Could Thomas Be The 'X' Factor?

Doug Thomas has yet to lace up his Nikes in an Iowa uniform and people already have him factored in as a possible difference maker on next year's Hawkeye basketball team. Although that is probably an unrealistic assessment, what can we expect from this Compton, California board crasher?

My personal favorite nickname for an Iowa basketball player is back in the George Raveling era when he brought in Gerry Wright, AKA 'Sir Jamalot'. Gerry had a game above the rim and was famous for his thunder dunks. However, his offensive game was limited as he didn't have a jump shot. Therefore, he entered the Navy rather than the NBA after his Iowa career was over. Although Gerry was very articulate and became an instructor at the U.S. Naval Academy, I will always remember him as 'Sir Jamalot', the one with cartwheel dunks.

This is where Doug Thomas comes in because his game is much like Wright's. Physically, he is maybe an inch taller than Gerry, but much, much thicker as Doug currently packs 235 pounds or so on his 6-8 frame. This is, of course, before he enters an intensive weight training regimen at Iowa.

"Doug Thomas is very similar to Andre Hutson coming out of high school" said Van Coleman of FutureStars. "Except that Doug has a vertical jump that is 12" more than Andre's. He is a great athlete, a good outside defender and a great board man but his offensive game is pretty much limited to slam dunks. He is a great finisher, up close around the basket. His prep team had 8 or 9 college prospects and yet his teammates threw him the ball enough for him to average over 20 points. So he can finish! However, he can't start anything on his own as he can't create his own shot" added Coleman.

In addition, before Doug can work on his game at Iowa, he has to receive a qualifying test score. He has taken the test and should know within the next 10 days or so. His core appears to be in order at Faith Academy in Creedmore, North Carolina. As Otho Lyons related to Josh Clark, "An example of what kind of a kid Thomas is, he wrote a note to the coaches thanking them for all they had done for him as a player and as a person."

In projecting out a couple of years, how would the addition of Doug Thomas affect the other players. Specifically, I asked Van Coleman whether Greg Brunner could play the 3 position. "He has a nice jump shot now but will need to work on other parts of his game in order to play on the wing. He does, however, remind me of a young Dan Majerle" added Coleman. Majerle was known as 'Thunder Dan' for his physical play and monstrous dunks for the Phenix Suns in the NBA. However, Dan could stroke the three and handle as a guard. "Greg will have to work on his feet, his ball handling and extending his range if he is to emulate Majerle. However, don't underestimate Greg's work ethic as no one will work harder than Greg" added Coleman.

Now that Lord of the Rings and it's two medieval sequels will be filling the movie screens in the near future, it is comforting to know that the Iowa Hawkeyes will have their own knight in shining armor to protect the paint at Carver-Hawkeye. Doug Thomas looks to be a re-incarnation of 'Sir Jamalot', coming to a basketball arena near you.

Add a 'Thunder Man' and the Hawks may be heading back to the Holy Grail of the Big Ten Conference Crown.

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