Adonis Thomas Adds to Hometown Talent at Memphis

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Entering just his third season as the head coach of the Memphis Tigers, Josh Pastner has locked down recruiting in his backyard.  That continues next year when McDonald’s All-American Adonis Thomas will join an already young, but extremely talented Tiger team that returns all but one key contributor from a year ago.

(This is a Paul M. Banks/David Kay collaboration)

Pastner brought in one the top recruiting classes in the country this past season with three of the players calling Memphis home; Tarik Black, Joe Jackson, and Chris Crawford.  Thomas continues that pipeline of staying home to play for the Tigers.  His familiarity with the program and its’ players made his collegiate decision an easy one.  “Half those guys are from Memphis,” Thomas said at the MAA media day.  “I played AAU with those guys, so I knew the team chemistry was going to be great coming in.”

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Pastner should be able to use Thomas’ versatility to have him play several positions on the floor.  His natural fit is at small forward, but he could also play the two in a bigger line-up or even slide to the four when Pastner decides to take advantage of the Tigers’ athleticism and go with a quicker five.  “If they want to go small, I can play the four some, and being the team’s best defender, they want me to guard the opposing team’s best player.”

At 6-6, 210 pounds, Thomas already has a mature body that should help him transition to the college game.  His combination of athleticism and strength makes him a nightmare of a match-up for opposing teams as he can post up smaller defenders or use his quickness to take bigger opponents off the bounce.  It is adding consistency to his jumper that Thomas says he needs to work on before reaching his full potential at Memphis.

“I’ve been wanting to work on my outside shooting, my mid-range.  I’ve been focusing a lot on my jump shooting because its one thing I need to bring to my college game.”

The Tigers bring back everybody from last season’s Conference USA Tournament Championship team except for big man Will Coleman.  With Thomas and junior college transfer Stan Simpson joining the fray, Pastner will have a plethora of talent and athleticism and should be able to go 11 deep on his bench.  Because of that, Memphis is likely the C-USA favorite and a potential top-10 team in the 2011-2012 pre-season polls.

David Kay is a senior feature NBA Draft, NBA, and college basketball writer for the Sports Bank.  He also heads up the NBA and college basketball material at Walter Football.com and is a former contributor at The Washington Times Communities.

You can follow him on Twitter at DavidKay_TSB.

Paul M. Banks is CEO of The Sports Bank.net He’s also a regular contributor to Chicago Now, Walter Football.com, Yardbarker, and Fox Sports

He does a regular guest spot each week for Chicagoland Sports Radio.com You can follow him on Twitter @thesportsbank

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