Elijah Thomas

Texas A&M lands another five-star center, has loaded 2015 recruiting class


Arizona. Duke. Texas A&M?

When it comes to the best recruiting classes in 2015, that’s where we are at after Billy Kennedy landed yet another commitment from a star player in the state of Texas.

This time, it’s Elijah Thomas, a five-star low-post bruiser that plays his high school ball in Lancaster, Texas. He’ll join four-star Texans Tyler Davis, D.J. Hogg and Admon Gilder in A&M’s class.

“Thomas is a wide-bodied big man with good hands and a developing post skill set,” said Scott Phillips, NBCSports.com’s recruiting analyst. “He rebounds really well in his area and if he loses some weight it will really benefit his game.”

This comes of the heels of Kennedy earning commitments from Alex Robinson, Peyton Allen and Houston transfer Danuel House over the course of the last year, meaning that the future may look brighter for the Aggies on the hardwood than they do in the post-Johnny Football days on the gridiron.

I do have some concerns about this class, however, as I’m not convinced that Thomas and Davis will be able to play together at the college level. Both of them more-or-less play the same position, using size and strength to overpower defenders from eight-feet and in.

CBT’s Recruiting Roundup: Texas A&M gets a tough guard, St. John’s big weekend, Xavier’s intriguing fit

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Each Monday and Friday, College Basketball Talk’s Scott Phillips goes over some important news and notes in the world of college basketball recruiting. This week, Admon Gilder, Jawun Evans, Elijah Thomas and package deals, a big weekend for St. John’s and Kaiser Gates is an intriguing fit at Xavier.

Admon Gilder, Jawun Evans, Elijah Thomas and package deals

Admon Gilder committing to Texas A&M wasn’t only big for the Aggies’ 2015 class this week, it also threw an interesting wrench in a few talked-about “package deals.” While these deals only materialize part of the time, it is worth noting that both Admon Gilder and Jawun Evans have been mentioned in package deal rumors with five-star big man Elijah Thomas.

So with Gilder going to Billy Kennedy’s team and Evans committing to Oklahoma State, what happens next? Thomas has both Texas A&M and Oklahoma State in his final five, but he also took visits to Illinois, LSU and SMU.

The next step, in which Thomas chooses a school, will show a little bit about how much package deals matter in the grand scheme of things.

Thomas took his official visit to Texas A&M with Gilder, so that is worth noting, but maybe Thomas opts to go his own route and not package up with any of the rumors?

The five-star big man announces on Oct. 21 and we’ll know more of the full story. Until then, let the rumors begin.

Big weekend of visitors with St. John’s

The Red Storm have a big weekend of visitors on-tap.

Head coach Steve Lavin has three huge recruits visiting this weekend as five-star big man Cheick Diallo, five-star guard Isaiah Briscoe and four-star guard Brandon Sampson all visit New York, according to Evan Daniels of Scout.com.

Lavin needs to gain some recruiting momentum going into next season and the head coach didn’t land any major difference-makers in the 2014 recruiting class.

Securing one or more of that aforementioned 2015 group would give Lavin a little more security, especially if the Red Storm have a good year on the court this season.

St. John’s could use some good recruiting news, as they haven’t been to the NCAA Tournament since Lavin’s first season in 2010-11.

Xavier lands an intriguing talent in 2015 wing Kaiser Gates

You won’t hear from Xavier much in the 2015 class.

After landing six commitments in the 2014 class, Xavier took plenty of talented players at different positions and had minimal roster flexibility to work with in regards to the next class.

By landing Georgia native and 6-foot-8 wing Kaiser Gates this week, the Musketeers have given themselves a versatile player who can go inside-out or handle the ball a bit in pick and roll spots.

The three-star player doesn’t do one thing great, but Xavier has six players in 2014 to do different tasks already. Gates and his versatility just give Xavier some insurance at multiple spots the next season and he should be able to find a fit there in a number of different ways.

Five-star big man to announce college decision October 21st

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Elijah Thomas announced on Tuesday that he will be announcing where he will play his college ball on Tuesday, October 21st. He’ll be choosing between Illinois, SMU, Oklahoma State, LSU and Texas A&M.

Thomas is the No. 20 overall recruit in the Class of 2015, according to Rivals. He’s a bully on the block, a bruising 6-foot-9 center that can take over with his back to the basket.

“He’s a wide-bodied big man with good hands and a developing post skill set,” said Scott Phillips, NBCSports.com’s recruiting analyst. Phillips considers Thomas one of the most important players left in the class. “He rebounds really well in his area and if he loses some weight it will really benefit his game.”

Thomas just finished his official visit to SMU this past week and will be taking his final visit, to Texas A&M, next weekend, according to reports.

Mixtape for 2015 big man Elijah Thomas (VIDEO)

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Five-star big man Elijah Thomas is still figuring out the recruiting process, but the Texas native is coming closer to a decision.

The 6-foot-9 Thomas has already taken official visits to LSU, Oklahoma State, Illinois and SMU and he’s scheduled to visit Texas A&M next weekend.

Thomas is the No. 20 overall prospect in the 2015 class, according to Rivals, and here is a new mixtape of him from Courtside Films.

