Hoops Recruiting: 7-Footer To Visit OSU

Mamadou Diarra may not be making an official visit to Oklahoma State any time soon but that doesn't mean that another big man – even taller than the 6-10 Diarra – from Stoneridge Prep in Simi Valley, Calif., won't be making a trip Stillwater. We had the opportunity to visit with Stoneridge Prep director Mike Mahoney on Tuesday afternoon and he filled us in on the details.

Diarra was originally scheduled to make a trip to Oklahoma State for this weekend's Basketball Bash but has since postponed all of his visits until next spring. But Stoneridge Prep 7-footer Ibrahima Thomas will soon be making an official visit to OSU, Mahoney said.

Thomas, from Dakar, Senegal, is scheduled to make a trip to Stillwater Oct. 27-29.

"He's got a real nice feel for the game," Mahoney said of Thomas. "People who have seen him play love his enthusiasm. He's got a great, great personality, and enjoys playing the game, and is fun to be around."

Although he stands 7-foot tall, Thomas is not a banger inside. He only weighs 185 pounds. "Is he the type of big, physical center to play in the Big 12? Probably not," Mahoney said. "He would be more suited to play the three or the four. He can play the three because he shoots the ball so well. He also has great court awareness, and has some shake and bake to his upper body."

Last month, Thomas scored 25 points as Stoneridge's team won the 14th annual Fullcourt Press Fall Hoops Classic's Gold Division with a 92-88 victory over Belmont Shore. Thomas hit five three-pointers in the championship game.

"He would be a real mismatch at the three or four because he can shoot it, he has a real soft touch, but he also has a nice jump hook from down on the block," said Mahoney. "It'll be hard for a big man to guard him because he'll take him outside and score on him, but it'll be hard for someone 6-6 to guard him because he'll take him down on the block and use his jump hook and he won't have a chance. Defensively, he's good enough to guard someone 6-6 because he's got the size and quickness to do it."

Thomas only averaged 3.9 points and 2.7 rebounds in his first year at Stoneridge last season. He did have a 19-point game (on 9 of 12 shooting) in a win against Philadelphia Lutheran. However, he spent much of the season backing up 6-11 Hamady N'diaye, who is now a freshman at Rutgers.

"He's just gotten bigger and gotten stronger (since last year)," Mahoney said. "He played well during the spring and summer. Obviously this fall he's made an impression. We've had about 50 to 60 college come out to the school. The people who saw him really liked him. He can run the floor, and he can flat out shoot it."

Rutgers is one of the four other schools that Thomas plans to visit the next three weeks. He will make a four-day trip beginning Thursday that includes two days at Rutgers and two days at Ball State. He visits OSU next weekend, and then visits Fresno State (Nov. 2-3) and Auburn (Nov. 4-5).

"We expect him to make a decision that week (after returning from Auburn)," Mahoney said.

Rutgers would appear to be the frontrunner having signed N'Diaye, his former Stoneridge teammate and Senegal native. But that isn't necessarily true, Mahoney said.

"He has a close relationship with the other kid from Senegal (at Rutgers), and some of that may factor in the decision but it won't be the major factor," said Mahoney. "He's looking for a big-time program that's going to be on TV. He is looking to see where he fits in and he can be part of the process moving forward to bigger and better things. Oklahoma State is one of those type of programs, where it is ranked in the top 25 every year and has tremendous fan support."

Mahoney said that Thomas is destined to play in the NBA but he expects him to spend four years in college. "This is a kid who is going to want to enjoy his college experience. He loves the pep rallies, the Midnight Madness, and stuff like that."

Thomas took the SAT last weekend and is expected to qualify, Mahoney said.

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