Dontae Thomas and The Forman School. A situation that is working well for all involved.
LITCHFIELD: It’s been a situation that has worked well for all involved and the Forman Lions boys’ basketball team is reaping the rewards.
When former Torrington High School star, Dontae Thomas committed to play a year at The Forman school under head coach John Strawson, also a former Raider star, it seemed like the perfect fit.
Thomas had helped the Raiders all the way to the Class L semi-finals a year ago and had developed into one of the top point guards in the Naugatuck Valley League during his senior campaign.
Strawson was overseeing a very successful program at Forman that saw him earn Coach of the Year honors three consecutive years (2013, 2014, 2015) and had watched Thomas grow at THS and thought he could help his team this season and that his school could help the student as well.
Well, 16 wins later (against one loss) one could say things are going very well at the private school in Litchfield that has helped both parties in ways they both hoped it would.
Saturday in a 76-43 win over The Harvey School, the impact that Thomas has on his team was front and center from the opening tip.
Thomas drove for the games first two points before assisting on consecutive baskets for teammate Ryan Capozucca.
A Thomas three pointer and a Ben Rushford basket saw the home team run out to an 11-0 lead before the visitors scored their first basket.
Thomas then found Ethan Kramer on another bullet pass and the rout was on.
The lead was 25-2 halfway through the first sixteen minutes, 48-17 at the break and the bench saw its fair share of time the rest of the way in a matinee that was over quickly.
Strawson has a deep team in 2019/2020 and the team can get scoring from all over the court.
On Saturday, Kramer had 10 points as did Schuyler Jasienowski with Rushford chipping in with nine, as did Harrison Day. Lorenzo Lauria came off the bench to add eight and dominated the glass on the defensive end.
The Lions are playing at a high level that starts with their point guard who has gained the attention of opposing coaches as well.
“After our last game,” Strawson said. “The other coach complimented Dontae on how he played. We call him a “silent assassin” because he doesn’t say much but lets his play talk for him.”
It has been fun watching Thomas develop into the player he has become, something that started building during his junior year with the Raiders and has translated well at Forman.
“Dontae is one of those kids who is a floor general,” Strawson said. “He plays at a higher speed and helps other people perform at that same speed.”
The experience at Forman off the court has been a tremendous one for Thomas as well.
“It had been a good experience for me,” Thomas said. “The classes are smaller and I feel that a lot more knowledge can get absorbed in that setting.”
The Lions have only dropped one game this year, a 70-50 decision to the Wooster School a week earlier at home in which the team had a rare off day.
“I feel like we beat ourselves,” Thomas said. “Not to say that the other team didn’t play well but things we didn’t do that game are things we can fix in practice.”
The Forman School prides themselves on the total person with classroom work and after school activities equally stressed, something that seems to be working for Thomas.
“It’s been a great fit for him,” Strawson said. “It’s a confidence building place that has allowed him to get better and better at basketball while working hard in the classroom as well.”
How has it been for Thomas playing for another former Raider in Strawson?
“Legend,” Thomas said. “I love how he coaches. There is never a thing I can question. All he asks is for you to give it your heart.”
Forman has three games left in the regular season before the Hudson Valley League tournament starts and all three should be good tests for the team, starting Wednesday when they host the New York Military Academy at 4 p.m.
They go on the road to face The Gunnery two days later before returning home to face South Kent next Saturday at 4:15.
The Forman School 76, The Harvey School 43
Harvey 17 26 43
Forman 48 28 76
Harvey (43): S. Watson 6-0-15, L. Cohen 1-0-2, R Horowitz 2-0-4, T Wang 2-0-4, C Hildebrandt 1-0-3, A Shyer 1-0-2, K Ortega 3-4-11, J Kass 1-2-4. Totals: 17-6-43
Forman (76): Dontae Thomas 7-0-17, Ryan Capozucca 3-0-6, Ben Rushford 4-0-9, Ethan Kramer 4-2-10, Harrison Day 4-1-9, Kai Burridge 1-0-2, Lorenzo Lauria 4-0-8, Schuyler Jasienowski 4-2-10, Theo Seremetis 1-0-2, Travis Zuckerman 1-1-3. Totals: 33-6-76
Records: Forman 16-1