Terrell tunes up talents in Spain

Published 5:00 am Tuesday, August 2, 2005

Thomas Terrell smiled and extended a huge right hand. Thisreunion took place in the front office of The DAILY LEADER.

“People kept telling me to come by and see you,” said Terrell,still smiling. The former Brookhaven, Co-Lin and Georgia StateUniversity basketball star has made a name for himself inEurope.

Fresh from leading his Hospitalet (Spain) team to the LEB leaguechampionship, the 6-foot-7, 225-pound Terrell has risen to the topof his game on foreign soil. Last month he was named Most ValuablePlayer in the LEB, plus MVP in the tournament. He averaged 23points and 10.8 rebounds per game.

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Terrell also earned MVP honors at Georgia State, leading thePanthers to the Trans American Athletic Conference title in 2001 asa junior. He played for basketball legend Lefty Driesell.

After he finished at Georgia State, Terrell moved to Mexico andplayed three months. Then he made the move to Europe, playing for aBelgium team and a team in southern Spain before signing withHospitalet, a town in the suburbs of Barcelona.

He and his teammates received a bonus for winning the leaguetournament title. They report for preseason practice in August. Theregular season starts Sept. 23.

“We lift weights and run for a month before the season starts. Iwant to try out for an NBA team after this season,” saidTerrell.

He enjoys the people of Spain but dislikes their diet.

“I hated the food,” admitted Terrell who was raised by hismother, Barbara, on delicious southern-fried specialties.

“They don’t have a breakfast in Spain,” Terrell continued. “Theyeat a long (subway) sandwich for breakfast. People get off workabout 2 o’clock and go eat. Then they take a siesta. Then they workfrom 5-9. They work late.”

An accomplished 3-point field goal shooter in high school andcollege, Terrell has improved his feathery touch. In 37 games lastseason, Terrell made 69 treys, sacking 41 percent of thelong-distance field goals.

Terrell said he likes the style of play in Europe. “They play anNBA style, with a lot of picks and rolls. They are like strongcollege teams. You can play a zone defense and I like that.”

Terrell’s success has made him a popular figure in Spanishsports newspapers. “They want me to do a beer commercial.”

Drinking water is less than desirable. “They sell a lot ofbottled water. You don’t drink from the sink faucet.”

Back home in Atlanta, Terrell is attending summer school atGeorgia State. He is one course shy of obtaining a degree inpsychology.

“You need a college education to be successful,” said Terrell.”That’s important.”

Terrell spent his early years in the West Lincoln community. Heattended West Lincoln and as an elementary school student beforetransferring to BHS. He said he appreciates the support andcoaching he received along the way. His father was killed in 1993in an auto repair accident at home.

“I used to go to West Lincoln (gym) and shoot,” said Terrell.”Coach Jason Case helped me shoot the ball better.

“I’m grateful for all the help I got from my coaches.”

Former BHS coach Preston Wilson encouraged Terrell to play hard.”Coach Wilson always told me I had a lot of talent, if I would keepworking.”

At Co-Lin, Terrell played for Dennis Sims and assistant Bill(Goose) McGuire. “Coach Sims taught me discipline. Coach McGuiretaught me a lot of post moves and how to play the post.

At Georgia State, Driesell improved Terrell’s mental approach tothe game. “Lefty talked to me about skills in basketball. He helpedme gain confidence.”

While visiting his mother, Terrell enjoys his favorite meal, redbeans and rice. “My mom should open a red beans and rice business.They are really good.”

Terrell and his wife, Zakiayyah, have two children. Hisstep-son, Jamonne Williams is 6 years old. His younger son, ThomasIII, is 3.