Crossroads Basketball was started in 2004 by Cornell Thomas. Cornell was two weeks away from playing professional basketball in Portugal when he suffered a career ending injury. Soon after the injury Cornell decided to devote his life to coaching the game of basketball. In 2004 he was hired as the head men’s basketball coach at Sussex County Community College.
Although just his first coaching job, Cornell helped lead the Skylanders past the first round of the playoffs in 3 out of his 6 season. Cornell’s 2008 team broke various school records including, most wins in a season (20) longest winning streak (9) and the first team in SCCC history to reach the conference finals. Cornell currently is the most successful basketball coach in SCCC history. Cornell has helped develop over 6 all conference players at SCCC and a two time All-American and region MVP.
One of the biggest accolades of Cornell’s coaching career at SCCC happened in his second season. His 2005-2006 team won the coveted Sam Shoenfeld Sportsmanship award. SCCC became the first two year school since its incipience to win the award. The award is given to a team that has displayed exemplaray sportsmanship boh on and off the court. Previous recipients include Harvard, Rutgers, and Princeton.
Cornell is currently an assistant coach under Joe Mantegna at Blair Academy. Blair Academy has produced over 40 division one players throughout Coach Mantegna’s tenure, and 3 current NBA players. (Luol Deng/Charlie Villenueva and Royal Ivey) Coach Mantegna is very well known not only in the state of NJ for his basketball knowledge, but the country. For Cornell it was an opportunity to work with Division 1 players on a daily basis, and also be mentored by one of the premier coaches in the United States.
Around the same time Cornell started coaching at Sussex County Community college he started Crossroads Basketball LLC. It was a way for him to give back and help players not only in the Sussex county area but throughout the state.
Cornell’s playing career didn’t start until his junior year in high school. He was cut from the Varsity team and sat the bench on junior varsity. It was the countless hours of working on his game that turned him from a bench player n high school to a first team all region player at SCCC. That commitment also helped him earn a full basketball scholarship to Minot State University in North Dakota.
After college he trained with a myriad of overseas and NBA players getting ready for the next level of his career. When the injury happened he was sidelined for 3 days before he was back in the gym shooting from a chair every day. Cornell’s own playing career has helped him become one of the best trainers in the country. He can relate to every player no matter what their skill level. Cornell has been the bench player and the star so he knows how to motivate both.
His very first client was a girl named Laura Ahern. She was a standout forward for Roxbury high school that was always in the gym trying to improve her game. After a brief introduction Cornell began training Laura almost every day. After her senior year of high school she was named Morris County player of the year and received a full scholarship to play Division 1 basketball at Wagner College. Through word of mouth Cornell went from having one player in his program to currently having over three hundred.
Cornell has trained every type of player from high level division one and professional basketball players to beginners. This past summer two of Crossroads Basketball’s very own signed contracts to play professionally overseas. Both Chelsea Snyder (VCU) and Sam Baranowski (MAINE) are currently playing in Switzerland and Germany. Crossroads Basketball also has over 30 kids that have gone on to play college basketball after high school.
Cornell teaches his players that there are no limits where they can go if they believe in themselves, have the right attitude, and work hard. Through Crossroads Basketball Cornell teaches players not only what it takes to be successful on the basketball court, but what it takes to be successful of it.
Besides basketball Cornell also has his own motivational website called Power Of Positivity. Each week Cornell writes a blog about his life experiences on and off the court. Cornell hopes that people can learn from his experiences, and having a positive outlook on life no matter what adversity they may face.