After digging deep enough – interviewing the likes of Antonio Blakeney and Noah Dickerson in recent weeks, I’ve finally found one 2015 player interested in LSU for reasons that have nothing to do with early commit Ben Simmons, arguably the nation’s top prep player.
That individual is five-star center Elijah Thomas.
“No, I haven’t even looked at it that way,” Thomas told TSD on the hypothetical of playing alongside Simmons. “Who’s already committed somewhere won’t be a factor on me going to a school. I’m committing to a program and of course just committing for yourself. You’re not really committing because other players are there, so if Ben is someone good to play with it, then that’ll be good. But I’m not really worried about that kind of stuff.”
But, as Thomas explained, that doesn’t diminish the appeal of LSU. The 6-foot-9, 250-pounder, who recently transferred from embattled Prime Prep to Lancaster High School (Tex.) for his senior season, appreciates how long the Tigers have been on him, even throughout a coaching staff shake-up in the last year and a half.
“They’ve been talking to me since I was in tenth grade because I played on the same high school team with Jordan Mickey at Prime Prep,” said Thomas. “Coach [Robert] Kirby was the one recruiting me, and then he left. Since then they’ve still recruited me. Coach [David] Patrick will come to our practices. He came to like two of our high school games and what not. So I used to talk to them pretty often, and they started talking to me again recently.”
The two sides have rekindled the recruiting flame of late, and Thomas, Scout’s No. 13 overall prospect for 2015, indicated his contact with Patrick has become more constant.
“We talk a pretty good amount every week,” continued Thomas. “It’s just the same ole same ole – recruit pitches, how they want to get me down there for an official and stuff like that.”
Thomas is yet to take in LSU’s campus or Baton Rouge in general. Still, he maintained that the Tigers are a player in his recruitment, more so due to his Lone Star State basketball connections and LSU’s growing reputation for developing post talents.
“I’d say there’s interest,” Thomas asserted. “Jordan’s over there. I know a lot of other players that go there like Elbert [Robinson]. They produce at a high level.”
On the topic of wrapping up his final summer of AAU ball, Thomas had mixed emotions. “It was the last time I’ll be together with those teammates. It was a fun ride, and now it’s just time to get down to business.”
The business end of his recruitment is something Thomas is growingly excited to reach. For him the recruiting process has become a cumbersome one.
“Over the last couple of years it’s been fun, and I’m excited to have the opportunity. So I’m thankful for it,” explained Thomas. “It’s been fun getting to meet all the different coaches and talk to them, having them come to all your practices and games. I’ve enjoyed it, but now it’s become stressful.”
With that in mind Thomas’ schedule remains largely intact. He informed TSD he plans to trim his list within two to three weeks, take all five official visits available this fall (“still too early” to tell where) and sign on ESPN’s Signing Day Show on ESPNU in November.