Posted On: 01/17/18 6:05 PM
Luke Thomas (2018) paced Fairland to a 79-point outing against St. Vincent-St. Mary by connecting on five 3-pointers. Although the Dragons lost, the 6’2” lefty’s 15 points and three assists at Flyin’ to the Hoop wasn’t lost on college coaches.
“There was like four or five coaches that came up and talked to me after my Sunday game,” Thomas said.
Most notably, Thomas turned that postgame conversation into an offer from Urbana on Tuesday. Thomas also rattled off Marshall, Marietta, Randolph-Macon, Emory & Henry, North Greenville and West Virginia Wesleyan as schools who have either shown interest or had him for a visit.
Fairland’s style of play — a fast-paced, motion offense reliant on cerebral players to score — suits Thomas and he hopes to find a college that plays in a familiar fashion.
Here’s how Thomas defined what a “fit” means to him, “Somebody that needs to space the floor and wants to get up and down, score a lot. Our team, we don’t really run a lot of sets. We just try to get down with fastbreaks. Try to get up shots. That’s kind of the pace I like to play at.”
It’s a shooter’s wonderland. Thomas can handle, pass, and shoot from anywhere on the court, so he’s equipped to thrive for these State Title contenders in Southeast Ohio. Looking ahead, he likes what he has seen from a few college programs.
“Marshall plays like that, really up and down,” Thomas said. “Some of the other D-IIs and D-IIIs, they really get up and down too. I know Marietta gets up and down. And Urbana, they said they’re trying to change the way they play because they got to fit the West Liberty style to play in that big-time conference.”
Thomas will do more homework before eventually making a decision though.
“I’m going to wait until after the season. I might go to a few [college] games here and there. That’s basically what coaches want me to do right now is come to a game and see the atmosphere,” he said.
The patient approach to his recruitment process also accounts for the fact that Fairland is preparing for a postseason run, one this group’s been waiting for since elementary school.
“We’ve been playing together for a long time. We’re just so close so everybody knows what everybody is going to do every time.” Thomas continued, “We’ve been together since we were eight years old, nine years old. Obviously Keedrick [Cunningham] moved in when he was a freshman and then Isaiah [Howell] moved in when he was seventh grade, but he used to play AAU with me.”
Fairland is 9-3 this season, losses coming against STVM, Cox Mill (NC), and Lanett (AL) at Flyin’ to the Hoop or the Beach Ball Classic in Myrtle Beach. They scheduled the national events after struggling with Villa Angela-St. Joseph’s athleticism in the State Tournament last season. It was a wakeup call.
“Going back to Final Four game last year, we realized we got to play more teams like Villa … We wanted to play St. Vincent-St. Mary, especially with them winning D-II last year. We really wanted to play them to see where we were at,” Thomas said.
Coming up just two points short against the Irish is a confidence boost.
“Going to the Beach Ball really helped us. From the first game, we played Cox Mill, we had like 19 turnovers. And then Sunday against St. V, we had like seven. You can see improvement as we get in these bigger games.”
Thomas is also a stud in the classroom, carrying a 4.8 GPA and 26 score on the ACT. The next opportunity for coaches to see him live is against Rock Hill at home Friday, weather permitting.