HARTSVILLE, S.C. – Another Coker College graduate is headed to Australia to play basketball professionally. Megan Thomas, a 2011 graduate, has signed a contract to play for the Eastern Mavericks in the Australian Basketball League.
"I knew this would happen, I Just didn't know how long it would take," Thomas said "It's been a long road, but it's been worth it. Playing basketball is what I've wanted to do since I was 4 years old. I am so excited and grateful for this opportunity."
Thomas, 23, is a 5-foot-4-inch point guard from Cresskill, N.J. She will head to Australia on Jan. 3. The basketball season runs from March to August down under. Thomas joins fellow Coker grad Tom Wright, a 2011 alum, who also plays professionally in Australia. Wright is a member of the North Soul Sports Bears.
After graduating from Coker, Thomas trained back home while also taking several trips to showcase events. She attended combines in Europe – mostly in Germany – as well as one in New Hampshire. It was after the one in New Hampshire, which was in June, where she received interest from the Mavericks after making the combine's all-star team out of 300 participants.
"I traded emails around September with the coach in Australia," she said. "He asked if I had been picked up by a team yet. By November, we had a conversation over Skype and he said they 100 percent wanted me and had already started on paperwork to get me signed."
Naturally, after dedicating nearly two years to training, Thomas was overcome by emotion after hearing the news.
"I was holding back tears during that Skype interview," she said. "After the trip to Germany, I almost gave up. I was continuously told that it wasn't a great year to be a point guard, which was very discouraging. Going to New Hampshire wasn't even my idea – one of my closest friends persuaded me to go. Turns out it was a great thing for me."
Thomas was a four-year starter for Coker and left with a degree in English. She plans to attend graduate school in Australia. Prior to signing a contract, Thomas had been working as a nanny for local families. Before that she served as an assistant coach for the varsity squad at Saddle River Day School in New Jersey.
Thomas heads to Australia on Jan. 3. Her contract is for one year, so she knows that a full-time, long-term job awaits her at some point. But, for now, none of that matters. Her endless efforts to make her dream come true have finally paid off.
"If you chase happiness, money will follow," she said. "I have all my life to sit behind a desk. Right now, I want to play basketball, and my heart agrees."
Coker College readies undergraduates for personal and professional success through a distinctive four-year program that emphasizes a practical application of the liberal arts as well as hands-on and discussion-based learning within and beyond the classroom. Coker is ranked among the "Best Colleges" in the South by U.S. News & World Report as well as The Princeton Review. Located in Hartsville, S.C., Coker is within two hours of the cultural, financial and recreational resources of Charlotte, Columbia, Charleston and Myrtle Beach.