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BearShare: Asha Thomas

December 21, 2018

Asha Thomas is a senior point guard for the No. 14 California Golden Bears. In many ways, she is Cal’s unsung leader.

Having started every game she’s played in since entering Cal, Thomas is currently averaging 10 points a game--third on the team.

Thomas is known for her shooting. She is terrific from the free throw line, leading all players the Pac-12 last season in that category. She is also great from beyond the arc: she has 186 made threes, which is second in Cal history (behind Alexis Gray-Lawson, with 211), and holds the school record with nine made threes in a game.

She is second on team with 34 assists; she only has 12 turnovers, an indication of her steady, reliable play. 

Cal Athletics/KLC Photos

Thomas received All Pac 12 Honorable Mention after last season.

“Asha is as special a player as we’ve ever had in our program,” said Cal head coach Lindsay Gottlieb. “She’s accepted every challenge that’s been thrown her way these four years and has grown into phenomenal player, leader, and person.”

In advance of Cal’s match-up with UCONN at Haas--the first time the Cal women’s basketball team has hosted the No. 1 team of the country--Thomas sat down for an interview with the Bear Insider. The point guard shared her thoughts on a range of topics, from growing up in East Oakland, to suffering a knee injury in high school and supporting teammate Mi’Cole Cayton through her own injury and recovery, to being a senior leader on the team.

Here are some other highlights from the interview:

On her relationship with her brother, Quentin Thomas, who is 11 years older:

“It had always been close, but I guess I didn’t really appreciate in, and as well as him, I don’t think he really appreciate it, until we both got older, and we were in similar situations, with basketball, and college, of course. Going from high school to college [for me], especially with basketball involved... I had someone to look up to going through the basketball life, through the social life in college, school, all of that. So I needed someone to talk to, I could easily go to him.”

On her choice to stay home and attend Cal:

“I didn’t want to stay home. I wanted to get away, just to get out of California.  And I thought I would mature a lot; I would be on my own a lot, because I’m an independent person. But knowing that [my brother] got homesick, that he had injuries... that certain things that weren’t working out with him, and that he was contemplating, ‘Did I make the right choice?’ And my parents were really involved, trying to make sure he was OK, and that kind of puts a toll on both ends, on the parent and the child. And I did not want to put a burden on my parents.”

On being raised on basketball:

“My mom, she always said I was practically born in the gym. My brother was in a tournament at the time when she went into labor. I’ve always been around basketball--of course, my brother, traveling with him, HS, college. But having his friends still support me now, which is great. You don’t hear a lot of that, especially for women’s basketball players.”

Cal Athletics/KLC Photos

On her parents’ impact on her:

”Just in the way they approach life. My dad, I think I can see myself in him as far as my independence. He’s a person that likes to get the job done; he doesn’t want to wait for anybody. And he’s set on what he wants to do. And it’s not just for him; it’s for his family. My mom, she a selfless person. Selfless. And she’s always doing something for someone else, even when that means taking herself out, like, bringing so much physically out of herself. But also, she’s a goofy person. She’s likes to be around people. She likes to make people happy. One of her passions is cooking. Not only her passion but that’s something that keeps her going, like calm... and chill, knowing what she’s doing is helping others. And that’s somewhere I’m starting to grow and enjoy that.”

On hosting UCONN:

“This is one game for sure, in my career, I’ve never been as excited to be a part of [as this one]. We have a good team that can definitely compete. But also, just having a sold out crowd, or close to sold out crowd, come here locally, to see women’s basketball play. When was the last time we’ve had Haas Pavilion sold out? I just get excited because you get people come in your house and see two great teams play and battle for a win. You’re looking at women’s basketball. And that’s great! It’s great for us, it’s great for young kids to come see, to give them motivation, ‘Oh, I can be in this!’ I’m definitely excited for this. I’m going to have to hold it in as much as I can, but I know Saturday, I’m going to have to let it out somehow.”

No. 14 Cal (9-0) will take on No. 1 UCONN (10-0) on Saturday, December 22. Tip off is at noon.

“For Asha, a local kid who has given so much to our program, to be our senior point guard when we host the number one team in the country, it will be a pretty special moment,” said Gottlieb. “And one I know she’ll be ready for.”

To listen to the full interview with Asha Thomas: Click here


Tags: Asha Thomas, WBB
Discussion from...

BearShare: Asha Thomas

4,397 Views | 3 Replies | Last: 3 yr ago by BearBint
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Hi all,

I'm so happy to bring you an interview with Asha Thomas! We're lucky to have her here at Cal!

Happy holidays!

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Many thanks, Viet, and happy solstice as well!
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