One on one with Elijah Thomas

Elijah Thomas

It's early, but there's most likely going to be a need for another big man in the class of 2015 for Duke. To that end, the Blue Devils have identified several players in the class including 6-foot-9, 235 pound Texas prospect, Elijah Thomas. The early four star center spoke with TDD recently to provide an update.

How has your high school season been going?

Elijah Thomas: It's started out pretty well. We are two and two right now, with one loss to a really good team. The other loss was bad. We were supposed to win, and were up by around 20 before they started playing really well and made a run. We couldn't match it and we lost. The other one, though, was against King McClure's team…he's a really good player and they are a great team.

What's it like matching up against McClure?

It's really tough, but he's a really good player who plays very hard, which means it's always a good game when we play each other.

Do you have a good relationship with the former AAU Texas players who are now in college?

I'm good friends with Jordan Williams, Jamal Branch, and I've met Phil Pressey. It's a lot I'll be honest and Tony Mitchell for sure.

Let's talk recruitment, who is making the extra effort school wise in your recruitment right now?

Right now, it's all equal, I don't have one that's coming the hardest. They all talk to me, but it's all even to me.

How much of an effort are you making in reaching out to schools on your own?

I always make an effort on my part to reach out and express interest to schools. I mean, I don't want them to think that I'm not interested in them. I always show them that I'm watching their games and know about their players. I always reach out.

Who are the schools that you are reaching out to on your own consistently?

Georgetown, Coach Capel at Duke, Illinois, UCLA, NC State, Kansas, California and LSU. That's all I can think of right now. I call all those guys a lot.

What kind of things do you discuss with Coach Capel?

We talk a lot about taking my game to the next level. He's always asking me what I'm working on, he's always giving me good pointers.

Pointers? Anything in particular?

Well, like this past weekend, I shot terrible from the free throw line, he was just telling me to keep my form right, and to take my time at the line and to get my craft right. He always knows that I like hearing from him that I need to keep getting better because lots of people just want to tell you how good you are. He'll tell me how important it is that I keep running the floor and keep playing my game. The main thing we talk about is playing like a winner.

How much does he talk about coaching Blake Griffin?

It's funny, because he actually doesn't talk about that a lot. The Texas A&M trainer, he coached Blake Griffin, when he was at Oklahoma, Coach Rich, he just talked about how he trained and worked with Blake Griffin. Coach Capel talks about Mason Plumlee mostly.

What does Coach Rich share about that experience?

He talks about how him and Blake are close and what kind of things he worked on with him when he was at Oklahoma, the kinds of stretches they did to help you more flexible and jump higher.

You mentioned Coach Capel talking about Mason Plumlee, what are some of the focuses there?

He pretty much tells me what he tells Mason every day. A lot of it has to do with having confidence in what you are doing, and don't think negative thoughts while you are out on the court. Also, to have good form when you shoot from the free throw line because if you have good form from the line, even if you shoot it hard, it has a chance to go in. He tells me the little stuff that I wouldn't be able to know if I wasn't able to see him every day and the stuff he says, it keeps me going during the day.

You mentioned earlier that you were watching as many games as possible…

I'm watching some. I'm watching a lot of the top teams right now, and the team I watched the most games of this year is Georgetown. I've seen a ton of their games. I like the way their game style is.

They are widely regarded for their history of big men, is that a major draw?

That is a school that, if you are a talented big man who is looking to go to the next level, you would look at them. Just like there are other schools that are good for that.

How big a deal is it for you to see bigs playing the featured role in a team offense?

It's a big deal, you don't want to go to a place where you won't be able to play an important role. Coach Capel talks with me about stuff that they do with their guys and I take that into practice and as soon as I get into the game. That stuff just gets easier for me. He talks about doing the smart things in a game that some guys may not do.

Who do you talk about the recruiting process with?

I've got a lot of good friends, like Isaiah Austin at Baylor, he really wants me to come play there and he's been recruited by a lot of the schools recruiting me, so he'll tell me about some of those schools and what he knows about them. I talk a good amount with Julius Randle, he's a really good friend and he helps me too. I talk with my cousin Jordan Mickey, he signed with LSU too.

What's the input you are hearing from them as far as this goes?

Well, half my family really wants me at LSU and the other half thinks Georgetown is a good fit right now. They know how I am about having favorites, they know I don't want to be pushed anywhere, so we don't talk much about it. They know it's still early, so I know they are talking to just be talking. Everyone knows that I'm just a sophomore.

Has Duke come up in the limited talks?

Yes. They just talk about how Duke is a five star program and it's great to be recruited by schools like that.

Being so early, do you have any visits lined up?

No, not for a while I don't think.

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