Thomas is a native of Charlotte, N.C., and played two years of junior college ball at Roane State Community College in Harriman.
The 6-foot-4 transfer to Lee is a versatile player who will be used in the guard and forward positions. He averaged 15 points per game and two assists while shooting a solid 47 percent from the field.
“Valentino is an explosive athlete,” said coach Tommy Brown. “He is very athletic and can really get to the rim. He has the athleticism and toughness needed to be a great defensive weapon as well. He’s an even better person and a good student. We expect Valentino to be a major contributor this season.”
The new Flame said he selected Lee with the help of a higher power. “To make a long story short, the day before I made my decision, I prayed that God would show me the college I was to supposed to attend in the form of a dream. In my dream that same night, I walked out of a building, turned around to look back at the building and at the top of the building was a Flame symbol (Lee’s logo). I woke up and told my parents I was going to Lee.”
Thomas expects to play several positions for coach Brown. “Growing up I’ve always played the two guard, but I can play the three as well, because of my strength. I also expect to play the one (center) in some situations, if the coaches put me in pick-and-roll opportunities,” he pointed out.
The newcomer also brings his share of goals to the hardwood. “Over the next two years I hope to accomplish many goals,” he allowed. “I would like to get my degree in digital media. I want to be a well-known player that had an impact in Lee’s basketball history. I also hope to establish many relationships with the people at Lee because these types of people are rare in today’s world.”