Elijah Thomas: Arizona's biggest 2016 sleeper

He has no scholarship offers yet but Sunrise Mountain 2016 wing prospect Elijah Thomas may eventually be viewed as the best Arizona has to offer in the class.

Ask people around Arizona who the best prospect is in the state's 2016 class and an overwhelming majority will mention one of two teammates at Gilbert Christian High school: guard Cameron Satterwhite, who is committed to Colorado and post player Mitch Lightfoot, who was recently offered by Kansas after decommitting from New Mexico.

It's very possible though, the best prospect is clear on the other side of The Valley and has not one scholarship offer to his name and very little recruiting attention thus far: Peoria Sunrise Mountain wing Elijah Thomas.

Don't expect Thomas to stay under the radar much longer. He's far too talented.

A 6-foot-5, 205-pounder, Thomas averaged 19.1 points, 7.2 rebounds and 2.6 assists as a junior for the 25-4 Mustangs.

"There are some schools that have been in contact with me," Thomas said. "Weber State, Cal State Fullerton called me. There's another school I forgot but there's been a few schools texting and calling me. Some more schools did reach out after this last weekend (playing with the Arizona Magic in a Los Angeles-area AAU event)."

Thomas is a high level athlete with a great basketball frame, huge hands and a self-reported 6-foot-11 wingspan. He's young for his class and won't turn 18 until after he graduates high school. His father is believed to be about 6-foot-10.

From a skill set standpoint, Thomas shows hints of being able to do it all. He's got a nice stroke out beyond 3-point range, can put the ball on the floor, makes pull up jumpers, scores at the rim -- and plays above the rim -- and works on the defensive end and glass.

Full discloser, it's not all there all the time now, but the promise of it becoming consistent certainly is.

"I feel like I've made a lot of strides because I started playing basketball in seventh grade," Thomas said. "Especially since I got to high school I've made a lot of strides, like my freshman year. I was in the gym a lot with my high school coach. That's where it took off from there."

One of the most intriguing things about Thomas is his unusual tendency to drive the ball to his left when attacking the basket even though he's right handed. It is yet another sign of his significant long term potential.

"I don't know where that came from, all I know is my coach told me to develop your left and that's just what I've done naturally," Thomas said. "I drive right but just like to go with my right. I'm working on finishing with my right more often. People are starting to notice I go left, that's when I will get them going right and they won't know what's coming."

Thomas said he looks up to LeBron James for reasons that are wholly understandable and go beyond just his superstardom or seemingly supernatural athleticism.

"I look up to Lebron because of his work ethic," Thomas said. "If I want to make it to the next level I know I have to put in the time and do the work just to get there. You've got to keep working hard and grinding."


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