Thomas Felix, 'Mr. MVP'
JUMP BALL No. 91.(Part I) by Arlington James
During the basketball seasons leading up to the time when Hurricane Maria ravaged Dominica in 2017, bringing the DABA National Basketball League to a sudden halt, the exploits of Thomas Felix on the court were heard regularly through radio and television sportscasts. But his name is often mistaken by many persons with those of two other gentlemen, named Felix Thomas, both of whom are involved in politics and, interestingly, they sit on opposite sides of the political divide.
Named after his dad, it appears that basketball and high-scoring were passed down through the Felix's genes.
Many readers may not be aware that the community of Massacre made its debut in the national basketball league as early as 1985 with a Division III (Junior) team named Massacre. That year Dad Thomas Felix scored a handsome 25 Pts in a 67-34 victory over a women's team named Radials. Massacre did not compete beyond that season.
Young Thomas Felix, a.k.a. "Yardy", now 35 years old, balding and standing at 6ft 2in tall, never saw his dad play competitive basketball. However, he developed a passion for the sport by watching his older brother Anderson Matthew who played for another Massacre-based team, Bullets, followed by another team named Panthers from the same community, and subsequently senior players of the Blazers senior team which also hails from his West Coast village of Massacre.
Interestingly Thomas, who got introduced to basketball at the tender age of about 4 years-old, reveals that his first sports love was not basketball, but actually football, but he is very happy that he had made that switch.
His very first game was a friendly played with Bullets, one of several teams that have emerged out of Massacre.
Felix on the Big Court: Thirteen years after his dad enjoyed that, 33-point victory over the ladies, young Thomas made his grand entrance into the basketball arena with Dominica Grammar School in the Sports Division-organised 'Schools' League (1998-2001). He later played with Dominica State College in that league, from 2004 to 2006.
Thomas, who plays in the Point Guard and Shooting Guard positions, first debuted in the national (DABA) league in 2004, playing with Blazers in the Premier Division.
He quickly became a high-scorer and often a top-scorer, and also contributed in other aspects of Blazers' games. For example, in the 2015 Regular League he was judged DABA's 'Premier Division Player of the Week' on two occasions and on one such occasion his 'stats' read: A game high 34 Pts; grabbed 3 Rebounds; had 11 Steals and 1 Blocked Shot in his team's match vs Falcons. To date Felix has assisted Blazers capture at least five National Play-Off Championships.
He regularly led his team's overall scoring, sinking 20s, 30s and occasionally 40s (points) in a match. For example, in 2013 he topped Blazers score sheet with 155 Pts; he amassed 216 pts from 8 games in 2014; and 188 Pts from 8 games in 2015.
In the 2015 Regular Season he also led Blazers scoring 'on the line', netting 42 of his team's 99 Free-Throws.
With the 'Three-Pointer' being his favourite shot, Thomas placed 4th in made Three-Point baskets in the 2015 Premier Division Regular League and topped Blazers' tally of 29 'from downtown' with 14 from behind the arc - almost half of his team's total.
Mr. High-Octane: As was noted above, Felix regularly led Blazers in scoring. Jump Ball now quotes from the Statistical Report on the 2014 DABA Basketball Season which was prepared by the columnist on behalf of the DABA. The anecdote which was titled, "Longest Unbroken Scoring Stint By A Player In A Game" highlights the 'high-octane' (HOT) player Thomas was and reads, 'In the Premier Division Play-Off game #3 between Blazers and Eagles, Thomas Felix of Blazers single-handedly took his team's score from 47 to 64, i.e. having scored 17 straight points.'
Felix Sporting National Colours: Thomas Felix proudly represented Dominica in the sport of basketball at three different levels.
He first donned national colours on Dominica's Senior National Basketball Team while representing the Nature Island in the Caribbean Basketball Championships which were played in St. Maarten in 2004. He was also a member of the Senior National Team for the Sugar Creole Basketball Festival which was staged in St. Kitts and Dominica in 2011 and 2012 respectively.
Thomas' other tours of duty were performed when he represented Dominica on the National Under-23 Team for a 3-day Rencontre InterCaribéennes de Basket Tournament in Guadeloupe in 2007, and on Team Dominica at the 2005 Windward Islands Schools Games which were held in St. Vincent.
Concludes next edition.