University of Louisville basketball signee Lance Thomas will have his first opportunity to impress the U of L fans in person this weekend at the 45th annual Kentucky Derby Festival Basketball Classic.
A combo forward from Norcross, Ga., Thomas arrived in Louisville Thursday for Derby Festival practice at Male High School and will join future Louisville teammates Malik Williams, Darius Perry, and Jordan Nwora on the Thunder Team for the Derby Festival game.
The Louisville fans have voiced their excitement for the 2017 basketball recruiting class, but this weekend they will have their first opportunity to see the four newest additions to the basketball team take the floor at Freedom Hall, Louisville’s home prior to the 2011 season.
The four-star recruit Thomas says that it will be “exhilarating” to play in front of the fans who have shown so much excitement over this recruiting class.
“It’s really exciting,” said Thomas. “It’s kind of nerve-racking but more exciting because fans have hit me up on Twitter and Instagram telling me that they are excited to see me play, so it will be fun to put a show on”
The U of L men’s basketball team boasts a top-ten recruiting class featuring a five-star, two four-stars, and a three-star recruit. The recruiting class is one of the most highly-anticipated classes of Rick Pitino’s tenure at Louisville.
Thomas says that coach Pitino sold him on his potential to impact the team next season. He says Pitino never asked about other schools.
“A lot of my other schools were talking about Louisville,” Thomas said. “Louisville was just focused on me and what I can do to impact their team next year.”
The 6-foot-10, 214-pound forward Thomas says that he wants to be able to utilize his length as a “big wing.” He says that he models his play style after players like NBA forwards Paul George, Kevin Durant, and Giannis Antetokounmpo.
“I just want to use my length on defense,” said Thomas. “Coach Pitino loves that defense. He loves getting up and down the floor. I want to use my versatility and ability to shoot the ball to play anywhere from the two to the four spot, so that I can do whatever on the court for coach.”
Thomas says that he doesn’t have any personal goals for the all-star game this weekend, but just wants to prove to the fans that have been watching the highlight videos of the recruits that Louisville has a lot of talent coming in.