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.
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Elijah Thomas, Jawun Evans Cut Lists, Could Play Together
Team Texas Elite teammates Elijah Thomas andJawun Evans have both pared their college lists andcontinue to talk about potentially joining forces in college.
The 6-foot-9 Thomas cut his list to include SMU, Illinois, Texas A&M, LSU, UNLV and Oklahoma State, with official visits set to Oklahoma State Sept. 13 and Illinois Sept. 20.
Thomas told SNY.tv at the Reebok Classic Breakout last month that he plans to take all five visits “before I decide where I’m going, but I plan to sign in November.”
The 6-foot Evans, one of the top point guards in the Class of 2015, trimmed his list to four schools on Wednesday — Illinois, Oklahoma State, Texas and USC. He will reportedly visit USC Aug. 29 and Illinois Sept. 5.
Illinois coach John Groce and his staff and Oklahoma State coach Travis Ford and his staff were all over both Thomas and Evans in July at the Reebok Classic Breakout, when Evans told SNY.tv. a package was possible.
“It’s on our mind, that would be a good thing for us to be playing together since AAU started, so it would probably be a good thing,” Evans said last month.
Thomas also mentioned that they could team up in college with 6-3 Dallas (TX) James Madison shooting guard Admon Gilder, and SMU and Oklahoma State are among those in the mix for Gilder. Both Thomas and Gilder will play Monday in New York in the Reebok Classic X game.
SMU remains in strong position for Thomas because of its proximity to home.
“Nobody wants to see you leave out of the state or the city, so I guess I’d have to say SMU [is recruiting him the hardest],” he said in July.
The SMU campus is less than five minutes from Thomas’ home, but is not recruiting Evans.
“My whole family can come watch any game,” he said. “It’s not even five minutes away from the house, it’s right up the street.”
Thomas has a strong bond with SMU coach Larry Brown.
“He’s a really good coach just like the rest of them, he just happens to be a Hall of Famer, so that just separates him from a lot of coaches’ resumes,” Thomas said. “And he teaches really well.”
Illinois is recruiting both players hard.
“They’re in there really good,” Thomas said. “Their fans are outrageously supportive, so you like that a lot. It’s always good seeing fans talk to you and what not.”
He added: “Coach Groce and coach Jamall [Walker] are recruiting me pretty hard, me and Jawun.”
Said Evans: “Me and the coaches at Illinois have a great relationship. We talk almost every chance we can get about life and stuff that’s going on in the world.”
USC is another option for Evans.
Said Evans: “It’s a great school. The coaches are great, too. They have a young coaching staff.”
As for Oklahoma State, Thomas said he will take his first official visit there in September.
“Oklahoma State was the third school to offer me a scholarship,” he said. “I’ve been down there twice, I know a lot of the players. I’m familiar with both football and basketball. It’s a pretty beautiful city.”
Evans also likes Oklahoma State.
“They’re a point guard school,” he said. “They’re showing me what they know how to do with point guards.”
UNLV also remains an option for Thomas.
“I like their coaching staff,” Thomas said. “Las Vegas is awesome. They’re going to have a pretty good recruiting class in my grade.”
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.