Monday, January 17, 2011

Small School Prospect Review- Lamonte Thomas

Standing at a long 6'2, this Johnson & Wales University junior is a professional prospect and currently Division 3's leading scorer. In this contest, Thomas was suffering from a stomach bug and was limited to 10 minutes in the first half. However, he came back with vengeance, leading his team to a 20+ point margin to close out a victory.

In the second half, Thomas demonstrated his uncanny ability to get to the basket. Lamonte Thomas's handle is fairly reliable, despite that fact that he is not particularly explosive off the dribble. To clarify, Thomas is fast enough with the ball in his hands. However, he has not mastered the change of pace dribble and tends to operate in a fairly predictable straight-line fashion. As such, it is clear that Thomas may have to refine this element of his game in order to play at the next level. Currently, he is unselfish enough with the ball, and does take pride in hitting his open teammates. He is able to do this because he constantly has the ball in his hands however- a luxury that will not be afforded to him at higher levels of basketball. Thomas is able to play within his offensive system as well- and consequently, is willing to work the ball around the perimeter. Despite his 27 point per game average, Thomas is unselfish with the ball in his hands and makes winning plays as a result. When he looks to score off the dribble, Lamonte Thomas has the athleticism necessary to get his shot off in the paint. With that said, Thomas predominantly drives right, and this tendency is also fairly predictable/scoutable.

Not only is Lamonte Thomas effective moving towards the basket, but the most impressive element of Thomas's game is his ability to stop on a dime and pull up for a balanced jump shot. In this contest, Lamonte Thomas was able to slash to the basket and rise for a midrange shot. He also showcased his ability to hit the floater in the lane, which is fairly advanced for anyone at the college level. Additionally, Thomas is able to hit shots from beyond the arc- both off the catch or off the dribble. Clearly, Lamonte Thomas is one of the more advanced offensive players at the college level.

On the defensive end, Thomas is fairly quick laterally and is thereby able to stay in front of his man. This will be challenged at the next level, where he will have to maintain a constant stance and work in a more team-oriented help system. Thomas spent most of his time on this end shadowing his offensive assignment- rarely assisting his teammates, except when the other team was in transition. Consequently, Thomas evinced a scrappy ability to collect rebounds on the defensive glass- and once he secured the loose ball, he always looked to push in transition. In this facet of the game, Thomas is fundamentally sound as well, always looking to seal or box out bigger players inside.

Overall, Lamonte Thomas is a revelation at the Division 3 level as a 6'2 scoring point guard. He should receive some looks from scouts over the next two seasons. In order to improve his career prospects, however, Thomas should consider applying for early entry in the draft so that he can further hone his game. He will have a difficult time advancing as a player against his current level of competition. Also, he may be able to secure a contract overseas if he is able to generate buzz in team workout settings.

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