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The real reason Isaiah Thomas left UW

6/22/2011

Washington guard Isaiah Thomas made the stunning decision to leave the Huskies behind for the NBA draft after his junior season, and in an interview with gohuskies.com, he elaborated on what the story called "the real reason" he left school.

According to the story, it was because Abdul Gaddy's season-ending injury allowed him to show what he could do at point guard and that after the season, coach Lorenzo Romar told him he'd be sharing duties this coming year with Gaddy and top recruit Tony Wroten.

"Knowing me, the NBA would have happened anyway eventually," Thomas said. "But it wouldn't have happened this year. Me having the ball in my hands as much as I did was a blessing in disguise. Gaddy and I talk about it all the time. He says, `Man, if this didn't happen to me, you wouldn't be where you are right now.'

"Every team I visited, the first question was always, `Why did you put your name in for the draft?'" Thomas said. "And I told each team the reason was the circumstances of next season at Washington had I stayed. With Gaddy coming back and Wroten coming in, I wouldn't have been able to showcase my skills as (primarily) a point guard, which is the position I will be playing at the next level.

"My stock wouldn't be any higher next year, no matter what I did. A lot of people don't realize all that went into my decision. They just say, `Oh, he should have stayed.' They don't see all the circumstances."

The explanation Thomas gives creates yet another what-if scenario that has to leave fans wondering. Kyrie Irving revealed in May that had he not been able to return from his toe injury during the NCAA tournament, he would have stayed in school.

What Thomas did was present the chain of events that led to his leaving school, and it was ignited when Gaddy went down. Thomas was able to show off his all-around game at point guard and all the while still showed his game on offense. Anyone who heard Gus Johnson's description of his "cold-blooded" buzzer-beating shot to beat Arizona in the Pac-10 tournament championship game knows that.

The Gaddy injury was unfortunate, and few would have guessed it would also lead to Thomas shining to the point that he thought it was his time to go. But with Wroten expected to play major minutes and Gaddy gearing up for a comeback from knee surgery, one can see what Thomas was thinking a little more clearly now.