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Titans to face old coach in season-opener

IvanThomas1.jpgIn this 2008 photo, members of the T.C. Williams basketball team swarm coach Ivan Thomas after winning the state championship. Photo by Tracy A. Woodward/The Washington Post

In Saturday's season-opener against Kecoughtan, T.C. Williams senior Ryan Yates will carry with him more emotion than might be expected for a senior basketball star who is shouldering the burden of protecting an area power's legacy.

Yates, a 6-foot-7 senior guard, will lead No. 12 T.C. Williams into it's 8 p.m. season-opener at home against the man who helped create that legacy, his former coach Ivan Thomas.

Yates was a part-time starter for Thomas's 2008 state championship squad -- a dream season that brought the Northern Region its first basketball title in 27 years.

After winning the state title and being named The Washington Post's All-Met Coach of the Year, Thomas then left the program to move to the Hampton area, where his wife was due to set up a medical practice.
Thomas then took over Kecoughtan's basketball team.

Thomas also had basketball ties in the Hampton area because of his ties to Boo Williams' successful chain of AAU teams, one of which he coached for many years, helping to develop stars like North Carolina's Ed Davis (Benedictine).

"Playing against Coach Thomas will bring a lot of emotion to the game," said Yates, who averaged 10 points per game last year. "It's not everyday that you start your senior year off playing against the man who you started your career off with. It will be very emotional for me because Coach Thomas and I went through a lot during his tenure as coach."

In three seasons at T.C. Williams, Thomas led the Titans to a 78-11 record and went 52-0 in the Virginia AAA Patriot District and 65-3 against the Virginia AAA Northern Region. The team won two regional titles.

Julian King, Thomas's assistant on the 2008 team, took over the program and the Titans continued their success last year, elevating their unbeaten conference streak to 71 consecutive games and claiming their third straight regional title. T.C. Williams went 27-3 last season.

"Ryan will definitely have a lot of emotions flowing due to the respect he has for Ivan," said King. "For the other guys, they want to prove that the program lives on with the high level of play."

By B.J. Koubaroulis  |  December 2, 2009; 11:39 AM ET
Categories:  AAA Concorde District , AAA Liberty District , AAA National District , AAA Patriot District  
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