By Chris Williams, CycloneFanatic.com PublisherFollow Chris on Twitter @ChrisMWilliams
With plenty of scholarships wide-open to give, the Iowa State basketball program is still waiting on its first commitment for its class of 2013.
Will Onalaska, (Wisc.) shooting guard Matt Thomas be the first?
According to Thomas’ high school coach Craig Kowal, it’s still too early to tell.
“I can’t say definitively but I think there is a reasonable chance that he’ll make his decision sometime this summer," Kowal told CycloneFanatic.com on Tuesday afternoon.
Thomas claims offers from nearly a dozen schools but all indications lead to him choosing between Iowa State, Wisconsin and Virginia.
— Thomas led Onalaska to a state title last season, scoring 30 points in the championship game. Kowal told CycloneFanatic.com about the improvements Thomas made from his sophomore to junior seasons.
“Athletically he has gotten stronger and more athletic. Not that he’d be one of the most athletic players in the Big 12 but at the high school level he sure is. He’s got a complete game. I think he’s improved his defense and is a little bit underrated in that aspect just because of the style of defense that we play. He’s become a tremendous rebounder as well. He was the leading rebounder in the state tournament last year.”
“His mid-range game is really, really good and that’s obviously kind of a lost art. He’s really become a complete scorer.”
— Kowal on coaching Thomas this offseason…
“He’s very self-motivated. I think that he gets motivated by some of the kids that he plays against. As a coach, I just give him a little challenge here and there. When he scored his 1,000th point last year, I said ‘That’s good but I want you to get to 2,000 before your high school career is over.’ I just throw out little things like that that he really seems to thrive on. It’s a tremendous jump from high school to college and I really want to focus on continuing to get him stronger. Our goal is to have him physically ready to play as a freshman in college. We’re going to change his weight-training program here in the next week and hopefully keep building his body up so he is physically ready to go as a college freshman.”
— On Iowa State’s coaching staff…
“The thing that has impressed me is that they’ve shown that they care about him no doubt as a basketball player but as a person as well. To me, that’s been very evident by the fact that they’ve been to so many games and that kind of stuff. They’ve shown that in just two years, they have the program at that level and it shows what kind of coaches that they are. One of the things is when you watch the games, how good they were out of timeouts in dead ball situations. They seem to make the right adjustment and always score in those situations.”