in a very positive way. I am confident that he will be able to support our student-athletes during this time of transition. I am excited about this year’s men’s basketball team and feel that we can compete for the America East Conference title.”
Thomas, age 33, played professionally in Venezuela before accepting the position at Howard under then-head coach Frankie Allen. Prior to that, Thomas was a standout for the Bison in 2000-01, when he helped lead the team to an 18-13 mark and the finals of the MEAC Tournament. Thomas averaged almost 12 points and eight rebounds per game en route to being named to the All-MEAC second team.
Before Howard, Thomas played for three seasons at the University of Colorado. His tenure with the Buffaloes was highlighted by a selection to the All-Tournament Team of the 1998 Puerto Rico Shootout. He was a member of a pair of CU teams which earned berths to the NIT, and he was selected to the Commissioner’s Big 12 All-Academic Team.
Thomas was a two-time league rebounding champion in the Venezuelan LPB League (2003-04) and earned the same title during a stint in the Colombian Federation Cup League (2004). He played his prep ball at New York city’s Manhattan Center, where he was selected All-City his junior and senior seasons. He was also named Manhattan PSAL Player of the Year and Honorable Mention All-America during his senior campaign.
Thomas received his degree in sociology from Howard in 2002. He married the former Gayna Lacy in 2009 and the couple welcomed a son, Lexington Luther in September of 2011. The Thomases reside in Laurel, Md.