Women's Basketball: Thomas signs NLI with San Jose State - Article, 2011-2012 Ohlone College Renegades Women's Basketball

By Ohlone Athletic Department.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012—Reprinted from Tri-City Voice.

April 11th marked the opening day for prospective four-year college athlete's to sign a National Letter of Intent (NLI), a binding agreement between an athlete and the institution where the athlete intends to enroll; the institution intends to provide athletic financial aid (athletic scholarships). Ohlone College's 2012 Northern California Player of the Year, Chereese Thomas, signed her NLI with San Jose State on opening day in Epler Gymnasium.

"This is the epitome of what our goal is with our women's basketball program here. We want our student athlete's to reach their highest potential level, we want them to achieve their goals and that happened today," said Julia Allender, head coach of the Ohlone women's basketball team. Thomas graduated from Dublin High School in 2010 where she was a stand-out athlete for the girls' varsity basketball team all four years. She was a Nor Cal Prep (NCP) Top 40 member in 2010 and an All-League selection on more than one occasion.

"When we first saw her play we were attracted to her character, her competitiveness and work ethic. We know with those characteristics player's ceilings are much higher than those without, we know they will develop faster, be able to transfer to high level programs and have much more of an impact on our team's success. She has demonstrated that those are ingrained in her and I couldn't be happier for her," said Allender.

Thomas' numerous accolades throughout her two years at Ohlone are proof of her outstanding characteristics as well. As the starting point guard for both years, Thomas earned two tournament MVPs, four All-Tournament selections, two conference MVPs, one All-State selection and the title, 2012 Northern California Junior College Player of the Year. Thomas did all this while leading the Renegades to a 23-1 conference record, two Conference Championships, two seasons with 20 or more wins and helping the Renegades advance to the third round of the playoffs.

"This is a very important moment for me and I would like to thank my parents and grandfather for supporting me through everything. I would really like to thank Julz (Coach Julia Allender) because to tell someone your dreams and aspiration is really a hard thing to do but I was able to do that with her. I worked hard to accomplish this goal of mine and every day for two years she helped, supported, cheered and worked with me to make this possible. It means a lot to me to get this opportunity. We did this together and playing at Ohlone was the best experience I have had," Thomas said.

In the past three years Ohlone transferred eight players to four-year schools on basketball scholarships. Past students have gone to the University of Idaho, University of Hawaii at Hilo, Academy of Arts, Bluefield State College, California State University at Monterey Bay, Waldorf and now San Jose State University. "We work hard to move our kids on to the level they want to play at," Allender said.

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