It happens every year. A talented sophomore plays in a few regional events, his name begins to make the circles in basketball communities and then it happens. He plays in one major AAU event soon after school finishes and the rest is history. He becomes an instant high-major player with schools sending mail by the dozens. That is what happened to New Jersey small forward Lance Thomas.
The 6-foot-8, 195 pound small forward Scotch-Plains High School began the AAU season off strong at a Northeastern event sponsored by his team, NYC New Heights. From there, the No. 29 ranked player in the class of 2006, came to the North Carolina Triangle. Recruiting analysts from Rivals.com were amazed by his abilities for a player at his age. Word got out to coaches and the journey suddenly changed.
“It’s heated up a lot,” Thomas said of his recruitment. “I went from getting low letters in the spring. Now, I’m getting a lot of stuff on a daily basis. It feels good to know that I’m a player that coaches like. They seem to like my game but you got to keep working out and keep playing.”
Arizona, Duke, Georgia Tech, Maryland, North Carolina, Syracuse, Texas and Wake Forest are some of the elite high-majors involved with Thomas. The list is still growing. More schools are schools sending mail to his Fanwood, N.J., address.
“There are so many schools right now that I don’t want to single just one or two or three schools out as my favorites,” Thomas said. “I like and respect them all.”
A lot will be said about Thomas’s ability to get to the free throw line, which is indisputably the best skill he brings to the table, but his mid-range game is nasty. There aren’t many players in the nation that understand that fundamental skill of the game. He’s a skilled ball-handler and can hang with the big boys inside as a rebounder.
After learning skills at the Pangos All-American camp, NBA Players Association, Reebok ABCD camp and close to a half dozen AAU tournaments, Thomas hopes he has made some strides in his game.
“I just want to finish the summer better than I started,” Thomas said.