The gaffe of the night spoiled what was an otherwise very impressive performance from Westinghouse junior center, DeAndre Thomas. Thomas was on a breakaway and went up for a slam dunk, and just missed it off the back iron. As far as Thomas' game goes, he was listed at I think 6-8 when the announcers were commenting on his height, but he was no more than three inches taller than Brock. Thomas showed some solid footwork inside for a guy that weight 280 pounds. If he dropped about twenty-five to thirty pounds, Thomas would be a serviceable big man in the Big Ten by his redshirt junior season. I think he should be someone that the Illinois coaches keep an eye on just to see how he progresses as a possible back up plan to the other big men the Illini are recruiting in the Class of 2005.The news last week that Thomas was now an academic qualifier, as well as him being set to take visits to Kansas, Illinois, and Florida State piqued my interest enough to watch this game instead of some of the other college basketball fare on television Saturday afternoon.
DEANDRE THOMAS SCOUTING REPORT
Size: To say that DeAndre Thomas is big would be an understatement. As far as how I would describe his size, I would say that he would be a pretty big offensive lineman at Illinois. For a good comparison to a recent college basketball player, I would say former Florida State Center, Big Jelly, Nigel Dickenson would be the best comparison to Thomas in the size department.
Offensive Game: The one thing about DeAndre is that he has a very wide range of post moves, and is fleet of foot on the inside for someone his size. The move of the night game from DeAndre when he faked a shot, but extended the ball out in the palm of his hand like he was shooting, and after his man was in the air, he took the ball to the basket and drew contact. When it comes to free throw shooting, Thomas is a very good free throw shooter. He has a nice stroke from the free throw line, and that was where he scored most of his points on Saturday evening.
Defensive Game: The biggest downfall to Thomas is probably his inability to run the floor effectively. There were numerous defensive possessions when he would not even make it across half court before his team received possession of the basketball. When Thomas was able to get into the post, he did have an effect on every shot, and had a few blocks, but for someone his size, he was not a space eater off the glass.
School List?: According to the television announcers, DeAndre Thomas is now talking to big-time programs Illinois, Kentucky, Florida, and Florida State about his recruitment.
OTHER PLAYERS OF INTEREST
- The other player from this game that might be worth keeping an eye on for Illinois fans is freshman Jeremy Montgomery. Currently, High School Elite ranks him as the Number Two Freshman in the state that is playing varsity basketball.
- The Lincoln Park team was a very young team. Three of their other starters are sophomores and they are also listed among the top twenty players in the state by High School Elite, 6'6 Jelani Polston, 5'10 Michael Thompson, and 6'3 Jonathan Montgomery.