The connection between Iowa State and Mississippi guard Terryonte Thomas is not one that has been formed at random.
With a major need for guards in the 2017 class, Iowa State assistant William Small dug into his roots to find the combo guard Thomas, who hails from Columbus, Mississippi, just an 80-minute-or-so highway drive from Small’s hometown of Winona, Mississippi.
“I have a good relationship with him because he’s from Mississippi, so he really knows what it’s like down here,” Thomas said of Small. “He was recruiting me when he was at Murray State, so I really have a good relationship with him. He’s been telling me that I can really fit their play style and come in and work hard and earn my position because they’re losing guards after this [next year].”
Given his large 6-foot-4, 196-pound frame, Thomas isn’t a prototypical point guard, but many schools, including Iowa State, are recruiting him to be a combo guard and impact the game at both guard positions.
Thomas currently has offers from the likes of VCU, Southern Miss, UAB, South Alabama, Florida Gulf Coast and others. Many schools, including Vanderbilt, Texas and Ole Miss plan to further evaluate him beginning this spring.
“They’ve seen my highlights, so they’re pretty excited to see me play in person,” Thomas said of schools. “I always believe in just working hard and enjoying it and make sure I do well in the spring and the recruitment should pick up.”
Iowa State, which will is set to lose at least three guards following the 2016-17 season, is currently targeting and evaluating a number of guard prospects in the 2017 class. Small, who reaches out to Thomas about once every week, is expected to see Thomas play in Dallas later this month from April 15-17.
“They said they really liked my mid-range game and I can run both guard positions and I really fit their play style. They can move me around in their offense because I’m very diverse,” Thomas said. “Most of the colleges are telling me that I can play both guard positions. Some colleges are even telling me I’m big enough to even guard the wing position if they end up going small.”
Depending how Thomas’ recruitment unfolds with interest in the spring and summer evaluation periods, he’ll likely take trips later this year before making a decision sometime before his senior season at New Hope High School.
“[My dad and I] talked about making [visits] in September or October after all the evaluating periods go away in the summer and I have time to sit down and think about it,” Thomas said of his timeline. “I’d like to make my decision in the fall so I can focus on my senior season and my team.”