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THE LIST: Class of 2015 Rivals150
Big men who can play with their backs to the basket like five-star junior Elijah Thomas are hard to find. That's why he is one of the most sought after players in the country.
The 6-foot-9 post player at Lancaster (Texas) High has a slew of high major interest and eventually plenty of whittling down of his list left to do.
"There are 24 schools that I talk to now," Thomas told Rivals.com. "It was 56 before the season, but I cut it down so I could focus on my season and just build on the relationships I've built since the eighth grade.
"The ones I talk to the most are SMU, Texas A&M, Texas, Minnesota, Oregon, Illinois, USC, Ohio State, Georgetown, UNLV, Alabama, Oklahoma State and Arizona. All of those schools have offered. They are all pretty even right now with me."
Thomas made stops at four of the schools on his list in recent months for unofficial visits.
"I took unofficial visits to Oklahoma State, Baylor, SMU and Texas A&M," said Thomas. "They were all really fun environments to be a part of."
SMU seems to be one of the schools that made a strong impression on Thomas early in the process for a number of reasons.
"Coach [Larry] Brown is one of the most well known coaches," said Thomas. "He doesn't really reach out to a ton of recruits so if he reaches out to you, it means he really wants you. Me and Coach Brown talk almost every day. Our relationship is really good. My ex teammate Emmanuel Mudiay committed there, so I know he does a really good job with recruits. I also like how they only recruit people they feel like can develop in the pros."
Oklahoma State has also generated a lot of buzz in Thomas' recruitment.
"I like Coach Ford a lot," said Thomas. "My best friend Jeffrey Carroll goes there. Coach Ford is different from a lot of coaches. He's passionate about the game. He's really fun to talk to. Our conversations aren't just about basketball. We talk about everyday life."
Baylor was one of the first schools to start recruiting Thomas.
"They have been recruiting me since 8th grade," Thomas explained. "Baylor is Baylor. I literally know everybody down there now. I know all the players and two of my AAU teammates committed there, TJ Maston and Verkedric Vaughn (football)."
Ohio State may not be located in Big 12 country, but Thad Matta certainly has the Buckeyes in the mix for Thomas.
"I definitely like Ohio State," Thomas said. "Coach Matta, that's one of the coolest coaches out there. Any coach that uses emoji's is cool with me. He's a really funny guy and is really passionate about the sport. Their coaching staff is really into recruiting. They aren't one of those stuck-up big time programs."
A verbal commitment doesn't appear to be coming any time soon for Thomas.
"I'll have to wait and see how everything works out," said Thomas of his timetable. "I'm just focused on getting better and becoming the best player I can be. I'm not putting a ton of focus on the recruiting aspect just yet. It's going to be a while before I decide.
"The coaches having a strong relationship with my family, playing a lot of games on ESPN has been a dream for me, taking out of the country trips, and having a good team are some of the things I'll be looking for. I hate losing, so I want to go somewhere we can win and where the coaches push me every day."
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