By Jeff Borzello
INDIANAPOLIS -- It’s not often a five-star recruit is scared of going against someone -- and then admits it.
In Chris Thomas’ case, though, the big-time scorer from Colorado wanted no part of Kaleb Tarczewski and the rest of the New England Playaz big men.
“They were too big,” Thomas said. “I played against the big guy (Tarczewski) in Adidas Nations, and he had some mean blocks. Every time I went up, I thought I was going to get blocked or get hurt.”
Thomas, a 6-foot-5 shooting guard who will attend La Jolla Prep (Calif.) next year, is still one of the most unstoppable scorers in the country. He is long and athletic, and his first step and explosiveness are on another level. Thomas has deep range on his jumper and is a very good passer when he gets others involved.
At the Adidas Invitational, Thomas was fairly inconsistent, scoring 35 in one game and then disappearing for stretches.
“I’ve been off and on,” he said. “One game I play good, next one is bad.”
Thomas is not far along in the recruiting process, but he listed Kentucky, Memphis, Colorado, Arizona, Tennessee, Xavier and Texas.
Three schools are standing out for the No. 7 prospect in 2013: Kentucky, Arizona and Xavier.
“For Arizona, they have good people there, good coaches,” Thomas said. “Xavier, I like the talent they have. And Kentucky, I like [John] Calipari and their style of play.”
Thomas said he plans on making a decision at the end of his junior year in high school.
“I want to go to a place where I can have fun,” he said. “I want to get my degree and go to the NBA.”
Shabazz Muhammad, 2012, Dream Vision: Hate to keep bringing him up, but Muhammad lit up for the second day in a row. Going head-to-head against Andre Drummond, Muhammad easily won the battle, scoring 29 and getting the win.
Kaleb Tarczewski, 2012, New England Playaz: Tarczewski is a man among boys at times down low. He runs the floor well and catches everything thrown to him in transition. He finishes well around the basket.
Bronson Koenig, 2013, Wisconsin Playground Warriors: It didn’t take long for Koenig to make his presence known against the Las Vegas Prospects. He knocked down two long 3-pointers off the dribble and also found teammates for points.
Kasey Hill, 2013, Florida Rams Black: Hill is a big-time scoring point guard at this stage. He changes directions well and is very shifty with the ball. His crossover and ball-handling create separation and make his shots tough to guard.
Jarrell Martin, 2013, Brandon Bass Elite: Martin is well on his way to being a big-time forward in his class. He is very long and runs the floor well. He can score from the perimeter and attacks the offensive glass with aggressiveness.
Phil Nolan, 2012, Devin Harris Super Stars: Although he struggled during certain stretches, Nolan is a tough matchup. He can shoot consistently from the perimeter and runs the floor like a gazelle. He’s 6-foot-9, and his length makes him a solid defender and rebounder.
Other Notables: Even though Tarczewski got most of the pub, John Papale was outstanding for the New England Playaz. He is a knockdown outside shooter . . . Double Pump Elite has two tall point guards in Nigel Williams-Goss and Tyrone Wallace that can see over the defense and make plays . . . Ricardo Gathers was quiet at times, but when he decided to go down low and dominate, he was difficult to stop . . . A name to remember could be Landry Nnoko. He is long, strong and athletic, and is still getting accustomed to playing the game . . . Standing next to Andre Drummond might make it difficult to get noticed, but Sean Obi knows how to carve out space and make plays at the rim . . . Wannah Bail has great physical attributes; he just needs to refine his offensive game and he could be dominant . . . Team D-Rose could have a sleeper in Trevor Thompson, a 6-foot-10 big man who can score with his back to the basket.