Heading into the summer basketball circuit as a relative unknown -- outside of his native New Jersey -- to those who follow high school basketball recruiting, Quintrell Thomas was already known by the guys that matter most, college coaches. Now, after a successful summer stint with New Jersey Elite, the 6-8 forward from national powerhouse Elizabeth (NJ) St. Patrick has also earned some notoriety with recruitniks.
Truth be told, Thomas isn’t all that worried about whether or not he’s being written about or discussed because he’s confident in his abilities. Still, he admits it felt good to build upon a breakout junior campaign.
“I think I did real good,” said Thomas of his summer play. “During the season was my real coming out party. Over the summer I’ve been playing against some of the top players and it’s proving even more that I belong. It is nice to get some recognition for it.”
Having had the opportunity to coach Thomas during the summer, Galen Smith knows the bouncy and aggressive forward’s game as well as anybody. According to Smith, Thomas is the type of recruit schools are looking for both on and off the court.
“I think he’s a really good rebounder, a great rebounder,” Smith told Phog.Net. “He’s a big time athlete and I know that it’s a cliché that a lot of people use, but he’s a better kid than he is a player. He’s got a super attitude and work ethic. He’s made some enormous advances over the past few years.”
Apparently, Thomas has only gotten serious about hoops in the past couple of years and Smith sees a player with plenty of upside. The athleticism and aggressive nature are there, Thomas just needs to refine his low post game.
“His upside is tremendous. He’s 6-8, cat quick, athletic and he’s only scratched the surface,” said Smith. “When he gets into game situations he really leaves it all out on the court. He’s a strong player, but he wants to get stronger. This summer he probably put up 20 and 10 a game but he did it without refined offensive skills.”
Among the schools that have taken interest in Thomas are Rutgers, Maryland, Seton Hall, Pittsburgh and UNLV. Also showing considerable interest are Bill Self’s Kansas Jayhawks and Thomas has done his homework on Kansas.
“I know they develop their players, everybody on their team is always good,” said Thomas of Kansas. “They are also a historic school which is good. I couldn’t tell you about what their campus looks like though.”
While he can’t yet describe KU’s campus, that will soon change. Thomas is planning an unofficial visit to Lawrence at the end of August. Along with touring the campus and meeting the current players, Thomas is looking forward to getting to know the Kansas coaches a little better.
“More than anything I talk to coach Dooley, every now and then I talk to coach Self,” said Thomas. “They tell me a little bit of everything. We talk about my strengths and weaknesses and they tell me about my upside and how they can help me improve.”
Thomas had initially planned to make a decision once he’d finished up playing summer ball in late July but recently decided to wait a little longer. Now, he’s hoping to have a decision sometime in the first couple of weeks in September and will be looking at several factors when he makes his decision.
“I want to go far enough to feel like I’m on my own and that I’m independent so distance doesn’t really matter,” said Thomas. “I don’t really want to be on too small a campus or too big a campus either. Also, I want to know that the coach is going to be staying there.
You don’t want to go somewhere that plays one style and then have a new coach come in who plays differently. To reach my maximum potential I need to play for a coach who likes to get up and down.”