Thomas performs well at pickup

It might be football Saturday, but recruiting prospect Lance Thomas was on display during an informal pickup game at McKale Center. Thomas more than held his own, and illustrated many of the skills that have made him one of the nation's highly coveted recruits.

The 6-7 Thomas is on his official visit to Tucson and got to match his skills with current Wildcats. His versatility was apparent in the first three pickup games, as he went head to head against players with very different styles.

In the first game, Thomas went up against Marcus Williams, the player who perhaps most mirrors his basketball tendencies. Williams played very well and kicked off action with a 15-foot jumper over Thomas from the elbow. Thomas had a breakaway dunk courtesy of a Mustafa Shakur steal and assist, and bailed Shakur out with a follow on a miss from the point guard for the game-winner.

In game two, Thomas matched skills with another incoming freshman, Fendi Onobun, who probably got the better of the matchup. Onobun got a nice roll from a 15-footer at the baseline and later in the game hit a mid-range jumper over Thomas off a screen. Thomas was not without bright spots, and certainly showed an athleticism and spring that can get him to the rim with regularity.

As the afternoon progressed, Thomas got to showcase his skills against larger players. He drained a couple bank shots over Kirk Walters and looked very comfortable when he squared off against Ivan Radenovic.

In game three, Thomas teamed with Jesus Verdejo, JP Prince, Williams and Mohamed Tangara, and that group got the win over a crew that featured Hassan Adams, Shakur and Chris Rodgers.

All told, Thomas appears to have a good handle, solid touch from mid-range, the ability to get to the rack on the drive and for rebounding, and a nice awareness of the open man. Thomas also appears to possess an ability to get into a rhythm, and as such, looks to be capable of scoring in bunches.

In other items from pickup:

Onobun continues to intrigue. He may remain a player without a position, but it's apparent he's an athletic freak who has a decent mid-range touch and a knack for rebounding, and when he clears the glass there's no question who's in control.

Williams was impressive. He has a nice touch from the arc in, uses the glass well, and had one of the moves of the day, a left-handed no-look reverse layup from the baseline. He also seems to have a bit of a competitive streak is the afternoon's pickup was any indication.

In addition to being the class clown, JP Prince illustrated why he could be a valuable defensive commodity. He seems to possess a definite understanding for the game, and often caused problems with his length. On consecutive possessions, he blocked a Shakur jumper and stole the ball from Chris Rodgers on a drive in the paint.

Mohamed Tangara appears to be coming along and certainly has a knack for rebounding, as advertised. It's difficult to tell how well he can run the floor, and how his conditioning is at this stage, but he did make himself available for some easy looks underneath.

Thomas,'s No. 19 prospect out of St. Benedict's in Jersey, has a list that includes Duke, Arizona, Georgia Tech, Connecticut, Florida, Rutgers, Villanova and St. John's.

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