Jamel Thomas arrived at Providence as one of the lesser known recruits in a class that included God Shammgod, Derrick Brown and Ruben Garces, but by the time he left, he was the Friars' third leading all-time scorer. Thomas was a major cog as a sophomore on the Friar team that raced to the Elite Eight, and his corner jumper against Arizona in the Regional finals sent the game into overtime. Thomas earned Second Team All-Big East honors as a junior, and then moved up to First Team honors as a senior. In his final season, Thomas carried the Friars, averaging 22 points, with a career-high 38 points in an overtime win at Villanova. For his career, Jamel averaged 15.9 points and 5.9 rebounds in a PC uniform.
Thomas appeared in the NBA from 1999-2000 (three games for the Boston Celtics and four for the Golden State Warriors) and 2000-01 (five games with the New Jersey Nets), holding career averages of 8.5 minutes, 2.6 points and 1.8 rebounds per game. He was also signed by the Cleveland Cavaliers and Portland Trail Blazers (1999-00) and the Utah Jazz (2000-01).
Subsequently, after two seasons in the CBA and ABA and his New Jersey spell, Thomas moved overseas, mostly playing for teams in Turkey, Greece and Italy. In 2006-07 he played for Besiktas ColaTurka Istanland Angelico Biella.