After DeAndre Thomas saw his high school career end in a Class AA sectional final loss to Chicago (IL) Crane he began looking forward to playing in the EA Sports Roundball Classic. The Reebok affiliated All-Star game features some of the top seniors in the country and it takes place in the 6-7 BF’s native Chicago.
What the beefy big man didn’t figure on was turning an ankle and limiting his ability to participate. The Chicago (IL) Westinghouse product turned an ankle early during Sunday’s workout and at the request of event director Sonny Vaccaro sat out Monday’s practice session. According to Thomas he’ll be ready to go Tuesday night.
“It hurts to sit and watch because I really want to play and prove myself,” Thomas told Phog.net. “I’m afraid it will look bad because I’m going to play in the game tomorrow. It was a good decision though because my ankle will be so much better tomorrow night and I should be able to play.”
Before he goes about the business of selecting a college, Thomas is looking forward to seeing what he can do on a stage like the Roundball Classic. A veteran of the shoe circuit and last summer’s USA Basketball Developmental Festival, Thomas is no stranger to playing with a lot of talent but games like this really trim the fat.
“I’ve got a lot of great teammates, Gerald Green, Nate Minnoy, Tony Freeman, Andray Blatche, Davon Jefferson and guys like that,” said Thomas. “I’m going to matchup against guys like Josh McRoberts, Tasmin Mitchell and Amir Johnson. There’s a lot of talent out there and you never know who you are going to play.”
“Everybody’s fast, everybody’s talented, everybody can shoot and everybody can dunk. So you never know who you will be sticking or who you will be out there with so you’ve got to be real aware. There’s a lot of NBA scouts and college scouts here and I’m unsigned so I’m trying to have a good showing to get a good college offer.”
Speaking of schools, Thomas says that things have remained pretty much the same. He still likes Kansas, Illinois, Georgetown, Florida State and some others but admits that Kansas and Illinois hold the edge but he isn’t really open to letting new schools in.
“Arizona called yesterday, I told them I’m open but it’s really too late,” said Thomas of Arizona trying to get involved. “After I did what I did this year there’s a lot of people trying to get in but I can’t just let people in. I’ll confuse myself if I do that so I’ll just stay where I’m at.”
In regards to Kansas, Thomas says that he still has an offer on the table and that he is looking to set up a visit. No date has been set yet, but he has discussed a possible visit with Bill Self.
“They just lost in the tournament so basically I’m waiting because they are on spring break,” said Thomas of a visit. “Coach Self said that since they are on spring break he really wants me to hang with the players and not the coaches. He’d rather I get a feel for how they act and who I’m going to be playing with if I do decide to go to Kansas so I’m just going to hold out.”
In the end, playing time is probably going to be the most important factor along with atmosphere.
“I’d like to play a lot so that will be important. Also the atmosphere and what the school is like and the academics will be real important.”