It’s been a big week for Westinghouse High School head coach Quitman Dillard and his star player DeAndre Thomas. Earlier this week, the duo took part in the 41st annual Roundball Classic in Chicago. Both coach and player contributed for the East squad in a game where the West All-Stars prevailed 136-119.
“Yes, he did (enjoy himself),” Coach Dillard said of Thomas. “It was a great experience for the both of us. I enjoyed being an assistant coach for the East team.”
Thomas fought through an ankle sprain suffered earlier in the week en route to snagging five boards and shooting 3-9 from the field.
Now that the all-star game is behind them, both Thomas and Dillard can focus on finding the right fit for the 6-8, 270 forward. Coach Dillard has agreed to accompany Thomas on any upcoming visits the senior star might make to offer some advice from an experienced perspective. Dillard played basketball at St. Louis University when he was Thomas’ age.
“My role in this is just to go visit the schools with him and advise him to the best of my abilities,” said Dillard. “With me being a former Division one athlete, I know what to look for and will try to advise him of that.”
So, what’s the best advice Dillard currently has to offer?
“Go where you’re needed and not just wanted. If you go where you’re needed, your skills will be used right away.”
Plenty of schools want Thomas, but only one will ultimately land him. Kansas, Illinois and Georgetown all appear to be in very good position to land Thomas’ services, but as Dillard indicated, a lot can still change.
“Right now I consider Georgetown and Kansas sitting pretty good, right now. It could all change though.”
Does that mean the ‘Hawks and Hoyas are in front of Illinois?
“I consider all three to be in the same boat,” said Dillard.
Dillard anticipates Thomas making a trip to check out both Kansas and Georgetown up close, but he might not stop there.
“He could drive down to Illinois and probably Missouri,” Dillard said. “He does have a scholarship offer from Arizona but I don’t know if he’s considering it. Florida State is (being considered) as well.”
Earlier in the week Thomas indicated to Phog.net’s Eric Bossi that Kansas had offered him a scholarship. When Dillard was asked to confirm that report he offered the following:
“I spoke with the coaches and that’s pretty much accurate. Kansas is a school that he’s considering and is going to go visit within the upcoming weeks.”
Dillard wouldn’t elaborate on what he meant by “pretty much accurate” but did say that he felt that both he and Thomas held a high opinion of Kansas head coach Bill Self and his staff.
“(DeAndre) has a good rapport with him. I’ve known Bill Self for years and I’m a big fan of his.”
That rapport could be very valuable if Kansas wants to land Thomas. Ultimately, Coach Dillard expects Thomas to decide on a coach that will use him immediately and care for him both on and off the court.
“I think he’ll choose a place where he can come right in and play,” admitted Dillard. “It’ll be a place where his skills will be utilized and a place that needs a low post scorer. He also wants to go where the coaches are going to care about him as a person as well as a player. I know whatever choice he makes, it’ll be the best choice for him as well as his family.”