Omar Thomas may not be the prettiest player to watch, but the 6-5, 190 pound small/combo forward from Panola J.C. in Carthage, Tex., has put up terrific numbers in two years at the East Texas junior college.
JUCO Junction recently caught up with Panola Head Coach Scott Monarch, who filled us in on the latest happenings with Thomas.
Monarch said that Thomas has been offered scholarships by Rhode Island, Texas El Paso and Old Dominion. Penn State is also actively involved and in the process of reviewing Thomas' transcripts, Monarch said.
Thomas, who hails from Philadelphia, Penn., averages 37.7 points and 17.9 rebounds per game for the Ponies.
As a freshman last year, he led the NJCAA in both scoring and rebounding, pumping in 34.7 points and grabbing 17.3 rebounds per tilt.
Panola plays very fast and loose, which is one reason why Thomas has been able to compile such gaudy numbers. His stats would suggest that he's a can't miss high major prospect, but he has some limitations to his game that will likely prevent him from being recruited at the elite Division I level.
"He has the best in between game of anyone in the country," Monarch said. "He's a tremendous offensive rebounder who just knows how to play."
"He needs to improve his three point shooting," Monarch continued. "And he could be a defensive liability."
As effective as he is from midrange and on the offensive glass, Thomas is only a slightly above average athlete. He's also a classic tweener in that he can swing between both forward positions on offense, but probably won't be able to guard out on the wing on the major college level.
Thomas is a bit of a throwback in that regard, using smarts and instincts to overcome any physical deficiencies in his game.
As of late last week, he was only 107 points away from amassing the highest two-year average in the history of junior college basketball. He was also just 53 points shy of the 2000 point barrier, which would enable him to join an elite club of 2000 point/1000 rebound career JUCO performers.
Thomas didn't take any official visits in the fall and isn't likely to do so until after the completion of Panola's season. The Ponies will compete in the Region 14 Tournament in Pasadena, Tex., from March 8-10. If they can win three games there, they're headed to the NJCAA Tournament in Hutchinson. Otherwise, their season could end that weekend.
JUCO Junction will be in Pasadena from the quarters, so you can expect us to provide you with a follow-up report on Thomas and the Panola squad at that time.