5 Questions With John Thomas

n an effort to shore up their interior game, the Hawks claimed John Thomas off of waivers from the Memphis Grizzlies over the weekend. Thomas, a 1997 first round draft pick of the New York Knicks, has spent parts of five seasons in the NBA with the Raptors, Celtics, Timberwolves, and Grizzlies before coming over to Atlanta.

A Minnesota alum, Thomas was on the only Final Four team in Golden Gopher history - a team that featured several other future NBA players like Bobby Jackson and Quincy Lewis.

We caught up to Thomas after practice on Monday to give the fans a chance to get to know the big man a little better, and here is what he had to say:

1. Hawks.com: Coming to the Hawks, what are your goals for the rest of the season?

John Thomas: I think my goals are first and foremost to help the team win. Everything else will fall into place if we can do that. I just hope to bring some energy, toughness, defense, and just some of the other intangibles that make a team successful.

My game is rugged. I'm always going to be looking to expand my role - you know every player always thinks they can do more than the coach will allow them to (laughing). But if I can help this team win, then everything else is just icing on the cake.

2. Hawks.com: How hard is it to adjust to a new team in midseason?

JT: It's a transition. It's not necessarily hard, but you are leaving what was your home away from home to come to a new home away from home. You work to build relationships within the organization you work for, and then you move to a new place so you have to start building those all over again. That's probably the toughest part.

3. Hawks.com: You were traded three times in your rookie season (1997-98). What was it like dealing with that compared to now?

JT: The first one was the toughest. The Knicks drafted me but traded me during the preseason. You go somewhere and you think you are going to be a part of their plans, but then due to circumstances beyond your control. But that's everything in this league - you can't really control anything other than working hard and hoping for the best. It wasn't my choice to play for so many teams in one year, but at the same time, its still the best job in the world and the paychecks still come on the 1st and the 15th.

4. Hawks.com: You were part of the best Minnesota team in your college's history. What was it like participating in a Final Four?

JT: It was great. We had a lot of good guys - me, Bobby, Quincy, Courtney James, Sam Jacobsen, Charles Thomas. It was unbelievable. We went through the whole Big Ten season and only lost one game, and I think only lost two the whole season (the team finished 30-3 after losing to Kentucky in the Final Four).

It was a crazy experience. We got to the RCA Dome, with all the screaming fans - I honestly don't even remember the game. Your adrenaline is so high! I remember getting a couple dunks, a couple fastbreaks here and there, they started pressing us, and the next thing I knew the game was over. To this day, I still haven't even watched the game.

I still keep up with some of the guys - I was just with Bobby in Memphis.

5. Hawks.com: Anything else Hawks fans should know about you they might not know to look at you?

JT: I am a total computer nerd. I like building computers, getting online, playing computer games, anything.

Micah Hart is the Assistant Web Editor for the Atlanta Hawks.