Thomas Enjoying Strong Senior Season

By signing with the University of Kansas during the November signing period, Quintrell Thomas made things a little easier on himself. With his recruitment taken care of, the physical forward from Elizabeth (NJ) St. Patrick has stepped up as a leader during a fine senior campaign while doing his best to keep up with the Jayhawks during his spare time.

Having emerged as a go to player for a powerful St. Pat's squad, Thomas is pleased with his play to this date even if he doesn't always get the minutes he's hoping for.

"Everything is going real well, especially when we play good teams," said Thomas. "When we don't and we have to play against teams that aren't too good I end up going out early in like the third quarter because the coach doesn't want our starters to get hurt."

Known for his raw power and explosive athleticism around the hoop, Thomas has been hard at work extending his game beyond dunks, rebounds and blocked shots. As his overall game rounds into shape he credits both his work ethic and simple experience after picking up basketball late.

"My free throw shooting and my moves down low in general along with my ball handling and passing have gotten better," said Thomas of his development. "I didn't start playing basketball early like everybody else. Pretty much it's just that everything is starting to come together for me now the more I play."

While he's aiming to win a state title during his senior season, Thomas is doing his best to keep up with the squad he'll be playing for next year. Although he doesn't get to see them as often as he'd like, he's seen enough to pick up on some things about the Jayhawks that he hadn't noticed before.

"I've seen like four games, I saw the game yesterday too," said Thomas of Kansas. "I like the team a lot. I mean that kid Mario (Chalmers), I didn't even know how good he is. I guess I have to learn how to do the pick and pop when I get there."

Given that he'll be suiting up next season, Thomas also feels an attachment while watching. Even if next year's team will likely look much different than the one he sees every week on ESPN.

"It's exciting, but also some of those guys are going to be gone," Thomas told Phog.Net. "I think Darrell Arthur and Brandon Rush may go and then you lose Darnell Jackson, Sasha, and Russell and some of those guys."

A few weeks ago, Kansas boss Bill Self was in Houston to watch his future player take part in the Houston vs. the Nation event. According to Thomas, he stays in constant contact with the KU staff and they like what they've seen from him.

"I talk to them after like every game," said Thomas of how often he communicates with the Kansas staff. "They say I'm doing well and that I'm improving on things that I need to do before I get there. Especially my shot, also my left hand has gotten way better."

Another person that Thomas has spent plenty of time talking to is high school teammate Dexter Strickland who recently committed to North Carolina. While the two are friendly, they have also engaged in some trash talk about the schools they've committed to.

"I kind of get a little emotional sometimes," said Thomas. "Now that Dexter is committed to North Carolina he is always talking about it with me and we are betting to see whose team is going to lose first."

While he doesn't particularly care about where he's ranked by the different scouting services, Thomas admits that he did hear the whispers that he wasn't good enough for the Jayhawks after signing his letter of intent.

"We've played teams with a lot of good big men and I've done pretty well," said Thomas. "Before the season people questioned whether I could play at Kansas but now they know I can. It does kind of bother you sometimes because rankings can influence how people think about you as a player and there's politics in that stuff. It just feels good to show I belong."

As he heads into the homestretch of his final season of high school ball, Thomas may be most proud of the steps he's taken as a leader and how he's learned to see things on a much bigger scale thanks to a secure future.

"Now that it's my team and I'm a big factor I see certain things that I didn't before," said Thomas. "Pretty much people talk about the normal stuff like points and rebounds and all that, but now I'm focused other things too."

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