UPDATED: Thomas commits to play for Hawai’i
The excitement for the upcoming 2012-13 season is still building for the Hawai’i basketball team, but it’s never too early to build for future years.
The Warriors received a commitment for the 2013-14 season today from California prep forward Michael Thomas.
“I would say I chose Hawai’i because of three things,” said Thomas, who is currently a senior at El Camino Real High School in Woodland Hills, Calif. “First is the intensity and seriousness of the basketball program. Second is church … I’m in the Church of Christ and I met with the campus leader on my recruiting trip and I think I can be part of that. And third is the academics – it’s amazing over there.”
Thomas is an athletic 6-foot-6 senior who will play multiple positions for El Camino Real this season. He averaged around 16 points and eight rebounds per game as a junior last season.
“He can play anywhere from 1 (point guard) to 4 (power forward), depending on what you need,” said El Camino Real coach David Rebibo. “He’s a match-up problem because he can do so many things. If you put a smaller guard on him, he’ll take it inside and post up. If you try to put a big on him, he’ll go right past him or shoot it from the outside.”
Thomas said he enjoys playing the all-around role, but if he had to pick a position for college it would probably be small forward.
“It makes me a better player to do different things,” he said. “I think I can bring intensity, energy and immediate impact if given the opportunity. I just have to work hard at it.”
Numerous programs recruited Thomas over the past year, including Arizona State, Oregon State, Boise State, Santa Clara and Utah State. He narrowed his choices to Hawai’i, Northern Arizona and UCSB. He picked the Warriors after making an official visit last weekend.
“He can shoot it from mid-range, he can shoot the 3, he can get to the rim and finish with both hands, and if he has an opportunity to dunk on you, he will,” Rebibo said. “I really think Hawai’i is getting a guy with a chance to be a pro someday.”
Thomas said his family is “excited” about his choice to play in Hawai’i, in part because they will still get to see him play several games per year.
“I’m going to be away from them but because we play in the Big West, they’ll get to see some of my games,” Thomas said. “It will be a good way for me to grow up.”
Thomas had a 3.8 grade point average last year while taking advanced placement classes, according to Rebibo.
Thomas said he enjoyed seeing the UH campus and Waikiki Beach during his recruiting visit, and he’s also looking forward to another local delight when he enrolls a year from now.
“Malasadas,” he said. “I never had those before, but it was good. Real good.”
Below is a highlight video for El Camino Real’s team last season. Thomas is featured from the 3:54 mark to around the 4:30 mark.