Thomas Soaks in Madison

Making his first unofficial visit to Wisconsin since the Badgers offered in late January, Onalaska (Wis.) junior small forward Matt Thomas continues to be impressed by what UW is offering him.

MADISON - From the time Matt Thomas stepped on campus for Wisconsin football's home victory over Nebraska to the time he sat down in the Kohl Center to watch the Badgers to take on the Buckeyes, the three-star small forward from Onalaska, Wis., has had a different outlook on the in-state university.

A full scholarship will alter the perception – which is exactly what UW coach Bo Ryan did when he offered Thomas a scholarship Jan.20 – but the curious thing was that the message the staff gave Thomas over the weekend didn't change despite in vaulting up their recruiting board.

"What they said was pretty much what they've been saying all along," Thomas told Badger Nation Sunday. "They were excited to have me on campus and excited that I was showing interest in their program."

It was hard not to show interest in the Badgers over the past three weeks. With Wisconsin entering Saturday winners of six in a row, Thomas sat behind the bench and watched the Badgers hold Ohio State 20 points under its season average, do a lot of positive things defensively and do virtually everything right … except shoot the ball well from three-point range.

"Watching them play Ohio State was a good game to go to," said Thomas. "I had a lot of fun and it was definitely a fun game to be at. It would have been nice to see them shoot a little better and pull it out, but that happens sometimes to everyone."

Thomas did say one of the main differences after getting an offer was that he was shown attention by all the UW coaches and not just Ryan and associate coach Greg Gard.

"Pretty much all the coaches came up and said hello," Thomas said. "Coach Ryan talked to me for just a little bit because he had to talk to the media, but he just said how they had trouble scoring the ball and how people like me and Bronson (Koenig) could help them out."

Koenig was one of two UW committed prospects at the game (Sam Dekker was the other), and the two Mississippi Valley Conference rivals spent some time together.

"I think he's a real good player and he'll be a fun player to play with," said Thomas.

In addition to Wisconsin, Thomas says Boston College, Creighton, Iowa State, Minnesota and Virginia, are recruiting him the hardest. Thomas attended the Iowa State-Kansas game a week earlier – a game in which the Cyclones pulled off a 72-64 upset – but has no other visits scheduled.

"I am still pretty open," Thomas said. "After the season, I'll start thinking about when I want to make my decision. I don't think I'll make a decision right after the season."

This season, Thomas is averaging 21.2 points as Onalaska is 15-1 with six games left in its Division 2 regular season schedule. Before coming down to Madison, Thomas scored a game-high 12 points to win a 32-28 keep-away contest over Holmen Friday.

"We are doing pretty well," said Thomas. "It was a tough one Friday, but we got the win. We got a couple big ones coming up this week, so we are getting ready to make some noise in March."


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