Thomas Decision Primer & Picks

One last look Elijah Thomas' Tuesday decision and a pair of picks from Burgess & Easterling

Illinois is among the finalists for Lancaster (TX) center Elijah Thomas who will announce his decision on Tuesday afternoon at his high school. Here's an overview of Thomas from a scouting and recruiting standpoint.

The Specifics:

High School: Lancaster (TX)
AAU Team: Team Texas Elite
Overall National Rank: No. 30
Position Rank: No. 8
State Rank: No. 3 in Texas
Star Rating:
Announcement Time: 1:30 PM on Tuesday, October 21st

Scouting Report:

At first glance, what really pops about Elijah Thomas is his sheer size. At 6’9” 250 pounds Thomas is a big bodied post with wide shoulders that is a load to handle around the hoop. He is the ideal space eater on the interior to bang in the paint against physical opponents and open up opportunities for others. For his size, Thomas is a surprisingly good athlete that is light on his feet and actually runs the floor very well when healthy.

The Lancaster star is a skilled and powerful low post scorer. He has fundamentally sound moves on the block and can finish with either hand. His footwork is elite for a high school prospect and the result of a lot of hard work and time spent in the gym. His fundamentals in this area will open up a lot of options for him at the next level.

Thomas knows how to anchor getting deep post position and burying his man into the paint for easy finishes. He seals well and has displayed good quickness around the basket. When he gets the ball in his grip, it isn’t going anywhere as his hands are soft when receiving the ball, but it is difficult to rip the rock away from him. Thomas has developed a hook shot over the years that he likes to go to when he needs to mix his game up.

Overall, he is a powerful finisher that shoots a high percentage from the block. His mid-range jumper has potential as it has a soft touch, but it is far from a strength at this stage. The senior is a plus post defender that uses his body to keep his man out of the paint. He is also a big time rebounder that consistently clears the glass single-handedly. The biggest thing for Thomas at the next level will be to maintain a good weight and work ethic throughout his time in college to allow his skill and mobility to shine through.

Prediction:

Burgess: Texas A&M

I see this as a three horse race at this stage between Illinois, Oklahoma State, and Texas A&M. Illinois and Oklahoma State came into the official visits as the co-favorites. He enjoyed both visits and I believe after each of the trips those schools had the edge. Thomas and his mother loved the visit to Illinois and their vision for his future on and off the court. Oklahoma State gained momentum with the pledge of point guard Jawun Evans. In my opinion this wasn’t as big as some made it seem as they are friends, but it was never a sure-fire package deal. The last official visit went to Texas A&M which he attended with four-star shooting guard Admon Gilder, with whom he may even be tighter than with Evans. Shortly after the visit, Gilder verballed to the Aggies. The momentum late in the ball game is swaying Thomas to the SEC program. This has been an interesting recruitment to follow with twists and turns so it could be an interesting day on Tuesday.

Easterling: Texas A&M

The last visit is always a big ace in the hole to have for a program, because it doesn't give another program a chance to one-up that school in a subsequent week. Texas A&M by all accounts made a good impression on Thomas and Admon Gilder on their visits, and as the first school to ever offer Thomas, it wouldn't surprise me to see that play a bigger role than he originally thought. Lots of momentum surrounding the Aggies right now, but as Scott pointed out, this recruitment has taken several turns and each of his other main finalists have been considered a favorite at some point. Give credit to Thomas for seeing the process all the way through and taking all of his visits prior to his decision, but in the end I think he doesn't venture far from home.


Illini Inquirer Top Stories