There was little doubt about who was going to take home game MVP honors at the conclusion of the afternoons second game. Quintrell Thomas put together the most dominant performance of the afternoon, proving to be too physically overpowering for St. Raymonds frontcourt players.
The future Jayhawk big man asserted himself right away, scoring his teams first couple of baskets. It was clear that the first few trips down the floor that St. Pats was looking to get the ball inside to Thomas, not only because he is one of their primary offensive weapons, but because his play inside early on opened up the floor later for the plethora of guards the team trots out. It isnt hard to see why Kansas went out and signed Thomas to join their talent-rich frontcourt. The senior already boasts an impressive build, one that should make his transition to the Big 12 a smoother one. With 240 pounds packed onto his 68 frame, Thomas doesnt have trouble muscling his way through defenders at this level. If you also factor in an equally impressive wingspan, then it becomes clear why he is ranked as the #92 prospect in the country by Scout.com and #147 by Rivals.
For a player as powerful as Thomas is, he has a surprisingly refined post game. He showed off a very strong drop step, as well as a smooth baby hook. The most promising aspect of Thomass post game however was his ability to score while spinning in either direction, towards the paint or the baseline. He reminds somewhat of Tyler Hansbrough in his ability to take a lot of contact inside, but still put a soft touch on his shot, something that will certainly help him against bigger post players next season.
Thomas is a tremendously explosive player when he gets position inside. He does a great job of sealing defenders on the block and from this position is able to elevate over most players at the high school level. If he gets any kind of room around the basket it is a safe bet that he will send in a thunderous dunk, which he did several times on St. Raymond defenders.
At this level Thomas is almost exclusively a post player, only flashing to the perimeter on occasion to screen for a teammate or to help reverse the ball when in a half court set. While he didnt attempt any shots from outside the paint, Thomas showed very nice form and touch on his free throws, which leads us to believe that at the very least he could develop into a threat to knock down the occasional mid-range jumper in college. Thomas didnt handle the ball outside of the paint either, so it is hard to make any kind of judgment about his ability to attack the basket off the dribble at this point. He does run the floor fairly well for a big man, and he certainly shows the athleticism necessary to be a threat to drive, but again we dont know the extent of his ball handling skills.
Defensively, Thomas does exactly what you would expect a player of his caliber and build to do at this level: disrupt shots. He not only has great length and leaping ability, but shows a real knack for timing as well, something that allowed him to alter a tremendous number of shots not even in his area. A couple of times during the second half, Thomas actually went over the back of his own teammate to block shots as a help defender. This is the kind of aggressive play that coaches love to see from their interior defenders. These same physical qualities carry over to rebounding as well, where Thomas proved to be a force at both ends of the floor. He is an absolute handful to handle physically, and is capable of bringing down balls that arent in his area.
One cause for concern, though, was Thomass ability to defend the pick and roll. While we only saw him in that situation a couple of times, his lack of lateral quickness to defend this play was evident, and something he will need to improve on.
At this point it is way too early to start making any sort of predictions about Thomas from a future NBA standpoint. Certainly as a 68 post player the phrase tweener may come up if he doesnt start to move out on the perimeter a little during his college career. As for his upcoming years with Kansas, though, Thomas possesses the strength, athleticism, frame and soft touch that leads one to believe he will be an impact player for Bill Self. While he may be stuck behind some other elite post players initially, dont be shocked if Thomas is getting serious minutes from the get go either.