Rob Thomas Stays Home

For a while, it appeared as though Rob Thomas was headed out of state for college. Not so fast. The South Kent (Conn.) 6-foot-7 forward is staying close to home after all.

Rob Thomas is staying home after all.

The 6-foot-7, 225-pound New York native committed to St. John's on Monday, a few months after reneging on his verbal pledge to South Florida.

``It's close to home," Thomas said. "And I like their style of play."

``Before I listened to other people and decided to go somewhere I didn't want to and make people happy," he added. "This time I did what I wanted."

Thomas was arguably the best player in the prep ranks as a sophomore while at St. Thomas More (Conn.), but he struggled in his first season at South Kent (Conn.) a year ago before regaining his form this season.

Thomas, who is currently out with a severely sprained left ankle, said that remaining in the area was critical.

``They have a staff in there at St. John's that is trying to get it done the right way," South Kent coach Raphael Chillious said. "They are trying to build in New York City inward."

``Robby is one of the biggest names in New York and it's a good situation for him," added Chillious. "They know what he did to get himself ready academically and they want to do everything to make sure it continues. They are going to look out for him off the court and he's never really had that until he got here."

Thomas, who has gotten most of the explosiveness back that he seemed to lose a year ago, received recent interest from Arizona, DePaul and Virginia Tech.

``Norm Roberts is a brilliant coach," Thomas said of his future coach. "He's trying to get all the city kids to go to St. John's and stay local."

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