As commitments start to pour in like water through a breached dam, one player we spoke to this week is in no hurry. Lance Thomas told us on Saturday at the Survival of the Phittest tournament at Villanova that he is still considering a long list of schools, and he says that a spring decision for him is not in the cards.
Lance Thomas sounded like he needed a personal assistant to help schedule the parade of college coaches that funneled through St. Benedict's high school in April.
"Arizona, Duke, Georgia Tech, Miami, Florida, Wake Forest, Stanford, Villanova, Rutgers, Indiana, Ohio State, Louisville, Seton Hall, and Connecticut came to visit last month," Thomas said taking a breath. "I think that's it. That's all I can remember right now."
He told us that he has offers from all except Duke, Stanford, Indiana, Ohio State, and Louisville. "Those schools are showing a lot of interest, but I don't think they've put an offer on the table," he stated.
Thomas told us that he's got some decisions to make very soon, including narrowing his long list, and which sneaker camp he'll attend in July.
"I know I've got to narrow it down pretty soon," he said. "It's hard right now to put schools out in front. They are all great programs."
Thomas visited Villanova unofficially last month ,along with a number of other top area players. "I stayed for a day and it was a lot of fun," he said. "I like the campus here a lot, and learned a lot about the school. People had told me it was a small campus, but it seemed pretty big to me. It also was nice hanging out with the players, and Wayne (Ellington) and Gerald (Henderson). We're all really good friends."
He told us that he was planning an unofficial visit to Connecticut soon.
"I'm trying to take unofficial visits to as many of the local schools as I can, and saving the officials for the fall."
He said that he would make a decision after taking his official visits in the fall, and probably sign in November.
As far as what's important to Thomas, academics come first.
"I'm interested in engineering and architecture," he said. "I've been doing a lot of research on the schools lately to make sure that they have the programs that I'm looking for. On the basketball side, I'm looking for a family atmosphere, just a perfect, comfortable spot. I want a place that's going to help me grow as a person and make me successful. Those key aspects are very important."
Thomas is finishing his first year at St. Benedict's after transferring from Scotch Plains Fanwood in central New Jersey in 2004.
"School is great!" he exclaimed. "I feel like I adapted fast to the school community. The teachers and the academics are great. I think I stepped up to the challenge, both in basketball and academically."
Thomas is a 6-foot-8 wiry combo-forward who plays with a ton of energy. He's a good athlete and a quick leaper who really attacks the glass. Thomas is adept at finding ways to either score in the paint or get to the line. He can drive baseline and finish, and has improved as a mid-range shooter. He must continue to improve his ball handling and perimeter shooting to make the transition to the wing, but with his tremendous work habits, it's a safe bet that he'll get there.
Thomas averaged 18 points and 9.5 rebounds per game for coach Danny Hurley's Grey Bees. He also maintained a 3.1 GPA in the classroom and has a 1250 PSAT score in his back pocket. He took the SAT for the first time on May 7th.
He has a busy schedule lined up for the rest of the spring and summer. The events he'll be attending include, The Bob Gibbons Tournament of Champions, The Rumble in the Bronx, the USA Basketball Festival, NBPA Camp, one of the sneaker camps, Reebok Summer Classic East, and the Big Time in Las Vegas.
"I'm still not sure about the sneaker camp," Thomas said. "I have invitations to all three, but I haven't made up my mind. That's another thing I've got to do. I think that the registration deadline is coming up soon."