Millard North’s Saint Thomas will play college basketball in Chicago. The 6-foot-7, 219-pound senior announced his commitment to Loyola (Chicago) in a commitment ceremony at the high school on Tuesday afternoon.
“I just thought it was a great fit for me,” Thomas said of his decision. “I talked to coach (Drew) Valentine a lot and he knows my game inside and out. I know he believes in me and wants me to come in and make a big impact.”
Thomas received an offer from Loyola on April 2, his most recent scholarship offer, and the same day former Loyola coach Porter Moser was announced as the head coach at Oklahoma.
“I love the city and they have obviously won at a high level, and I think they are going to continue that under coach Valentine,” Thomas said.
His relationship with Valentine is an established one. The former Michigan State graduate assistant and Oakland University assistant helped Loyola to a 99-36 record including three Missouri Valley Conference regular-season championships, two NCAA tournament berths and a National Invitational Tournament berth as the Ramblers de facto defensive coordinator the last four seasons.
Valentine has told Thomas he is the perfect fit for the style of play the Ramblers will want to play under the new head coach.
“He said they haven’t had a lot of players in the past that are as versatile as me and that really stuck out to him,” Thomas said. “He said they don’t have anyone on their roster that can do what I do: rebounding, scoring and passing. He likes my (court) vision and size (6-7). He thinks that will be a problem in the Missouri Valley.”
Thomas announced a top seven of Pepperdine, Mississippi State, TCU, SMU, VCU, Richmond, and New Mexico in September, prior to the November early signing period. His most recent offers came from Northern Illinois, Albany, Illinois State, Indiana State, Murray State, Old Dominion and Florida Atlantic.
In the end he chose Loyola over finalist Murray State, Old Dominion and Northern Illinois.
He helped lead Millard North to the school’s first state title earlier this month. He led the Mustangs in average rebounding (7.9), assists (5.2) and was second on the team in scoring (21.2).