Cats not counting on Thomas

Lance Thomas will almost assuredly wait until the spring to make a decision. Although he has made most of his visits, the forward from New Jersey is still undecided. What does this mean for the Wildcats and their pursuit of Thomas?

Several sources have indicated that by waiting that the Wildcats will back off the talented forward, if not drop their pursuit of him entirely.

There is some precedent here. A few years ago power forward Davis Nwankwo wanted to commit to Arizona but his parents had other schools they preferred. Nwankwo chose to wait until the spring and Arizona decided that he wasn't worth waiting for.

Thomas is a much better player than Nwankwo, but there are several similar players in the 2007 class that Arizona will turn their focus on. I personally cannot say if the Cats would still take a commitment from Thomas if he chose to commit before an 07 recruit did, but all sources indicate that they will at least back off Thomas.

So why is Thomas waiting? No one seems to really know for sure. The scenario that the family is putting forth is that there are so many good schools that Thomas just can't decide. That is true, at least partially. One has to think that Thomas wants to see what will happen at the schools on his list. Will a Josh McRoberts or a Rudy Gay go pro? Are all of the coaches that are recruiting him going to be there next year? Which program gives him the best chance to play and win?

You also have to wonder if he isn't keeping his eyes open on professional basketball. Although the NBA is not a possibility, Thomas could play overseas or in a minor league for a year. He could also go to a prep school and await the NBA draft. He's a top-20 player right now and a great senior season could propel him to some interesting offers.

Now the Cats will turn their attention to the talented players in the 2007 class. If they want players who most resemble Thomas, then Alex Tyus and Gary Johnson are the guys. Tyus has the same build as Thomas and a similar game. Tyus is more of a true four, while Thomas has a better face-up player. Tyus is quick, athletic and can hit the glass. He uses his length, quickness and athletic ability to get the best of bigger players inside.

Johnson has drawn comparisons to Shawn Marion and you can think of him as the "Matrix Reloaded". Johnson does not have the freak explosiveness that Marion does, but how does? That's not too say he can't get up, because he can. He has the length and the rebounding knack to be mentioned in the same breath as the Phoenix Suns star.

Another combo forward who the Cats seem to covet is Kyle Singler. Singler is more of a small forward but has the size and strength to log minutes inside. Singler is one of the most versatile players in the class, able to pass, score and rebound.

Although Alex Jacobson is already in the fold, the Cats could still decide to go big and athletic. They won't add a pure post player but there are some tall, quick posts in the mix. Kevin Love may not wow you with his speed, but he's deceptively quick and can get the break started with is passing ability. He can also knock down the three and would be an interesting fit in the four out/one in offense the Cats have been running.

DeAndre Jordan and Anthony Randolph are both tall, quick and still developing. Both can easy slide from the four to the five.

If one of the more pure inside players are added, a pure wing could be on the menu. The Cats love Jamelle Horne, while Chase Stanback and Drew Viney are among the many players the Wildcats are still evaluating.

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