So, maybe the name Isiah Thomas (and variations thereon) isn't the most original when it comes to basketball, but, unlike the original and the sequel, this Isiah Thomas is a relative unknown.
Or, at least he was, prior to the Double Pump Spring Classic.
On a fateful Saturday at the end of April, the 2015 prospect with a 3.0 GPA out of San Lorenzo (Calif.) KIPP King (with an enrollment of just 475 students) made quite the impression on a bevy of college coaches in attendance, blocking shot after shot, cleaning up down low and scoring 15 points for the Oakland Rebels 16U team. Then, the mail started coming.
"Since that one game, I've been getting a lot of letters, a lot of people saying they looked at me, and it happened really fast," Thomas told Cal Sports Digest on Tuesday. "It came out of nowhere. I was like, ‘Woah.'"
Thomas attends a charter school, and plays in front of mostly friends-and-family crowds, but seats at KIPP King games may be hard to come by next season.
"I heard from Stanford, I heard from Rice University, I heard from San Jose State, Santa Clara, San Diego and LSU," Thomas said. "There are times I notice that there aren't a lot of people who come to games, but I still play hard. It's better when people watch, and come out to see me. I feel better when people come and watch, to be honest. Sometimes I wish more people would come out, but whoever comes out is great."
At 6-foot-7, 235 pounds, and owning a pair of size-14 clodhoppers, Thomas – who just turned 16 on Tuesday – is more focused on his upcoming driver's test and studying for next week's final exams than he is recruiting, but after garnering so much attention, he's starting to pay more and more attention to where he may wind up in college.
"My mom thinks it's kind of confusing," laughed the loquacious Thomas. "She's happy and all, but it came out of nowhere. She's kind of the same as me, like, ‘Woah.'"
One of the coaching staffs that saw Thomas tear up the court was that of California, which is expected to get into contact with the power forward once the incoming juniors are allowed to be contacted on June 15.
"Whenever Cal or Stanford come on the TV, I try to watch," Thomas said. "I'm usually not at home, though. I'm usually at practice or the gym, but whenever I have time, I watch."
Despite growing up in the Bay Area, Thomas admits he grew up watching Georgetown, which still holds a special place in his heart.
"I always liked Georgetown, ever since I was little," Thomas said. "I just like how they play. Back in the day, I watched them, and still, to this day, I always try to see them."
While an offer from the Hoyas would be big, Thomas said, he's content to be wanted by so many programs, so early.
Playing for the Rebels has helped to hone parts of Thomas's game, particularly his low post moves, which will be key once he sprouts to an expected 6-foot-9 or 6-foot-10.
"I've worked on my drop step a lot, and I've been focused on my progression with that," Thomas said. "I'm trying to make that my primary move."
After playing in a tournament in Cupertino, Calif., this past weekend, Thomas and the Rebels will travel to Oregon in two weeks, then Los Angeles twice for tournaments.
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