A Leader for DeAndre Thomas?

Chicago Westinghouse big man DeAndre Thomas is having a great senior season. Big numbers attract big attention, and one program just might be gaining the upper hand. <b>Details inside.</b><br>

Westinghouse High School head coach Quitman Dillard has seen big things from one extremely big player this season in Chicago, IL.  Dillard’s Warriors team is off to a 20-3 start thanks largely to their very large senior forward, DeAndre Thomas

“He’s having a great season,” Dillard said of Thomas and his final year at Westinghouse.  “Right now he’s averaging about 20 to 21 points per game, 12 rebounds and three blocked shots.”

What makes those numbers even more impressive for the unsigned senior talent is the fact that he’s posting them against significant defensive pressure each night.

“He’s being double and triple-teamed and handling it well,” said Dillard.  “Being the most dominant big man in the state he’s going to be double and triple-teamed.  He welcomes it and it only makes his teammates better.  DeAndre is a better than average passer for a man his size and he gets the ball to the right people and the right time.”

The three year varsity starter and two year captain has been working hard since last summer to make his final high school season a special one.  According to his coach, he’s dropped a significant amount of weight that has allowed him to be a better player at the high school level while vaulting his stock for the college level.

“He’s worked extremely hard,” a proud Coach Dillard boasted.  “He dedicated himself this summer after ABCD camp to lose 25 pounds and he really wants to be the best player he can possibly become.  Right now he’s down to 265-- I’d like to see him down to 240.”

As Thomas’ weight has gone down, interest in his game has gone up.  Kansas has entered the picture and according to Dillard, just might be Thomas’ current favorite.

“I would think Kansas is the front runner because of his admiration (and desire) to play for Bill Self,” said Dillard.  “Plus, I think being a part of the Kansas tradition is something that is very intriguing to him.”

So intriguing, in fact, that Thomas just might make a visit to Lawrence later this month.

Dillard indicated Monday that Thomas could be in the process of lining up a visit to Kansas, but the Jayhawks aren’t the only program Thomas would like to see up close.

“He also likes Illinois and Florida State,” added Dillard.  “Florida State has been in numerous times.  Illinois has been in several times as well.”

Dillard pointed at Seton Hall, USC and Georgia as being other teams in the mix for Thomas’ services.  So, what will the most important factor be in making this decision?

“I think what’s most important to him is a chance to come in and make an impact immediately,” said Dillard.  “After speaking with Bill Self we noticed that Wayne Simien is a senior and right now there’s nobody else out there better than DeAndre at providing that inside game.”

Check back soon for more on this rising star from the class of 2005. 

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