More student-athlete rivalry stories:
Hope's David Krombeen | Wisconsin's Brooke Ammerman | UC San Diego's Lauren Freidenberg

GRAND VALLEY STATE  |  MEN'S BASKETBALL

James Thomas
6-2 | 180 | Sr. | G

• Who is your team’s biggest rival and why?
Ferris State is definitely our biggest rival. Every time we’ve played since I’ve been at Grand Valley State, the game has went down to the wire and it’s been really tough and competitive. We’re pretty much right down the road from each other and our players know each other, so that makes the rivalry even more interesting.

• What moment and from when is your best memory against Ferris State?
Last year, we played at Ferris State and it was close pretty much the whole game. We went into overtime and our point guard Breland Hogan made a real clutch shot to win the game for us 82-80. It was Senior Day for Ferris State, so they came out really excited and their fans were giving great energy and trying to fuel their team. That was a huge win for us, as it gave us home-court advantage going into our conference tournament.

• When did you realize this rivalry was so big?
I really didn’t know about the rivalry until I got to GVSU. The first time we played against Ferris State, we played at Van Andel Arena in downtown Grand Rapids, Mich., in front of close to 6,000 fans. After that game, I realized how big the rivalry was and it carried over to our next game at Ferris State, which was another great atmosphere. Both of our games last season went to overtime, which shows you how much fight each team had and how badly each team wanted to win those games.

What is your favorite college sports rivalry other than your school’s and why?
It has to be Duke-North Carolina. I’ve never been to one of those games, but I’ve seen them on TV and I see the atmosphere is incredible. The game is always a great game, no matter if it’s at Duke or North Carolina. They both have great fans and great arenas and they’re both at the top of their conference, year in and year out. It’s a long tradition between those schools -- just like our rivalry with Ferris State, the emotions are always high and both teams come ready to compete and bring their best effort.

Photos courtesy of respecitve school athletic departments.