It has taken until his senior year in high school for Saint Thomas to come into his own as a basketball player. Perhaps because he spent a whole year playing the wrong sport.
As a freshman, Thomas’ dream was to be a Division I baseball player. That quickly changed when he was cut from the Millard North baseball team that same year.
“I just always used to think that was my route,” the 6-foot-7 senior said. “My freshman year I got cut from the baseball team. Thank God for that now.”
Nearly four years later, Thomas has fallen in love with the game and become one of the states best basketball players. He leads the top-ranked, 12-0 Mustangs in scoring (24.3), rebounding (7.8) and assists (4.9).
“I didn’t play summer basketball my freshman year. I just sat on my couch and played video games,” he said. “My mom always told me I needed to figure out what I needed to do with my life.”
As a sophomore, he averaged one point per game and played sparingly for the Mustangs varsity. After a growth spurt of nearly five inches and playing with the likes of Max Murrell (Stanford), Jadin Johnson, Hunter Sallis and Jasen Green in practice every day, he gained confidence during his junior season finishing with averages of 15.8 points, 6.6 rebounds and 4.2 assists.
He now credits some maturity and working on the game in his down time as to why he is one of the most sought after undecided players in the region as a senior.
Prior to the early signing day in November, Thomas had numerous offers including Omaha, South Dakota, Mississippi State, TCU, VCU, Richmond and others wanted his commitment. Thomas wanted to wait to see if the NCAA would lift their ban on in-person recruiting so he could see those schools for himself. The decision to not commit before the early signing day turned some schools away.
“A lot of the schools didn’t have room anymore and some schools got commits right away,” he said. “Some are waiting for the transfer portal so I understood that. It was hard to hear that. I wanted to be one of those kids that signed already, but I also wanted to wait to commit and be comfortable committing to a school for the next four years of my life.”
TCU tuned into the Metro Championship game and liked what they saw: a record breaking performance of 48 points.
“TCU told me after the Metro Championship that they had a scholarship open and I can take it if I want,” he said. “So they are back.”
Bradley offered a scholarship recently and has been recruiting him for some time.
“I have been talking to them for almost a year,” Thomas said of the Braves. “It is a good relationship. I haven’t gotten to see them in person yet and they know coach (Tim) Cannon really well. They talk to my mom and trainer a lot, the relationship is good.”
It took some time for Bradley to offer a scholarship because they only have one scholarship available for the 2021 class.
“They (Bradley) were really telling me they haven’t offered anyone since last year cause they like to offer in person but with COVID that changed their recruiting style.”
Murray State offered Thomas on Wednesday.
“My assistant coach said they were going to reach out to me and they reached out after the Abraham Lincoln (Council Bluffs, Ia.) game,” he said. “They were telling me how they need someone in my position and they are losing a wing that is a senior and that I can come in and make a big impact.”
Others that had previously offered like Omaha and South Dakota are back in the mix along with some that had been recruiting him and are yet to offer.
“I have been talking to Loyola Chicago, Tulsa, Omaha, South Dakota, Indiana State, Cincinnati, North Texas, New Mexico, Florida Atlantic and Minnesota.”