Welcome to Crossroads Basketball

Time flies when you’re having fun. I seems like it was yesterday when my friend Maureen Hagan contacted me and asked if I would work with a group of local girls at Sussex County College. Assuming that this would just be a workout I had no idea that I would not only coach that same group of girls the next year, but ten years later would be working with hundreds of kids all over the state.

I started Crossroads Basketball to help kids get better. It wasn’t about becoming a millionaire, or getting trophies. We wanted to make sure that all our kids from the last kid on the bench to the leading scorer were prepared for whatever life threw at them on or off the court. Anyone can show kids how to shoot a jump shot but it’s rare to have a program that teaches what being a good teammate is about, or how to push past your own limitations. I came up with the name Crossroads Basketball because it brought me back to the injury that ended my playing career. I had a choice. I could sulk or fight. I chose to fight, and that’s what I wanted to pass on to the next generation. I’ve been fortunate to have amazing people in our program. From my wife Melissa who was my first assistant coach and does everything from our website to registration, to my two right hand guys Vinny and Randy who not only played for me at Sussex County College but have been coaching for me since the beginning.

Our motto has always been we want the kids that want us. We don’t travel to games recruiting; we don’t beg kids to stay in our program that want to try something different. We help whoever wants to be helped. With that being said I can honestly say we have been blessed with some of the most amazing people I could ask for. Yes we have had some great players. We’ve sent over 70 kids to play in college, and currently have two professional players in our program but that pales in comparison to the young men and women we’ve been honored to watch grow into adults. From police officers, teachers, coaches, and doctors our kids are making an impact long after their playing careers. Most of them return and give back to our program by coaching for us or doing clinics. They set the example for the players that are up next. I would like to personally thank all the amazing players and parents for being such an integral part of our program. For your volunteer work at tournaments, to your help with fundraisers, to Melissa’s baby shower we love you all.

My goal is for our little guy Bryce to wear a Crossroads Basketball uniform one day, and with all of you in our corner I know I’ll see that happen.

“The one that works when no one is watching

is the one that will be successful for the rest of his/her days”

Meet Our Team

Cornell Thomas
Cornell ThomasOwner

Crossroads Basketball was started 6 years ago 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. Six years ago he was hired to be the head men’s basketball coach at Sussex County College.

During his tenure at SCCC Cornell helped the Skylanders reach the conference finals for the first time in the history of the school, eventually losing by six points. The Skylanders have gotten past the first round of the playoffs in 3 of his six seasons and have set school records for most win’s in a season (20) longest winning streak (9) and Cornell currently has the most win’s of any coach in school history.

One of the biggest accolades of his career happened in his second year at SCCC when his 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 an institution for the best sportsmanship on the court, and chosen by the referees. Past winners were Harvard, Rutgers, and Princeton.

Cornell has helped develop over 6 all conference players at SCCC and a two time All-American and region MVP. Around the same time he was hired at SCCC he started training kids. Cornell currently is 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 in the state of NJ for his basketball knowledge, and for Cornell it’s an opportunity to work with Division 1 players on a daily basis and be mentored by one of the premier coaches in the country.

Cornell didn’t start playing basketball until his junior year in high school and spent hours and hours each day trying to get himself better. That determination and work ethic is what helped him reach one of his basketball goals which was to get a full scholarship to play in college, despite sitting JV as a junior in high school. Those qualities are the same ones that he saw in his first client 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 received a full scholarship to play at Division 1 Wagner College. Through word of mouth his more clients began to come, and now he has worked with hundreds of players through his individual sessions, summer camps, and clinics. Cornell has trained players on almost every level of basketball from beginners to semi professional players. Cornell and his staff have helped players not only get scholarships to play college basketball but also ones that just want to make their high school or recreational teams.

The goal at Crossroads Basketball will and always have been to help players reach the next level. That level is up to the player. We try to teach our clients that there’s no limit to where they can go if they put in hard work, determination, and have the right attitude.

At Crossroads Basketball, players learn not only what it takes to be successful on the basketball court but also what it takes to be successful of it.

Melissa Thomas
Melissa ThomasCoach
Melissa was a first-team All Conference player for Centralia County College in Washington State, where she averaged 20 points, 10 rebounds, and three assists per game. She went on to play at Minot State University where she averaged 11pts 8reb and 4asst per game while playing a pivotal role on a Minot State team that was nationally ranked two years in a row. Melissa has been part of the Crossroads family since its inception and helps out with the Sunday basketball clinics. Melissa has been an assistant for the Crossroads Basketball16U and 14U girls team for the past 6yrs. Melissa brings a lot of knowledge about not only the game of basketball but individual development to our staff.
Vinny Synol
Vinny SynolCoach
Vinny was a player under Cornell Thomas in his first year as head coach at Sussex County Community College. Vinny was not only named team captain but also played a pivotal role in the team’s semi final run in their conference tournament. Vinny has been part of the Crossroads family for the past 7 years. Vinny works all of the summer basketball camps, clinics, and helps with group and individual instruction. Vinny has been coaching the 15U girl’s team for the past 7 years and also coaches at Lafayette Middle School. Vinny recently received the assistant coaching job at his Alma matter. (Sussex County Community College) Vinny’s love of the game and work ethic has not only helped him as a player but also as a trainer, coach, and now newly appointed Girls Director of Basketball Operations at Crossroads Basketball.
Randy Jackson
Randy JacksonCoach
Randy played for Cornell during the 2005-2006 season. During that time Randy played a pivotal role on a team that had at that time the second most wins in school history (14) and for a team that reached the semi finals before losing to the eventual conference champions. Randy is in his third season as head basketball coach at Sussex County Community College. As a player Randy was very cerebral and had an extremely high basketball I.Q. His work ethic is second to none and he is a pivotal part of our programs success. Randy recently has been promoted to: Boys Director of Basketball Operations at Crossroads Basketball.
Alex Ferguson
Alex FergusonCoach
Alex is in his second season as head coach at Crossroads Basketball. Alex has been a coach for over 15 years through travel/rec programs. Alex has a passion for helping players achieve their goals and the game of basketball. We’re excited to have someone as experienced as Alex back in our program again.
Staci Ross
Staci RossCoach
Staci was a four year starter at Sparta Highschool and one of the winningest players in program history. Staci was a thousand point scorer for Sussex county hall of fame coach Fred Geffken, and a member of the team that lost to eventual state champion team Shabazz in the TOC quarterfinals. Staci was a third team all state player as a senior and received a scholarship to play at Rollins college in Florida, where she eventually became a starter. Staci comes from a basketball family and has a deep understanding of the game. A fierce competitor on the court, Staci’s passion and fire for the game is second to none.
Bree Cavanaugh
Bree CavanaughCoach
Bree was the first player I ever allowed to train with me under the age of 10 years old. At 8 years old I knew that Bree was special, not only as a player but as a person. Ten years later I get the opportunity to have her coach with us this spring. Bre was a 4 year starter at National Powerhouse Blair Academy, a first team Mapl and state player, Mc.Donalds All American nominee, Gatorade player of the year nominee, and Warren county player of the year. Bree has been a part of 8 championship teams at Blair Academy (4 Mapl and 4 State) Next fall she will continue her playing career at Rutgers University playing for Hall of Fame coach Vivian Stringer. As great as she is as a competitor and player that pales in comparison to who she is as a person.