By Chris Williams, CycloneFanatic.com Publisher
Earlier this week, Onalaska, (Wisc.) shooting guard Matt Thomas narrowed his list of colleges down to Iowa State and Virginia. Only a few days after doing so, Thomas was so confident that he wanted to become a Cyclone that on Thursday afternoon, he became the first known verbal commitment of Iowa State’s 2013 recruiting class.
“It was just kind of a gut feeling. It just kind of hit me,” Thomas told CycloneFanatic.com shortly after making his commitment. “I just knew that there was nothing that could change my mind. It’s just really nice to get it done now.”
Thomas, a 6-foot-3, 185-pound shooting guard chose Iowa State over offers from Virginia, Wisconsin, Marquette, Minnesota, Boston College, Nebraska Creighton and Northern Iowa. Iowa State was notably the first high-major program to offer Thomas a scholarship. Associate head coach T.J. Otzelberger headed up Iowa State’s recruitment of Thomas.
“Coach (Fred) Hoiberg and Coach Otzelberger really reached out,” said Thomas. “We went through this whole thing together. They’ve been recruiting me for probably a year and a half now. I have a great relationship with them and it makes me even more comfortable with the decision.”
As comfortable as Thomas was with Hoiberg and Otzelberger all along, an NCAA Tournament appearance in year two didn’t hurt Iowa State’s chances in this recruiting battle.
“Coach Hoiberg was in his second year and got his team into the NCAA Tournament. That’s pretty impressive right there to be able to do it that fast,” said Thomas. “That excites me even more. I want to know what he can do during my four years there and what is going to happen.”
Thomas averaged 21.3 points per game while leading Onalaska to a WIAA Division 2 state championship during his junior season.
“Iowa State is a great choice,” said Thomas. “I know that I’m going to love it there. This is definitely weight lifted off of my shoulders.”