Rob Thomas Big East-Bound

Rob Thomas surprised many by staying at South Kent for summer school instead of being a fixture on the circuit this spring and summer. Now the 6-foot-6 1/2 forward pulled another shocker.

Loyalty won out for Rob Thomas.

The 6-foot-6 ½, 190-pound South Kent (Conn.) senior forward committed to South Florida despite having numerous high-majors keeping tabs.

``They were always there and never backed off of me," Thomas said. "All the other schools backed off because of my weight."

``They were the only ones that stuck with him the whole time," South Kent coach Raphael Chillious added. "It's great get for them."

Thomas was arguably the best player in the prep school ranks two years ago when he played at St. Thomas More (Conn.). However, he put on weight and started to fall in love with his perimeter shot – and schools started to drop off.

Chillious said that Thomas has dropped about 20 pounds in the last few months and he's also started to make academics a focus.

``Even through difficult times, South Florida stayed with him," Chillious said. "Even when he got depressed after gaining the weight. We also did a lot of research and found out that South Florida will be able to give him the academic support he needs in college."

One of the key factors was South Florida assistant coach Julius Allen – who, like Thomas, is a New York native.

``I thin I'll fit in well there," Thomas said. "Plus, it's in th Big East."

``Rob wanted to do something no one expected," added Chillious. "It was just like no one expected him to take care of his business this summer and that's exactly what he did."

``He's lost a lot of weight and has started to get his explosiveness back," Chillious continued. "Once again, he's a man among boys – with a jump shot."

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