We first heard about Quentin Thomas, 6-2 JR PG Oakland (Calif.) Oakland Tech, early last fall at the beginning of his sophomore year. We were told at the time that he might end up being a better prospect than Ayinde Ubaka, the #1 point guard in the 2003 class.
Unfortunately, we didn't get a chance to see Thomas play until last month, when we drove up to Berkeley to see him at the Cal team camp. We were glad we made the trip. As much as we like Ubaka, we have to agree -- Quentin Thomas is the top point guard prospect in the west regardless of class. Thomas has everything you look for in a point guard. He's got great size at 6-2 and he looks like he could grow a little more. A very live body -- long arms and very good quickness. A pure point guard, he handles and passes the ball very well, has great vision and he is always thinking one play ahead of everyone else on the court.
Thomas can stroke the ball from beyond the three-point line, or penetrate and score in the lane, but he's also unselfish. A pass first point guard who can score -- that's a rare commodity in college basketball. You'll find plenty of guys who'll pass all day long (because they can't score) or guys who can put up thirty themselves (but don't make their teammates better). What you can't find are too many point guards like Quentin Thomas -- players who understand the game and find that balance in the middle.
Thomas played alongside Armando Surratt last year, and Surratt played point guard, so Thomas didn't get much attention. His club team, the Oakland Rebels, is a fairly low-profile team. Consequently, not many people have seen Thomas play. Thomas hasn't played anywhere this month, as his father wanted him to focus on summer school. In our opinion, a very wise decision -- if Thomas never plays another game in the summer, he will still have his pick of colleges as long as he qualifies academically.
Thomas will play in the Elite Eight tournament at the end of this month in Berkeley. We don't expect many of the national recruiting types will make it to Berkeley, so Thomas may not get the national hype you'd expect with a player of his talents. But trust us on this one -- Quentin is the real deal. In the five years that we've been actively scouting West Coast talent, he is the best rising junior point guard prospect that we've seen.
We spoke with Quentin briefly at the Cal team camp and he told us that he's completely wide open at this point. He doesn't have any favorites for college and he has no preference in terms of staying close to home or going away.