Among the very best available prospects still on tap from Arizona's 2021 Class of prospects is Valley Vista High School's very gifted and promising 6-foot-6 unsigned senior wing Elijah Thomas. Thomas, like some other fellow 2021 prospects, is among the most under-recruited prospects in the state - regardless of class. Still with no Division-I offers to his credit, which is extremely hard to believe, Thomas has soared well below the recruiting radar throughout his high school career, but is one of the state's best overall individual talents. Possessing extreme upside for the future, and a very nice fundamentally sound skill level, this young man has a very bright future regardless, and will blossom over time.
I watched Thomas throughout his senior season of high school and also throughout the spring and summer, and have been extremely impressed with this young man's offensive skill-set, length of body and ability to play both ends of the floor. He has excellent athleticism and fluidity on the basketball court, and a nice overall ability to create and make plays for himself and others, combined with a pure jump-shot and mid-range game, which suggests that he will be a serious player and talent for the future.
I caught up with Thomas and his father recently in Las Vegas, after Thomas helped lead his Factory 17U program to a strong runner-up finish in the Las Vegas Summer Championships, falling to the Oregon Prospects in the tournament's Bracket B Championship game. Thomas played much of the summer with bruised ribs, but showed extreme toughness and still played through the injury. Thomas advised me that he is unsure why he has not received more recruitment, but that he is in no rush to make a college decision. Rather, he is focused on continuing to work hard to develop to improve and prepare for the future.
Thomas' father, Thomasina Thomas, is a strong father and role model for his children. He advised me that while the recruitment has not been what they wanted, they are in no rush. He stated that they will consider several options for his son's future, including post-grad, junior college, a red-shirt year or even sitting out a season and working out, before going to college. They are currently considering all options for Elijah, who was severely hurt by the COVID-pandemic as a senior. Thomas' high school program, Valley Vista, only played a total of (17) games last season - finishing with a 9-8 overall record on the season. Thomas was also not seen by Division-I college coaches until the summer, after most college programs had already given out all of their college scholarships, and were focusing on the 2022 and 2023 classes.
I have been very high on Thomas as a college prospect for some time. He was terrific in his performance in late 2020, during his senior season, in the Pangos Premier 80 event held at AZ Compass Prep. In the event, which was absolutely loaded with top prospects, Thomas was one of the elite overall performers, but no college coaches saw it in person, which is big for coaches to make an effective decision. While many college coaches watched it in BallerTV, it did not help Thomas at the level he needed it to. Thomas is among the very best available prospects from the 2021 Class still, alongside Eduprize guard Justus Jackson, who has also soared well below the recruiting radar.
Thomas has the body and skill-set that suggests that he will only continue to develop a great deal over time. Offensively, he is a difficult guard for opposing teams, as he has a very nice mid-range game (a lost art), able to make explosive moves off the dribble and pull up for a nice jumper over defenders, or able to get to the rim, where he is a serious dunker. He is also a strong shooter of the basketball with excellent range on his shot, and can shoot the basketball off the dribble or from the stand-still position on the floor. He is an active rebounder and a strong finisher around the basket. He is also a very good ball handler for his size and has excellent versatility as a player.
Last season, as a senior, Thomas averaged 15.6 points, 5.3 rebounds and 2 steals per/game.
Thomas is one of those prospects that will see his body and game transform over time, as he continues to mature physically and develop. Whichever college program ultimately lands this young man, whether now or next year, will love him and get an absolute steal, as what you will be getting will just be scratching the surface of what he will become. Thomas is also a fine young man with a nice personality and a nice demeanor. Sky it the limit with him, as he has excellent work ethic and love for the game.
Thomas is also the younger brother of rap star recording artist Ali Tomineek, who is also on the rise nationally in his career. Ali Tomineek was huge during the Phoenix Suns' playoff run in getting the crowd going at each Suns' home games. A great family that is on the rise.