Malcolm Thomas: “It was surprising to me when Fenerbahce called”

24/Jan/20 12:22 January 24, 2020

Aris Barkas

24/Jan/20 12:22

The new arrival in Fenerbahce loved working with Obradovic and hopes that the season of Fenerbahce can turn around.

By Bugra Uzar/

With Fenerbahce BEKO trying to turn its season around, Malcolm Thomas was added in the frontline. After playing for Maccabi Tel Aviv and Khimki, this is probably the biggest challenge in Thomas’ European career and also a chance for him to get back to the top European level.

A forward who has played for Chicago, San Antonio, Golden State, Utah, and Philadelphia in the NBA, can aim for something big as a member of a title contender, that started the season on the wrong foot and is trying to make a comeback.

Eurohoops met up with him in Istanbul and talked about his style of play, his relationship with Zeljko Obradovic, and his role in Fenerbahce.

– You had a lot of changes during your career, you went to different places, different cultures, different leagues. Was it a roller coaster ride?

“Usually, it just came down to who was more interested in me and me joining and that was pretty much it, you know? love the game. I love competing and that’s really what it came down to. Who, who wanted me more”.

– And how did you adapt your game to those kinds of different cultures differently? Because you went to Korea, then back to the G-League, then to Europe, China and back to Europe…

“It’s honestly a blessing, to be able to go and play different places. But you know, it is difficult to try to adjust to different games. But I would say my game is more like team-based. I like playing the team game. So, being in Europe I feel like it fits me very well. But, I just kind of learned to adapt just from growing up and being a so-called late bloomer”.

– Basketball is getting much faster every day and big men like you must be mobile and shoot the ball. Do you feel more comfortable in this style of play?

“Definitely. Coming out of college, I think I shot maybe ten threes in two years in my college career. So, that was definitely something that I worked on after college. And, now it’s starting to pay off to where teams actually need me for that. And, it’s good. I’m glad that I’m able to bring that into teams. I like how the game is now because Derek Williams and I came out the same year in the NBA draft. When we were talking about it, when we came out of school, me and him being the size that we are, we were considered undersized, like tweener and we were playing those guys who were like seven-footers in the four position. And now I play center in Europe. So I like how it is now because I feel like I could play more positions”.

-There were a lot of rumors about you, but at the end of the day, you signed with the Fenerbahce. So how did you make this decision?

“There were a few EuroLeague teams who reached out. I always believe like there’s more out there. So I was just playing the patient game, just waiting. And when my agent told me there was an offer from Fenerbahce, I was like, wait, I like them. That was surprising. He told me they were thinking about it at first and so I was like, wow, I can’t believe that happened. And then, you know, he asked me if I would want to go and it was an easy decision. It was surprising to me, but I’m definitely glad that it happened”.

– Changing teams during the season is always tough. And Fenerbahce as the team has a lot of sets. So how are you adapting to the Fenerbahce system right now?

“I feel like I’m getting it down more. I’ve been here almost a month now, so I feel like I really know the most basic plays that they run a lot. I feel like I have them down. But, it helps that we go through it every day. And now that Jan is back, I can watch him and see the spots that work for him. So it’s all work”.