Jarvis Thomas picked up his tenth scholarship offer last night when the Golden Gophers extended during a visit with coaches Richard Pitino, Ben Johnson, and other staff members along for the tour.
So what kind of player is Thomas? He put together a 15.8 points and 10.2 rebounds per game season leading the Spartans to a 23-6 record in Class AAA. The Spartans were the only team that seriously challenged Class AAA champion DeLaSalle in the playoffs and it was the unique ability of Thomas that was a big part threat to ending their title run.
Thomas had 20 points on 10 of 18 shooting, 18 rebounds, and four blocks facing George Mason signed Goanar Mar and four star guard Gabe Kalscheur in that Islander loss. It was performances like this that had former Gopher guard Barry Wohler (1981-83), the Orono Head Coach, left in awe nearly every night.
“Jarvis is really a freak athlete,” said Wohler. “He is a 6-foot-8 athlete that moves like a six footer. In football Jarvis runs about a 4.7 40 time. He is kind of like a gazelle. Jarvis is so explosive, when he dunks he dunks with power. He can dunk off two feet, he can dunk off one leg.
“Jarvis can guard every position on the floor. Very versatile and very explosive. Maybe, I had one coach quoted as saying, he may be the most athletic player on the national circuit this summer.”
As a sophomore Thomas was at Tartan High School (before moving to the other side of the metro at Orono) and put up 10.6 points per game listed as a 6-foot-5 power forward. Since his time moving to Orono Jarvis Thomas has grown in every way.
“I think the biggest improvements of been his knowledge of the game and on the offensive end he has become more versatile now,” Coach Wohler said. “That’s been the steady improvement. His back to the basket moves has improved and he’s working hard this summer at facing up.
“Defensively being aware of his presence off the ball. Being able to change shots and block shots.”
Minnesota has been following Thomas for a long time. They watched him as a 15U playing with Minnesota Lockdown, they saw him last spring with Minnesota Powerhouse (Lockdown and Powerhouse are the same program and coached by former Gopher Jonathan Williams), and then the Gophers were consistently in the crowd last summer when Thomas was playing with D1 Minnesota.
The Gophers were also there this winter when Thomas played at the Breakdown Tip Off Classic, when he scored 26 against Delano, and this spring where he has been averaging seven points and 6.3 rebounds with Howard Pulley (shooting 58 percent from the floor making 50 of 87 shots, 4 of 19 at the foul line).
Minnesota had Jarvis and his mother Sara in on a Wednesday night visit and things went great.
“They met with Coach Pitino and his staff and had a tour of campus,” Wohler explained. “They actually offered him right away followed by a very open conversation and I believe both Jarvis and his mother are very excited about the offer. I think the Gophers are very high on their list.”
This was the tenth offer that Jarvis has earned over the past twelve months and several programs continue to track him.
“He has offers from Marquette, Iowa State, Arizona State, Oregon State, California, Pittsburgh, Wake Forest, and Texas A&M have all offered and I know he has Michigan and Michigan State showing strong interest as well. Butler and Xavier now too.”
At this point Jarvis is thinking about taking some summer visits but nothing is set or scheduled at the moment.
One example of the amazing athletic ability of Thomas is what he has done as a football player. As a 6-foot-4 freshman at Hill-Murray in St. Paul, Thomas caught a touchdown pass against North St. Paul in his second varsity game.
Thomas didn’t play as a football junior at Orono until very late in the season but when he did Jarvis put together an amazing highlight reel. Despite playing in only five games Thomas piled up 463 receiving yards and four scores averaging nearly 26 yards per catch!
“He transferred back from Las Vegas (Bishop Gorman High School) so we wanted to make sure all of the eligibility conditions were taken care of,” Wohler said.
“Jarvis actually got eligible the last regular season of the game and we ended up going on to win the section. He averaged at one point 36 yards per catch. He’s such a mismatch.
“At 6-foot-8 he’s faster than most of the kids he played against and he’s probably got six to eight inches on everybody and he’s freaky athletic so he catches every thing in his area. I honestly think he could have a chance to play on Sundays.”
Thomas is concentrating on basketball so those of you football fans can relax. The football part of this story is just to further show how rare of an athlete that Thomas is.
If that wasn’t enough all that is needed is a quick view of the spring video below to give you an idea of what Thomas can do (Thomas is number ten in the video).