Gators Check In With Thomas

Finally settled in at Mountain State Academy, wing Shaquille Thomas has interest from several programs including Florida.

To say that it's been a wild year for Shaquille Thomas would be an understatement. The 6-foot-6 junior wing began the school year at Paterson Catholic before transferring to Montclair Prep. Ruled ineligible to play at Montclair, the skinny scorer made another move and has settled in at the Mountain State Academy in Beckley, WV.

Not surprisingly, there has been some adjustment involved in moving from New Jersey to rural West Virginia but Thomas says it has allowed him to focus on what is important.

"There's a community college. Then there's our school on the side of it," said Thomas. "There's not much to do. In Jersey you're out going to the malls or whatever. Here you are playing basketball or studying. It's kind of like Oak Hill."

Last summer, Thomas emerged at the Nike Hoop Jamboree in June. Capable of scoring off the dribble, he's a crafty finisher around the hoop with burgeoning athleticism and a much improved game off the bounce. Not surprisingly, he says that his recruitment has been pretty favorable.

"It's going pretty good, I've got a couple of new schools on me," Thomas told Figtin' Gators. "Florida, Virginia Tech, West Virginia, Clemson, Syracuse, Kansas and that's about it."

Saying that the Gators were one of his newest suitors, Thomas said that he and Florida are in the feeling out stages. However, he likes the early pitch he's getting from the Gators staff.

"They say that if I go there and work hard I could play," said Thomas. "They think I could come in and help them."

According to Thomas, he's slowing down his recruitment a bit for now to focus on adjusting to his new surroundings. After he gets settled in, then he'll start looking at his recruitment again and will likely make a decision in the late summer or early fall.

"It's pretty tough," said Thomas of the adjustment. "There's a guy from France, a couple of guys from Turkey and other places so it's tough adjusting. I think I'm adjusting pretty well though."


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