While Mickey Mitchell gets the majority of the acclaim in the sophomore class for the state of Texas, there is a classmate over in South Dallas who is exploding on the national circuit. Playing for Rockwall HS for his first year and a half, Elijah Thomas was a player that many had heard about, but few had seen. Now playing for perhaps the most talented team in the land, the secret is out.
Running alongside Emmanuel Mudiay, Jordan Mickey, Karviar Shepherd, Terrance Ferguson, and Co. for Prime Prep, shots aren’t plentiful. Still, Thomas finds a way to always put up outstanding numbers in a remarkably efficient way. The burly post is downright unstoppable from 12 feet and in. His footwork, ability to finish with either hand, and utilization of his body allow him to convert against elite shot-blockers. Additionally, the 16-year old is an exceptional passer out of the post who constantly finds cutters and makes the right pass out of double teams. On the defensive end, Elijah battles for position on the blocks and rebounds his area incredibly well. His level of productivity per minute is off the charts, based on the fact that he is nearly averaging a double-double in the games we’ve seen despite playing 15 minutes or less each game.
The most glaring weakness that people are going to throw out about Thomas is his lack of elite vertical explosiveness. He’s not going to give you any crazy highlights, but in the same respect, he’s not going to get his shot blocked either. He’s never really had to step out and defend guys facing the basket, so that will be something that must be addressed in the future. That being said, his level of productivity, soft hands, and footwork draw favorable comparisons to Grizzlies star Zach Randolph at similar stages of their career.
You won’t find many players in the class of 2015 with more offers than Thomas. He told CLH “Arizona, UCONN, Louisville, Baylor, Houston, SMU, Oklahoma State, Illinois, North Texas, TCU, Cal, Oklahoma, Texas A&M, UMASS, and NC State have offered me scholarships”. When you take the way that he’s been playing on the national scene into consideration, expect that list to continue to grow substantially over the coming months.