If you ask Chicago (IL) Westinghouse star DeAndre Thomas about it, he’ll be quick to point out that individual awards don’t mean much and that he’s focused on a state championship. However, the 6-7 BF can’t help but be a little bit excited after being named the Chicago Sun-Times player of the year.
“It’s pretty nice, but really I wasn’t focusing on it,” Thomas told Phog.Net. “I was more focused on winning the city and state championships but if they are going to give it to me, I’ll take it.”
Obviously being named the Chicago player of the year is an impressive honor and it is hard to argue that Thomas doesn’t deserve it. Faced with questions about his weight and grades, Thomas has gotten himself into better shape on the court and academically and as a result he’s averaged 18.5 points and 10 boards a game while leading his team to city and regional championships and is ready to add a sectional title next.
“It feels good, but there’s a lot of pressure on me to produce for my team,” said Thomas. “I like having that pressure.”
Also taking notice of Thomas’ play are high major basketball programs and he lists Kansas, Illinois, Miami, Florida State, Georgetown and Seton Hall as the schools that have shown the most interest. According to Thomas he’s got offers from each school on his list.
Thomas likes what Kansas has to offer and he’s intrigued by the idea of possibly playing with a friend.
“I like Coach Self and the whole coaching staff. I like their whole style of play that they have, they get the ball inside and have some nice guards,” said Thomas of Kansas. “They’ve got Julian Wright going there too and he’s a good friend of mine. I’d love to play with him.”
However, one thing that Thomas isn’t willing to do right now is list a favorite even though it has been reported and speculated that Kansas could hold a slight lead over the pack.
“I don’t really want to call anybody a leader right now,” said Thomas. “If I say a leader then some schools who I like might look at me differently and I don’t want anybody to back off of me right now.”
As he gets closer to his goal of a state championship, Thomas knows that he’ll have to make a decision soon. He’s planning on deciding shortly after basketball season and has four official visits -- he has visited Purdue officially -- available if he wants to take some visits and is looking for the things that you would expect a big time recruit to look for.
“Are there people that I like, and the whole academic thing will be important,” said Thomas. “Of course the coaches and instead of treating me like a basketball player I want to see if people treat me like a regular student.”