Everyone has the answers for Lance Thomas. You shouldn't take so long. You should go this school. You better hurry or else someone will take your scholarship. Everyone knows what's best for the five-star forward from St. Benedict's High School in Newark, N.J. When it all comes down to it, don't doubt Thomas.
Thomas is a rare breed. He's one of the six remaining top 50 players still uncommitted to a school. He's only taken one official visit, to Arizona a month and a half ago. But since then, he's yet to officially visit any other programs.
A new top five list materializes on a daily basis. People from coast-to-coast all say they know where he's going. It's Arizona. No, it's Duke. Whatever, he's going to Rutgers. Everyone has the answers. Truth is, no one knows. Not even his uncle Monty Montgomery, who has been Thomas's confidant during the recruiting process.
Montgomery has long said he doesn't believe Thomas will commit any time soon. He doesn't see his nephew signing a National Letter of Intent in Nov. Thomas is truly defining the recruiting process.
"Lance is crossing his T's and dotting his I's," Montgomery said. "If he goes to a school and he isn't happy, it's him that is looking back in the mirror when he's in college wondering why he's where he's at. That is why he's looking at everything so closely. It may be strange to some people but in the end result is up to him and be happy with his decision. If they are upset with that, then that's on them."
Thomas and Montgomery both acknowledged that the trip to Arizona was very impressive. Lute Olson and his staff have been tireless workers with the 6-foot-8 uber-aggressive forward. But after the Wildcats, who really is in the picture?
Florida? Two weeks ago, they were just another school on his list. So when news broke last week that he was planning a trip to Gainesville, some were a bit surprised. But the trip never happened thanks in large part to the week long downpour in the Northeast.
Mother Nature has not been kind to Thomas this fall. He was in New Orleans a day before Hurricane Katrina hit the Gulf Coast. The storm kept Thomas land locked in Alabama for a couple of days before he was able to return to Jersey.
"He's not a big fan of flying anyways," Montgomery said. "It's tough having to deal with Mother Nature. What can you do? He's going to visit Florida but we'll just have to reschedule."
Montgomery said Wake Forest and Georgia Tech will both be getting visits but concrete dates have not been finalized yet. Duke looked like they would be the second school Thomas visits but scheduling conflicts didn't allow that trip to happen.
The visits will occur. It's just a matter of when.
"We'll have the visits all lined up before the season starts," Montgomery explained. "The season doesn't even start until the first of December. That's one of the good things."
One of the "bad things" is watching the schools on his list taking commitments from other players as the Nov. signing date draws closer everyday. And that is something Montgomery is monitoring.
"Sure, we're watching who goes where but he's been blessed with good situations and good opportunities. If one school takes a player and they don't have anymore spots for him, then there is another school knocking on the door wanting to get in. Look, these kids all talk to each other. They all have a good feel for who is going where."
Where kids are going has started to make it's presence felt for Thomas. Connecticut was recently dropped out of the picture because the Huskies filled their small forward position with Stanley Robinson. Other schools are still in the hunt for other small forwards. Montgomery said they aren't naïve to what's going on.
"You have to acknowledge that it does play a part in it," Montgomery said. "You have to be realistic about things. You see a lot of kids got places where they aren't happy. He wants to play where he knows he'll succeed.
"He feels like he can play against anyone in the country but he's keen to who the team is looking at and who they have. He looks at the rosters and sees how much playing time he could have. If they have two to three players in the same class at the similar position, he knows only one guy will be able to play at a time."
Thomas and Montgomery hear the whispers. He wants to go somewhere that he can "be the man" and start from day one. He wants to go somewhere that he can graduate early. He wants to go somewhere that he can get to the NBA the fastest. People have their theories. So what is the process? What are the deciding factors for Thomas?
"First and foremost, it's the education. And second, you have to look at the playing time. He wants the best of both worlds and rightfully so," Montgomery said. "It's about obtaining the degree and getting a chance to play a lot at the next level.
"He's looking at all of the various programs and if a school takes another prospect, there are no hard feelings. It's a business. He understands that. He doesn't have it mapped out at all. That's why he is looking at all of the various program."
Will it be Duke? Will it be Arizona? Will Wake Forest, Florida, Georgia Tech, Rutgers or a complete dark horse land the five-star prospect? The peer pressure of recruiting won't crack Thomas. Believe that much. Just know that he'll have every aspect of that particular school understood before he makes his pick.