"They came to the Canary Islands in April," said De Thaey. "That's when NC State first started recruiting me. I already knew the team from the past. I saw them play on tape, and I knew they played in the ACC which is one of the hardest and best conferences in college basketball."
NC State assistant Bobby Lutz made the trip over to the Canarias Basketball Academy to evaluate prospects shortly after being hired. The CBA is located in Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, one of the Canary Islands which is miles off the northwestern coast of Africa. The academy just completed its fourth season and in its first three years sent 21 players to Division I programs.
"I went over to watch Thomas right when I got here during the evaluation period," Lutz said. "We were looking at a number of guys, and he is the one we really liked. We are very fortunate to be able to jump in this late and land a player of his caliber."
De Thaey averaged 15 points and eight rebounds this past season for CBA, playing on a roster that featured multiple Division I signees.
"Im an all-around player that can shoot the three-pointer and post up," said De Thaey. "I feel comfortable driving the basketball, and I also love to rebound... I can take bigger opponents outside and go at them one-on-one."
De Thaey had options. He was considering programs like Washington and Wake Forest when NC State became involved, but after the Wolfpack offered he knew that was where he wanted to play. He signed a letter of intent with NC State earlier this week.
"I signed with NC State because I can compete and play against the best players in the country every day," said De Thaey. "I have great confidence in the team and in the coaching staff as well.
"I'm sure it's a great coaching staff, and they have a lot of experience."
What type of a player is NC State getting?
"I feel like my game is similar to [Danilo] Gallinari and [Linas] Kleiza," said De Thaey. "I'm just that European-type of player at my position that can go inside and outside.
"But, my all-around game still has weaknesses, and I can improve in everything."
A native of Belgium, De Thaey has an obligation to his national team that he will fulfill before heading to NC State. The 6-foot-8, 235-pounder will play in the European Under 20 Championships. The tournament, which is being held in Sarajevo (Bosnia and Herzegovina), starts on July 14th with the final game being played on July 24th.
He played in the tournament last season and averaged 8.4 points and 6.8 rebounds. Following the event, he will be looking towards accomplishing goals he has already set for himself and his team.
"My goal is to do better every season and to win March Madness," said De Thaey. "I'm convinced the ACC is one of the best leagues in college basketball where you play against great opponents every day.
"My goal is to become the best player I can be and to be a dominant player in the ACC in the future."
De Thaey will enroll as a true freshman and have five years to play four seasons.