Lance Thomas talks recruiting

Ask St. Benedict's Head Coach Dan Hurley about Lance Thomas' recruitment, and he will give you a pat answer. "Lance will have a decision by the end of next year," Hurley quipped.

Lance Thomas, one of the better combo forward prospects in the Class of 2006, hasn't really started narrowing his options. But he did say that he plans on making a fall decision, which means that things will likely start taking shape after the July evaluation period. "I will try to narrow my list down by the end of the summer," he said. "From there, I will figure out what schools I want to visit."

As things stand in late June, Thomas' list is at an untidy 14 schools. Among the lot are Connecticut, Duke, Georgia Tech, Miami, North Carolina, Wake ForestPittsburgh, Rutgers, Seton Hall, Villanova, Arizona, Stanford, Louisville and Florida.

Thomas said he's fielded offers from most of the programs on his list save Duke and North Carolina. He recently had a chance to look at both schools when his New Heights club team played at the Bob Gibbons Tournament of Champions last month.

"I played at both of those schools and N.C. State," Thomas said. "I had a chance to look at the campus and facilities."

While Thomas declined to name a leader, he said he's developed a strong rapport early with Arizona, Villanova, Duke and Florida. Rutgers will likely have to pick up the pace to crack the top five list with Thomas, who has already been on a slow pace in narrowing his field down.

"Those schools came to the tournaments that are sanctioned, and I've had a lot of contact with the coaches," he explained. "They're also the first schools that end up calling me when they're permitted to."

Thus far, Thomas has taken a pair of unofficial visits this spring -- one to Villanova and the other to Rutgers. He visited Villanova a few months back when Wayne Ellington and Gerald Henderson made their official campus trips to the Big East school. More recently, he visited Rutgers last Friday, June 17.

"Rutgers is real nice and it's a lot bigger than I thought," Thomas said. "The coaching staff is great, all they need are some players."

"If all the players stayed in New Jersey, they'd be a powerhouse," Thomas continued. "I have faith in Gary Waters and Fred Hill."

Thomas, who helped St. Benedict's to the title of the AND 1 High School Basketball Championship/Metro East qualifier this past weekend, starts a busy summer of action this week at the NBA Players Association Camp in Richmond, Va.

Following the NBA Camp, Thomas will be at the Reebok ABCD Camp, the Reebok Summer East Classic and a pair of tourneys on the West Coast with his New Heights program.

At the end of the summer, he's hoping his recruitment will have taken a more defined shape.

"It will be a real busy fall for me," Thomas predicted. "I think I've waited too long in terms of narrowing down schools."

"I've taken the extra time to make sure it's the right place for me," he added. "I want to succeed both academically and athletically."

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