Arizona's 2014 class of prospects is absolutely loaded with top-rated talent at the top of the class, as many of the prospects among the class are receiving high-major division-I college recruitment. While many basketball enthusiasts in the state and across the country already know many of the top-rated prospects in the class, there are also many prospects in this class of players that have not received much attention, but are worthy of it.
One of these prospects is Desert Ridge High School's ultra-talented 6-foot-1 junior guard prospect Hunter Thomas. Hunter Thomas is a name many still have not heard as of yet in the state, but many are very quickly finding out that this young man is a blossoming young talent for the future.
Much of the reason that basketball enthusiasts around the state have not heard or maybe seen Thomas perform as of yet, is due simply to the realization that he played for a high school program that is not well known for producing top-rated basketball talent. In fact, this season the Jaguars finished with a dismal 9-16 overall record among the state's top Division-I Class of teams. They also finished with a 5-10 league record in Section II of the class.
Thomas though did his part in leading his team this season, but had very little help. Thomas pumped in career-highs in several statistical categories this season - averaging impressive individual numbers. Thomas poured in a team-high 18.7 points, 4.1 assists and 6.2 rebounds per/game during his junior season. Thomas came up big against stiff competition as well - scoring 35 points in a loss to Dobson HS, 39 points in a loss to Perry HS and 39 points in a loss to Brophy Prep.
For Thomas' exploits this past season, he was also selected to the All-Tournament Team in this year's McClintock Holiday Shootout.
As a result of Thomas' play this past season, he has began to generate some serious division-I interest for himself, as such programs as Idaho State, UC-Davis and Eastern Washington, with many more schools looking to get involved soon.
Thomas advised me that while he would like to play on the West Coast in college, he is wide open and will look for the best opportunity for himself for the future.
Thomas showcased his ability to play the game in last weekend's Southwest Showcase Main Event, where he helped lead his Passion For Ball-Magic club program, coached by former Arizona State player and former profressional player Justin Allen, to a very strong tournament finish. While Thomas' team would fall in the quarterfinals to a talented Team Power-Black team, Thomas would play exceptionally well in the loss and turn in one of the tournament's best dunks over a defender.
Thomas is a shifty point guard prospect with a very slick handle of the basketball and an ability to score the basketball at a high rate. A unique offensive talent with superb athleticism and quickness, Thomas is very difficult to defend, as a result of his ability to make plays off the dribble towards the basket and shoot the basketball from the perimeter with dribble moves to get by or around defenders. Thomas uses a variety of cross-over dribbles, hesitation dribbles, head fakes and jab steps to get his defenders off balance - making him a herky, jerky guard prospect that utilizes angles to make plays.
Thomas is also a very good passer of the basketball and has excellent court vision - making his teammates better on the floor, similar to that of Corona's star guard Casey Benson. He is also a good defender and has good overall lateral quickness and quick hands with good court anticipation to make steals on the floor.
Thomas will definitely be a point guard prospect at the next level, but his ability to score the basketball will also allow for him to play both guard positions at the next level - although it will have to be right college program for himself.
I will be keeping a close eye on Thomas this spring and summer to see just how he continues to perform against stronger out-of-state competition, but this young man has already proven that he is worthy of consideration among the state's best individual talents in an already loaded 2014 class.