CBT’s Recruiting Roundup: Boston College, Illinois, LSU have big visitors

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Each Monday and Friday, College Basketball Talk’s Scott Phillips goes over some important news and notes in the world of college basketball recruiting. This week, Boston College looks to add big man as 2015 recruiting class centerpiece, LSU has a big in-state visitor and Illinois looks to bounce back from a disappointing start to September.

Boston College looks to finish recruiting momentum with a big visit

New Boston College head coach Jim Christian made a few people skeptical of his ability to recruit in the ACC when he took the job this spring.

With the previous Eagles staff owning a 2015 commitment from Jeremy Miller, Boston College already had someone in the fold who was at least interested enough in the program to offer up an early pledge.

But when Christian took over the job, he neglected to recruit Miller until after he decommitted from the program. It was a puzzling move for Christian to not even call a player previously committed to Boston College, considering the forward played for powerful local Nike EYBL program BABC and the 6-foot-9 Miller had some potential. Miller decommitted from Boston College and remains uncommitted in the recruiting process.

Soon though, Christian had Boston College fans believing in his recruiting ability as he’s landed three three-star guards in the last few weeks. Now, the Eagles will look to add the centerpiece of the class as four-star big man Josh Sharma officially visits this weekend.

Point guard Jerome Robinson and wing shooters Matt Milon and A.J. Turner are all nice additions, but Sharma is a 7-foot shot blocker with some upside to put around those perimeter threats.

If Boston College can land the No. 82 overall player in the 2015 class, it will be a really nice foundation for Christian to work with and a solid opening class, considering it was going to be an uphill battle with a new coach in a current ACC bottom feeder.

The Eagles need talent to compete in the ACC and Christian is putting together some pieces.

LSU needs to put talent around Ben Simmons in the 2015 class

Ben Simmons is the No. 1 player in the 2015 class and this week Simmons, once again, confirmed that he’s going to LSU despite persistent rumors of him playing professionally overseas after high school.

But even though the Australian is a likely one-and-done player, the Tigers still need to capitalize on having a player like Simmons already committed by putting talented players around him.

Not only does LSU need to use Simmons to help land future three- and four-year players but they need to take advantage of Simmons’ tremendous passing ability and put shooters and scorers around him that can make plays.

The Tigers are taking the first step in adding talent in 2015 this weekend as in-state shooting guard Brandon Sampson will take an official visit to Baton Rouge, according to Ben Love of Tiger Sports Digest.

At 6-foot-4, Sampson is talented with the ball in his hands and would be a great compliment to Simmons. LSU is recruiting four talented in-state prospects in 2015 between Sampson, Jacob Evans, Chad Lott and Melvin Frazier, but Sampson is the best long-term prospect of the quartet.

Sampson has claimed that he’s looking to make a spring decision, but it doesn’t hurt that local LSU is getting the first official visit among his final six schools. It’s unlikely the Tigers coerce Sampson into a pledge this weekend, but the official visit could make for a very positive first impression as LSU tries to stockpile talent around Simmons.

Illinois has two good visitors this weekend

It hasn’t been a great start to the month of September for Illinois but head coach John Groce and the coaching staff has done a nice job of getting elite talent still interested in Illinois.

Visiting Champaign this weekend on official visits includes five-star Texas 6-foot-9 center Elijah Thomas, the No. 20 player in the country and the No. 34 player on Saturday, four-star Indiana guard Jalen Coleman.

A source confirmed Thomas and Coleman’s visits and pairing them together is a sign that John Groce is committed to recruiting hard.

Losing the state’s top senior player in five-star guard Jalen Brunson to Villanova and later losing senior point guard Tracy Abrams for the season with a torn ACL was a tough start to the month but Illinois has bounced back with good talent still interested in the program.

Illinois also holds 2015 commitments to Simeon 2015 four-star wing D.J. Williams and Plainfield East 2015 four-star Shooting guard Aaron Jordan.

Five-star power forward Elijah Thomas sets five official visits


Elijah Thomas, a five-star power forward, set four of his five official visits on Friday evening.

The 6-foot-9 big man will visit LSU, Oklahoma State, Illinois and Texas A&M — in that order — this fall, according to Jeff Goodman of ESPN.

Thomas will start things off in Baton Rouge on Sept. 6. Johnny Jones already has a commitment from the class’s top player, Ben Simmons. Though that front court could use help, as rising sophomore forwards Jarell Martin and Jordan Mickey could both be early entries after this season.

Thomas will follow with a visit to OK State on Sept. 12. Travis Ford enters the 2014-2015 season with a thin frontline with the returning Michael Cobbins. The Cowboys’ Class of 2015 currently features Serge Ibaka’s younger brother, Igor, a junior college power forward. The following weekend, Sept. 19, Thomas will be at Illinois. John Groce’s Class of 2015 is off to a good start with a pair of four-star commits. Thomas will remain in-state for the last of his four scheduled visits, as he head to Texas A&M.

[UPDATE]: On Sunday, Thomas set his fifth official visit, telling Goodman he will be on the SMU campus on Oct. 3 before he heads to A&M. Last week, Thomas announced his six finalists. UNLV is the one finalist not to receive an official visit.

Thomas is rated as the No. 11 overall recruit in the Class of 2015, according to Rivals.