DURHAM — Before he heads to West Virginia with no regrets, former N.C. State basketball player Johnny Thomas is working hard to get his playing legs back under him.
Thomas, who played sparingly last season for the Wolfpack, is transferring to Marshall. He will have two years of eligibility remaining and, because he graduated from N.C. State this summer, he will be allowed to play immediately for the Thundering Herd.
To get ready for the next chapter of his career, Thomas is playing at the S.J.G. Greater NC Pro-Am summer league at N.C. Central.
On Tuesday night, Thomas scored 22 points for Body of Christ in an 87-76 loss to Dreamworks.
"I'm basically just trying to get my feet back under me," Thomas said. "I really didn't get that opportunity to do that playing at State. So right now, I'm really just trying to get used to playing again."
In between summer league games, Thomas completed his course work for a degree in Adult Technical Education at N.C. State this summer. He's excited about competing immediately at Marshall, where former Virginia assistant and College of Charleston head coach Tom Herrion enters his first season as the Thundering Herd's coach.
"The coaches recruited me in the past, and I really feel comfortable playing for them," Thomas said. "To me that was part of the decision. Being able to do what I wanted to do to get my education and also being able to play freely and play like myself."
Thomas, a 6-foot-6 forward from Morehead City, redshirted his first year at N.C. State. But his career never gained traction over the past two seasons with the Pack. He averaged just 5.2 minutes a game in 2009-10, when he averaged 0.8 points and 1.1 rebounds.
The Wolfpack is bringing in a stellar freshman class for next season that features C.J. Leslie, Ryan Harrow and Lorenzo Brown. All three have played in the Greater NC Pro Am this summer.
Thomas said any correlation between their arrivals and his departure are coincidental.
"When I made my decision, I made my decision with confidence," Thomas said. "Them coming in, that had nothing to do with it. A lot of people may think, 'Oh, well. They've got these top-notch recruits coming in or whatever.' But, the bottom line is, I've been in the ACC for three years. I'm not afraid of competition. That's the last thing I'm thinking. I'm at the point where I'm just playing and I don't care who I play against or with. I'm just playing."
Sutton gets a feel for new home: Durham native Dominique Sutton, who played the past three seasons at Kansas State and will enroll at N.C. Central to complete his career, is getting comfortable with the Eagles' home court.
Sutton is playing in the Greater NC Pro-Am this summer at NCCU. He scored 12 points Tuesday night as the Division I All-Stars beat Lucky 75-61.
Sutton, who started all but one game for the Wildcats last season as they advanced to the final eight of the NCAA tournament, cited family reasons for his decision. He has two young daughters who live with their mother in Durham, and a health issue involving his youngest daughter caused her to be hospitalized last season.
"It was difficult being out there flying there and flying back home," Sutton said. "There was a lot going on. This will make it simple, just to come back home and be comfortable and play and just have fun."
Sutton hopes to get an NCAA waiver which will allow him to play for the Eagles this season.