When college coaches were finally able to get out and look at prospects last week after the recent dead period, there were 12 schools in the gym the very first day checking in on Thornwood's Donte Thomas.
With interest quickly picking up for the late-blooming Class of 2014 prospect, Bradley was able to secure a commitment from the 6-5 forward. Thomas, who was at Bradley on an official visit this past weekend, committed to coach Geno Ford and the Braves on Sunday morning.
For a late bloomer like Thomas who a year ago wasn't receiving any college interest, being the first on him and staying on him meant something to the senior.
"The first thing is they were the first ones on me," says Thomas of what stood out about Bradley. "They really made me a priority and really came at me. I appreciated and respected that. I believe this staff is going to look after me. My mom and I were impressed with the academics at Bradley, and I like how they have facilities dedicated to basketball only."
Thomas, currently ranked among the top 20 prospects in the Hoops Report's Class of 2014 player rankings, felt a connection with both Ford and assistant Ronald Coleman, who initiated contact with Thomas early on in the recruiting process.
After a solid junior year playing for coach Paul Slavich at Thornwood -- he averaged 15 points and 8 rebounds a game this past season -- Thomas put together a good spring and summer playing for Illinois Meanstreets on the AAU circuit. Showcasing his versatility as a combo forward, Thomas saw his stock rise throughout the summer months. The highly athletic Thomas finds different ways to impact games as he's capable of posting up on the block, rebound, block a shot and get to the rim in the open court.
"I still have a lot to prove, and I'm going to prove it during my senior year," says Thomas.
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