Adam Zagoria covers basketball at all levels. He is the author of two books and an award-winning journalist whose articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Sports Illustrated, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide.
Former Paterson Catholic standout Shaquille Thomas is in the process of transferring to Mountain State Academy in Beckley, W. Va.
In a story first broken by ZAGSBLOG in October, the 6-foot-5 Thomas first left Paterson Catholic for Montclair High School.
But the NJSIAA declined to give him a waiver that would have allowed him to play there this year.
Now the 6-foot-5 Thomas will likely suit up at Mountain State, which is ranked No. 42 by ESPN Rise and features two players committed to West Virginia and a third going to Nebraska.
“Everything is verbal right now,” said a source close to Thomas who asked not to be identified. “At least by the middle of next week, everything should be pretty sealed.
“We started out to go back here [Montclair] and see if we can get it [the NJSIAA ruling] turned over, but with the holiday it’s taking too long, so we just decided to do something different.”
Paul Ruddock, Thomas’ coach with the Metrohawks, said Thomas did not want to sit out his junior year after the state declined to let him play this year.
“Shaquille was probably one of the first kids to challenge that rule [that a transfer had to sit out one year] and they turned him down,” Ruddock said by phone. “He can appeal but I don’t think it’s in his best interest to sit out his junior year when he’s had such a good summer.
“From what I understand he’ll be there [at Mountain State] on Monday.”
Mountain State head coach Rob Fulford said he’s looking forward to having Thomas join the team.
“He’ll be the athletic wing that we’re missing,” Fulford said by phone. “He’s very long, athletic. The style that we play, he’ll fit right in immediately.”
Mountain State has two players headed to West Virginia
“We have a great point guard in Noah Cottrill and a four man in Deniz Kilicli,” Fulford said.
Mountain State will meet St. Benedict’s, No. 3 in the USA Today Super 25, on Feb. 14 in the Primetime Shootout at Sovereign Bank Arena in Trenton, N.J.
As far as college, Thomas wanted to verbal earlier this year to Syracuse, but his uncle, New York Knicks forward Tim Thomas, advised him to wait until next summer.
“He’ll wait until after the summer to decide on college,” Ruddock said. “The main thing is his school work and basketball.”
Adam Zagoria is a Basketball Insider who covers basketball at all levels. A contributor to The New York Times and SportsNet New York (SNY), he is also the author of two books and is an award-winning journalist and filmmaker. His articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide. He also won an Emmy award for his work on the SNY mini-documentary on Syracuse guard Tyus Battle.
A veteran Ultimate Frisbee player, he has competed in numerous National and World Championships and, perhaps more importantly, his teams won the Westchester Summer League (WSL) championships in 2011 and 2013.
He lives in Manhattan with his wife and children.