Quintrell Thomas Talks Terps

With a sparse class for high school big men projected in 2008 and a pressing need to frontcourt reinforcements, the Maryland basketball staff has focused its efforts on a seemingly small handful of junior big men. One of the foremost on the list is St. Patrick's (N.J.) power forward Quintrell Thomas, with whom Terp Sports Report caught up this weekend for an update on his recruitment.

"I really like Maryland, Marquette and Rutgers at the top," said Thomas, a 6-foot-8, 230-pound banger who has been coming on strong in recent months. "They way they [the Terps] play really fits my style. I think I'd be better in a system that likes to run ... A system that can run and play half-court."

TSR recently scouted Thomas at an the Jamfest in Pittsburgh and he did not disappoint, scoring 14 points on 5-for-5 shooting from the field and 4-for-9 from the free throw line, along with 10 rebounds and two blocks. He showed the ability to score in a variety of ways, though he hasn't forgotten what his strength is.

"It's really my strength. I just kind of push my way into the post. If I have an advantage in strength, I'll use that to my advantage," said Thomas, who has offers from Maryland, Marquette, Rutgers, Pittsburgh, Seton Hall, St. John's, Miami, Houston and Virginia Commonwealth.

Thomas's junior season was somewhat of a learning experience. After transferring from Newark Science to powerhouse St. Pat's, he found his new coaches far more demanding than any he'd had previously. In limited playing time, he averaged eight points, seven rebounds and two blocks. But he came on strong toward the end of the season.

"I wasn't practicing hard … I was used to something different. I was one of the top players at my old school so I got a little more rope," he said. "My coaches really take practice seriously. It's like college; if you don't practice, you don't play.

"That's probably the best thing that could have happened to me, because in college, that's how it's going to be," Thomas said.

Thomas does not know a great deal about most of the schools on his list, including Maryland. He's been to the area for an AAU tournament but has not taken a campus tour. He plans to visit sometime in the next month, though, and is hoping have a college selected by the start of his senior season.

Maryland's staff has shown a strong level of interest in Thomas, which hasn't gone unnoticed.

"They haven't pressed me [to commit]," he said, "but they have let me know that I'm one of their top priorities."

Terp Sports Report will keep you updated on Thomas as his recruitment begins to develop over the next six weeks.

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