Thomas, who broke his leg in an off-the court accident and played just a handful of games this past season, was likely passed over by some schools as a result of that injury.
"I'd say some of the bigger schools passed over him," said Simpson, noting that a few high majors weren't heard from again after the injury. "They just didn't get a chance to see him. His name had been out there, he was known [coming into this year], but people just didn't get a look at him during his senior season."
Thomas knew Huggins from Kansas State, where he had shown some interest while Huggins was still with the Wildcats. However, it didn't take long for that interest to switch to West Virginia when Huggins returned to his alma mater.
"He kept the door open for everybody. He had some interest in Kansas State, so he knew Coach Huggins from before," Simpson confirmed.
In his shortened senior season, Thomas averaged 24.6 points, 15.2 rebounds, 6.2 assists and 3.2 steals per game.
"I definitely think he has the ability to play as a freshman," Simpson said. "He is a combination guy. He can shoot it from outside and take it to the basket. He could play either the one or the two."
In addition to his court vision and passing skills, Simpson also likes the loyalty Thomas displayed.
"I had him for three years, and most of the bigger name AAU teams came after him, but he stuck with me," Simpson said proudly.