Hylander Guard Jacob Thomas Attracts Interest

Jacob Thomas, a 6-foot-3, 190-pound junior from Columbia Heights, has begun attracting attention from several Division I schools, including Minnesota. Thomas, who is perhaps state's top junior guard, led the Hylanders to a 13-14 mark last season as he averaged 21.8 points as a sophomore. GoldenSports.Net recently caught up with Hylander head coach Willie Braziel and Thomas to learn the latest.

Jacob Thomas averaged 21.8 points, 5.7 rebounds, 1.9 steals and 1.1 assists per game last season. He shot 41% from the field, 34% from three-point range and 72% from the line. The Hylanders finished 13-14, a big improvement over a 4-21 mark the previous season.

Thomas is playing with his Columbia Heights team in the Breakdown League at Bloomington Kennedy for the next four weeks. Minnesota Gopher prospect Chad Calcaterra of Cloquet has joined the team, although he will miss this weekend's game to travel to Marquette for an unofficial visit.

Thomas attended the Minnesota Gopher Advanced Basketball Camp and their team camp. Hylander head coach Willie Braziel said that Minnesota watched Thomas closely during their Advanced and team camp.

"He is also hearing from Colorado State, Northern Iowa and Wisconsin Green Bay," Braziel said.

Braziel previously told GoldenSports.Net that Thomas had caught the Gopher coaches' eyes.

"The Gophers wanted to see him handle the ball," he said. "He has got to get stronger, but he can shoot the lights out. He won four or five games by himself. He is a good kid, a likeable kid who comes from a good family. He wants to attend the 'U' and likes the 'U.'"

Braziel has high expectations for his team this upcoming season.

"We have all five starters back," he said. "We lost three or four seniors and return just one senior. We will start four or five juniors and they helped lead us to the final four of the Minnesota Gopher team camp."

Thomas played for the Howard Pulley 16-and-under AAU team and will move up to the top 17-and-under team next spring.

Braziel previously said that his star guard has plenty of strengths as a player.

"He has great instincts and a wonderful shot. He has a great stroke and a fluid motion in his jump shot," Braziel said.

Braziel said that Thomas is working hard to improve himself as a player.

"He needs to improve defensively. He took plays off as a sophomore," he said.

His strong play last year is made even more impressive by the fact that he did not play as a freshman.

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