Lance Thomas update

NORTH AUGUSTA, S.C. -- News of Antonio Pena's impending commitment to Villanova didn't fluster Lance Thomas just one bit.

Lance Thomas, the aggressive 6-8 forward from St. Benedict's H.S. in Newark, N.J., said on Thursday that the Wildcats are still a part of his recruiting process. Villanova already has picked up five commitments from the Class of 2006, and it is believed that they are holding the final ride for either Thomas or Rahway (NJ) product Earl Clark.

  "Pena's decision doesn't affect me at all," Thomas said. "Villanova is a great program, and one player going to a school is not really going to affect me. The only thing that would is if a school didn't have a scholarship left to give me."

  While Thomas' list reads like an abridged version of War and Peace (14 schools are on it now, including Duke, North Carolina, Miami, Wake Forest, Georgia Tech, UConn, Pittsburgh, Rutgers, Seton Hall, Villanova, Arizona, Stanford, Louisville and Florida), he's still not ready to start eliminating programs from it.

  "Basically, my list is the same as it was last month," he said. "I will probably narrow it to three to five schools by early August."

  Thomas said he has scholarship offers from all 14 of the programs on his list, including Duke and North Carolina, In an interview here last month, he said that those programs hadn't formally offered. Shortly afterwards, each called to clarify things.

  "That was a misunderstanding on my part," Thomas admitted. "They wanted to make it clear to me that the offers were there on the table for me."

  With the All-Stars officially eliminated from the playoff picture, Thomas will return home to New Jersey before the second leg of the July evaluation period begins.

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