Ascension Parish community photo gallery for Oct. 30, 2014 _lowres

Photo provided by Anita Cann -- St. Amant Middle student Dallas Struppeck, left, looks up as basketball player Tyrus Thomas talks during an Oct. 16 visit to the school.

Former LSU basketball player Tyrus Thomas visited St. Amant Middle School Oct. 16 to talk to eighth-graders about respect and leadership.

Thomas said he was raised by his grandmother and mother and spent a lot of time alone. He said he was faced with many decisions early on, many not easy, but his decisions allowed him to be successful in life.

“Everyone should want to empower someone else,” he said.

Thomas started a nonprofit organization to help children do better academically and to provide character building.

Thomas played for the LSU Tigers as a starting power forward and was named SEC Freshman of the Year in 2006. Thomas’ professional career included seasons with the Chicago Bulls and Charlotte Hornets.

“Be respectful to get respect. Empower your peers and do good. When you do those things, success will come,” he said in closing.