NorCal's "X-Factor"

Pleasant Grove of Elk Grove guard Xavier Thames has been the X-Factor the past few years for PGHS, but before he takes his game to Washington State, he's got his eyes on a bigger prize for his senior season...


X-Marks the spot
Or simply "X"
  You make the call. The result is still the same. An extraordinary player that exemplifies the talents a coach wants. I'm taking about Xavier Thames, currently ranked 3rd as a point guard in the class of 2009.

  A player that knows the route to the basket very well. Like water flowing down hill he takes the least path of resistance to the target. But, who's not afraid to fight to achieve the goal, like a salmon swimming up hill, he's determined and will take a foul. Stupid move on the other teams part, since he's close to perfection on the line.


    Xavier Thames basketball IQ places him in the MENSA category of player.

I've watched him play basketball since he was a freshman and he's only improved over time. Now as he enter his senior year, this fall, at Pleasant Grove High School, it will be interesting to see him play. The competition in his school's basketball league is fierce. He's in the Delta River league. One of the toughest leagues in NorCal. Pleasant grove has Folsom H.S., Jesuit H.S., Sheldon H.S., Monterey Trails H.S. and host of other power houses during their season. Last season they beat Elk Grove H.S. at home during a spectacular Christmas season win.


It's been said "it takes a village to raise a child" and an entire team to guard X.

    Without powerhouses Armond Armstead in the house as center and Lanvin Peets, another great defender and rebounder Pleasant Grove will have its hands full in redefining the team; those two are graduated this year. Returning players DeShaun Brookes and Glenn Akerland will definitely be important to the team's overall success this coming season - not to mention a couple of monster Sophomores that will be playing at the Varsity level this fall.


Xavier goes up high against Elk Grove H.S. .   Xavier Thames is the kind of player that can carry a team to success. He's an all around player that knows how to put in the work. He's the Michael Jordan of Pleasant Grove. An unselfish player that will dish the ball out, but knows when to be acquisitive to help the team make that win. I've watched him get hacked by the best of teams, yet he remains undeterred in his mission. While some athletes have to piece together an entire seasons worth of games to create a highlight tape for recruitment, Xavier only needs 1. I've watched other teams resort to less then noble methods of play to stop X, but usually to no avail.


Jesuit H.S. player grabs Xaviers' jersey to try and slow him down.

  Now let's talk about his style of play. Xavier is a Point Guard-shooting guard. He can bring the ball down .. Set up a play .. Dish the ball out.. Or in some cases when there's no one open to make a play he goes into X-mode.. Meaning he creates his own play as he drives to the basket.. Going up against 1,2, or three defenders , he seems to be a magnate at times, he goes up to the basket .. Now you know with X you're guaranteed at least 2 points .. Cause if he doesn't make it he's usually being fouled and he's on the line .. His free-throw percentage is very high .. So if he does score chances are he's going to line anyway if he's surrounded by that many defenders..


Xavier creates his own scoring opportunity against Jesuit H.S.

  Now I've watched a lot of high school basketball over the years and have never seen a person with such clutch skills as Thames. He's hit so many buzzer beaters it's amazing.. The last one I saw was a game winning buzzer beater in the San Fran Bay area - simply X-trodinary.

  Xavier Plays AAU for the Compton Magic. The Compton magic is an elite AAU team in Southern California. Yeah Southern California. Thames is such an incredible talent that he travels to SoCal in order to play with the best in the west, helping elevate his level of play that few NorCal players can match.

  Stats .. why bore you with stats .. but since you asked .. this is from last season.. how about 24 pts. Per game. What about rebounds per game, how about 6. With 4.2 assist per game, this young man is not selfish. At 2.3 steals per game you can't say he's slacking on defense. 



Xavier played football, he was #2 at Pleasant Grove H.S., and he wasn't afraid to take a hit then nor now.

  With a new Basketball Coach, Deponte, taking over the PGHS Varsity program X-pectations are high for a playoff berf. I know X will do his part in helping his team get there. A young man that's respectful on and off the court.

  Xavier was recently invited to play with "Team USA", sponsored by Reabok, in the Rose city tournament in Portland Oregon.  He competed against players from the east coast who were in the top 100, some in the top ten, in their national position ranking and his team won.

  X has committed to Washington state, X-tinguishing the hopes of other D-1 schools in recruiting him.  Coach Tony Bennett must have done his homework,  because he scored an A++ in his acquisition of Xavier Thames.

  Coach Tony Bennett shares the same name with a masterful singer and obviously the same type of genius. "As Time Goes By" Xavier will only get better, and he will never let his team go " Dancing in the Dark" on the hard wood.  Washington State is about to experience "The Good Life" with X on the roster, but until then Wazu fans are going to have to "Dream a Little Dream of X".  I hope I didn't date myself here, but just like great music, great players never go out of style.

  The folks up in Washington are in for a pleasant surprise, from a future Pleasant Grove High School grad of 2009. Pleasant Grove High School has become a Division 1 school magnate thanks to athletes like Xavier Thames, Armond Armstead, and Deonte Williams. What a great accomplishment for a high school that didn't exist 4 years ago.   

  Now let's flashback to last Christmas season when Elk Grove HS and Pleasant Grove HS met.(see picture below) See the team celebrating to the left – that's X's team .. see the guys with their hands on their heads – that's Elk Grove High School –  the school of Bill Cartwright – a regional powerhouse before X came to town . See the score on the right, almost half of that 66 belongs to X. That #1 jersey is X quietly leaving the court after a stellar victory.

  The game was played on December 21st , 2007 – 4 days before Christmas in front of a standing room only crowd. The rivalry between these two schools is probably one of the fiercest in all of Northern California. You have Old School, Elk Grove H.S., vs. . New School (Pleasant Grove H.S.). Elk Grove High School had an awesome team last season. Leave it to X to send them home with a lump of coal in their stockings. What can X do for WaSu ? – well just ask Elk Grove High's 2007 basketball team.


  While his friends, fans and family may call him "X", I've noticed the players on losing teams, or those that tried to defend him and losing, referring to him as Thames. I'm expecting a lot of opposing teams referring to "X" as Thames next season, that's my "X"-pectation.


Xavier goes up against one of Rio Americano's best players.


Xavier's about to do a cross over on this Elk Grove player.


Winning isn't everything, It's the only thing, and it just so happens to be X's thing.

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