Cats should make the cut

There is no doubt that Lance Thomas is a priority recruit for the Wildcats. They have been on the New Jersey forward for a long time and there is no doubt in his mind that they want him in a Wildcat uniform.

Josh Pastner has been on the 6-8 forward for years and Lute Olson was at every game he played in at the Big Time Tournament in Las Vegas. Thomas has noticed the attention.

"They are at every tournament that I am at, showing their support, showing how much they like me," Thomas noted.

Thomas has a large list of schools, but knows he must narrow it down in the upcoming list. Although some schools look safe to make the cut, Thomas professes no leaders at this point.

"I am pretty much wide open," Thomas claimed. "I plan on narrowing my list down to about five schools at the end of this month and decide by fall."

Wildcat fans have to wonder if the Cats are guaranteed to make the cut. According to Thomas there is nothing to worry about, Arizona is a lock for making the cut. "They are doing great," Thomas indicated. "They are doing real great. I really like the school."

One report said that Thomas and two other New Jersey stand outs, Derrick Caracter and Earl Clark, would go to in-state Rutgers to turn around that program. That may be a bit of a longshot, but Thomas has been playing with Caracter on the New York Panthers and it has been a great experience.

"It's great to play with one of my best friends Derrick, there's nothing better than that," Thomas said. "We've been talking about going to the same school. We've kept Rutgers in mind. It's a school in out back yard that we could both play at.

"Nine times out of ten that is probably not going to happen, us both going there, but we'll definitely keep that in mind."

Another school that has benefited from a package deal is Ohio State. The Buckeyes are a power forward away from their version of the "Fab Five" and Greg Oden and Co. have suggested that Thomas would make a nice final piece to the pie.

Duke is another program that gets a lot of run. The Blue Devils were a little late to offer up a scholarship, but Thomas is listening to what they are saying.

"They are a great program," Thomas said. "Basically I just have to sort out my options. It is a great school. A lot of players like the school and they have a great basketball tradition. You have to make sure it is the right place to be successful."

Thomas has long maintained that he would like to play the three down the line. He recognizes that he will probably need to be a small forward if he hopes to play in the NBA. Although he wants to be a wing, he knows he will be successful in college at the four.

"I'll probably be a three/four," he noted. "I think I am just a natural forward. I don't have a number."

Some have speculated that if the Wildcats receive a verbal from Chase Budinger, the wing from Southern California, that Thomas would be scared off. That seems to be far from the truth. After a battle between the two in Las Vegas, Thomas said that he would love to play with Budinger.

"He's good," Thomas said. "He runs the floor extremely well. He jumps really high. He came off a serious wrist injury and it doesn't even look like he was hurt the way he was stroking the ball. He's a good friend of mine. Every time I see him we always talk. I know him pretty well.

"I haven't had much time to talk to him about that (playing together), because we are always on the go," Thomas continued. "I am definitely going to talk to him about it because it would be great to play with him."

For now Thomas has a lot to sort out. It sounds as if a trip to Tucson is still in the works, but in the wacky world of recruiting anything can happen.

"I am going to look into everything," Thomas said. "My options are open. Nobody's really out of it yet."


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