Charles Thomas Ready to Announce

HI.com recruiting writer Dudley Dawson brings you an update on the eve of Charles Thomas' decision. Where will the "Manimal" go to college?

Charles Thomas, the 6-8, 230-pound Nike All-American combo forward from Jackson, Miss., Callaway, said Tuesday that he will announce his decision between Arkansas and Florida State Wednesday afternoon at 3:30 p.m. at his high school.

"Those are the only two schools that I am considering," Thomas said. "They are two great choices. I can't go wrong either way."

Thomas, who also visited Georgia, said Florida State was by far and away his frontrunner going into his official visit to Arkansas last weekend.

"That's the way it was, but by the time I left they were no longer the frontrunner because of what I got a chance to see at Arkansas," Thomas said. "The best way to put it right now is that both are tied for first place."

Thomas said that both schools have things that make him want to be a part of their programs.

"Both of them are top notch schools that have programs that are going to be very, very good," Thomas said. "I would say that Arkansas has the best facilities, including this new videoboard that they are putting up that is shaped like a net. That is really cool. There is nothing like it in the nation that I have seen. And (UA head) Coach (Stan) Heath is very cool and I like being around the players they have a lot.

"There are certain aspects about Florida State that I like also," Thomas continued. "They have good facilties is well and Florida's a great place. They also got a good coach and like Coach Heath, he really cares about his players. It's going to be tough to tell one of those guys I'm going to the other place."

Thomas averaged 14 points and 8 rebounds this past season for Jackson Lanier before transferring back to Callaway, where he played as a sophomore.

Arkansas and Florida State both have plans to use him different ways according to Thomas.

The Razorbacks have commitments from 6-10, 265-pound Al Jefferson of Prentiss, Miss., 6-11, 252-pound Steven Hill of Branson, Mo., and 6-10, 235-pound Darian Townes of Hargrave Military School.

If they land Thomas, it would be second-year head coach Stan Heath's fifth top 100 recruit since 6-6, 205-pound wideout Marcus Monk, who is signing a football scholarship in Feb., will walk on after his gridiron season ends.

"Arkansas wants to play me at the three (small forward) most and that's exciting because I think that is where I would play if I was ever fortunate enough to get to the NBA," Thomas said. "They've got some big guys coming in - like my AAU teammate Al Jefferson - and it seems like it would be a great situation for me.

"Florida State has talked about me playing the four (power forward) because they don't really have that many big guys," Thomas said. "They said I could and would also play a little three. It's something to really think about."

Thomas is doing his best to not tip his hand on his decision.

"I guess everybody will just have to wait and see," Thomas said.

Dave Telep, the recruiting analyst for TheInsidersHoops.com who has Thomas ranked as the 45th best player in the country, says that either Arkansas or Florida State is getting a great one.

Telep was the first one to dub him "Manimal", a nickname Thomas loves.

"He is one of my favorites," Telep said. "I liken his game to Charles Oakley. He's a nice kid off the court, but on it he can get mean and nasty. He can rebound, take it down low and also step out and hit a three. I think he is going to be a great college basketball player."


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