Thaddeus Hall dreamed of shining under the bright lights of major college basketball. He played it out in his head growing up on the tough streets of Brooklyn.
It crushed the talented wing when he failed to meet academic requirements out of Jefferson High, keeping him from his South Carolina commitment and forcing him to prep school. Then, after spending the 2012-13 season at Believe Academy (Rock Hill, S.C.), his grades still fell short of NCAA Division-I standards.
Hall thought about walking away from the game he loved. Instead, he remembered the struggle. He survived two years living in a homeless shelter as a teenager. He pushed forward.
Jones County Junior College in Mississippi welcomed Hall for the '13-14 campaign. The 6-foot-4 freshman's 15.7 point per game led the Bobcats, who won the national championship in March.
"Coach Fran and Trey are really happy that I'm looking at them. Trey is just happy that I have a chance to go to school with him. He keeps telling me to commit," Hall said.
Hall's breakout winter opened up more doors in recruiting than he had coming out of high school. He's reported scholarship offers from Baylor, Dayton, Iowa, Miami, Mississippi State, Texas and others.
"Being a left-handed basketball player is a gift. Nobody can stop the left hand," Hall said with a laugh. "My jump shot has unlimited range. I feel like I'm a very crafty player with a strong Eurostep."
While Hall's recruitment is open, Iowa sits in a good position with the athletic New Yorker. Hawkeye Head Coach Fran McCaffery leads the program's recruitment and incoming point guard Trey Dickerson, also from the Big Apple, is a good friend.
"Coach Fran and Trey are really happy that I'm looking at them," Hall said. "Trey is just happy that I have a chance to go to school with him. He keeps telling me to commit."
Hall said that he and Dickerson played for the same AAU program from the eighth grade on.
"He's my brother," Hall said with a laugh.
Hall still is familiarizing himself with Iowa. He only knows what he's seen on TV to this point.
"Every time I watch college basketball, they're a top 25 team," he said. "I'm looking for a school with great fans. I also want to be surrounded with great people and be in a great atmosphere. I hear they have that."
Hall, who is unsure of his college major, still is choosing which schools he will visit. That decision likely will come sooner rather than later.
"I'm going to commit before the season or right after. I really want to get it out of the way so I can focus on my upcoming season," he said.