Bay Area Duo To Visit Tempe

As the saying goes, one door closes and another opens. Such is the situation at ASU just days after Jason Horton made public his long-anticipated decision to attend Missouri. The Sun Devils have now turned their full attention to another elite point guard who will be officially visiting the Tempe campus along with a lifelong friend -- Tim Pierce -- also considering ASU among his favorites. DevilsDigest spoke with both prospects and has the latest developments in their recruitment.

One month ago, almost to the day, the Arizona State coaching staff was on its way to Las Vegas with an elite national point guard directly in its sights. While Jason Horton recently choose Missouri over Arizona State in a close fought battle, the Sun Devil staff still had an elite point guard squarely in its crosshairs. Only the name and origin of the player in question had changed, not the caliber of recruit.

In a rather dramatic and impressive turn of events, the Sun Devils have turned into a major player in what appears to currently be a three-way race with two of the biggest heavyweights in the college basketball landscape. top-ranked West Coast point guard Quentin Thomas, a 6-3 prospect out of Oakland Tech is now considering Arizona State along with Kansas and North Carolina as his three favorite schools, with an emphasis on "all three [being] equal" according to Thomas.

"I'm visiting ASU on [September] the 12th through the 14th," said Thomas. Me and Tim [Pierce] are going down there together. I'm going to Kansas later in the month (September 26) and I haven't set a visit for [North] Carolina yet, but it will probably be late in October. All three have offered."

While Kansas and North Carolina afford Thomas tradition and name-recognition that are almost unparalleled, one thing that may play a role in Thomas' recruitment is his relationship with Pierce, and the fact that ASU is the only school that is currently a strong player in the recruitment of both. "It'd be great to be able to [play with Pierce in college]" Thomas said. "Me and him have known each other ever since we were little, we've been playing together ever since we were little. We're like cousins." Are they related? "Well, basically."

Tim Pierce (pictured) knows about the opportunity as well. "That would be real cool, I know I'd like it, that's for sure," he said. Still, Pierce is keeping his options open and is considering several other schools including Illinois, Oregon and North Carolina-Charlotte. While he hasn't set up any other official trips as of yet, he plans on setting one up with Charlotte in the near future and others may come as well.

At 6-7 with a very nice basketball body and good athleticism Pierce is a player with quite a bit of upside, even pro upside potential, and a prototype small forward at the college level. In the wake of his father's passing earlier this year, Pierce dragged a bit at times on the court understandably, but there is no mistaking the natural ability he possesses. He can shoot the ball out to 20 feet and has moderate skills. Playing within a team concept and gaining a better understanding of time and situation are the areas in which Pierce's game need to improve the most at the next level.

Thomas is a long, athletic point guard, physically and stylistically somewhat similar to former Bay Area schoolboy legend Gary Payton, minus the flamboyance. He has nice hips and moves extremely well on the court. Thomas is the type of guard that can slide laterally very well, even in the air and it really helps him off of dribble penetration. Not only can Thomas score, however, he's a great facilitator of an offense and does a solid job of setting up his teammates.

Thomas' shot is mechanically sound, but just needs a little more attention and defensively, while he has the ability to be a lock-down stopper, he needs to show a higher level of intensity throughout contests. There is little doubt however, that he should be ranked among the top 50-75 players nationally, and his potential is enormous. DevilsDigest will closely follow the recruitment of these two Bay Area prospects and update their status following their official visits to Arizona State.

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