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Posted On: 08/20/18 1:33 PM
You may remember Khalid Thomas. The last time the versatile 6-foot-9, 210-pound small forward from West Linn played on Oregon soil he was lighting it up at the Northwest Shootout, but was still largely seen as a regional recruit. Now two years later, things have certainly changed. After putting together a spectacular freshman season at the College of Southern Idaho, Thomas has emerged as arguably the top junior college recruit in the country this summer and the four-year scholarship offers from big name schools all across the country have been piling up.
“It feels really good,” Thomas said. “I wasn’t really expecting this but I’m really happy it’s happening. I’ve been working hard on trying to be a better player and to be a more valuable player by being able to do a bunch of different things and being able to play in different positions. I’m still grinding and trying to get better.”
It literally has only taken a year for Thomas to get to this point. After finishing at West Linn, Thomas headed to CSI and immediately made an impact. He ranked second on the team in scoring (14.7 ppg) and rebounding (6.5 rpg), while shooting a robust 54.8 percent from the field and over 41 percent from three-point range. Thomas helped CSI reach the title game of the NJCAA Tournament, a narrow loss to South Plains where he chipped in 20 points and seven rebounds.
From there, Thomas attended a couple of JUCO showcase events this summer and his college recruitment has skyrocketed. At least one school from every major conference in Division I – the ACC, Big East, Big Ten, Big Twelve, and Pac-12 – has offered him a scholarship. Just some of the schools on his offer list that continues to grow seemingly daily include (in alphabetical order) Arizona, Baylor, Florida State, LSU, Missouri, Nebraska, Ole Miss, Oregon, Oklahoma, San Diego State, Texas Tech, and Virginia Tech.
“Most coaches are telling me that I can come in and impact the program right away,” Thomas said. “I’m keeping the schools even right now. I’m looking for a fast paced team and location will play a little bit (into the decision) but not too much.”
One of the key aspects of Thomas’ recruitment is he’s planning on taking his time with the decision making process. “I’m signing late so I’ll start the trimming a little later,” Thomas said. “I’m trying to build relationships and see whose story sticks the same.”
With that in mind, Thomas is focused on this upcoming season. Last year, he watched teammate and fellow Oregonian Charles Jones win NJCAA Player of the Year – and individually that’s a goal for Thomas as well. But in terms of the team, he’s hoping to do what his old teammate wasn’t able to accompish.
“I’m trying to win a national championship this year,” Thomas said. “(It’s going to take) hard work and effort.”